Biography of Dr. Jacob C. Geiger
San Francisco, CA Biographies





JACOB C. GEIGER, M. D.
One may note from the subsequent paragraphs that the medical career of Dr. Jacob C. Geiger, who now holds the responsible position of city health officer of San Francisco, California, is one filled with notable achievements in public health service in this country and abroad, in the United States governmental service, in important civic and state assignments, and with the Universities of California and of Chicago. Dr. Geiger was born on his father's plantation, known as the "Bull Run" plantation, in the Rapides parish near Alexandria, Louisiana. He is a son of Jacob Valentine Geiger and Celine (Hernandez) Geiger, representatives of the most respected of southern German and Spanish families.

Dr. Geiger attended the grade and high schools in Alexandria, Louisiana, and preparatory school in New Orleans. He studied for a period at Soule College, then entered Tulane University in New Orleans, and from this notable southern institution received three degrees, his Bachelor of Arts in 1905, his Master of Arts in 1908, and his Doctor of Medicine in 1912. The, honorary degree of Doctor of Public Health was conferrd upon him in 1919.

After receiving his medical diploma, Dr. Geiger served his interneship in large hospitals. He received an appointment to Charing Cross, the London City Hospital, in England, but instead he accepted the offer to teach at the University of California. Here he was an instructor in the department of hygiene; was director of the bureau of laboratories of the state department of public health when it was merged with the bureau of communicable diseases; and became active director, then assistant professor, of the department of hygiene. Dr. Geiger performed distinctive service while associated with the university and the state at this time. During the interval from 1912 until 1915 he established the Pasteur Institute for treatment against rabies and administered the treatment in over eighteen hundred cases as a preventive of disease.

In the year 1915, Dr. Geiger became an officer in the United States public health service, and was assigned to duty on the Mexican border at the time of the threatened warfare there. In 1916, he was reassigned to the Marine Hospital in New Orleans, and was placed in charge of the experimental work for the control of mosquitoes in the rice fields of the world. Then came the United States' declaration of war against the German empire, and he was assigned to take charge of cantonment sanitation at Camp Pike, Little Rock, Arkansas, which duty was also extended to other cantonments in that state. His public health department service extended to the Eighty seventh and Eighty ninth Divisions. Dr. Geiger was commissioned a surgeon in the medical reserve corps in 1919, and this commission was renewed August 7, 1924, as senior surgeon, which corresponds to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. His active service throughout the war was on a commissioned status.

In 1919, Dr. Geiger was reassigned to the University of California, for the purpose of studying the conditions of the rice fields near Chico, California. The public health department sent him to Florida in 1919-20, but on account of the urgent request of Governor Hiram Johnson of California he was returned to this state to work with the botulism commission, of which he became a member. He assisted in solving all the canning difficulties in the state from this dreaded poison, and then was assigned to the University of Chicago, at the request of that institution, to take charge of the investigation of food poisoning. He was appointed an associate professor, then full professor, in bacteriology at this university, this period of service having extended from 1922 until 1927. While at this post, he also became assistant health commissioner of the city of Chicago by passing competitive civil service examinations. He held this position from 1924 until 1927. Having been granted a leave of absence by the Chicago department of public health, he returned to the University of California, where he became associate professor of the Hooper Foundation for medical research and of the university medical school. In 1930, his skill was recognized by promotion to a full professorship. Later he was commissioned by the United States government to investigate the ventilation of ships and to study diseases which might be brought in through the Pacific ports. In the conduct of these duties, he visited China, Korea, Japan and Siberia, and acquired much important information. He returned to the United States in September, 1931, and immediately thereafter was appointed city health officer of San Francisco by the board of health. This city post is most important, that of safeguarding the health of the residents, but the qualifications of Dr. Geiger, his experience and accomplishments in the past, indicate unmistakably his fitness for the work.

Dr. Geiger has done extensive research work in the study of rabies, and has written many articles on typhoid fever, botulism, malaria, poliomyelitis, food poisoning, and public health education. No avenue toward the betterment of public health has he left untraveled. He is a fellow in the American Medical Association; a member of the American Public Health Association; the Chicago Institute of Medicine; the California State Medical Society; and the San Francisco City and County Medical Society.

Dr. Geiger has been twice married, his first wife having been Florence Clay Gourrier, of Plaquemine, Louisiana, who passed away in the year 1916. By this union there were two children, namely: James, born in Oakland, who is now taking a medical course at the University of California; and John, born in Berkeley, who is a student at the Polytechnic high school of San Francisco. In 1923, Dr. Geiger was married secondly to Miss Anne Morse, a native of Bath, Maine. Their daughter, Anita, who was born in Chicago, is a West Portal grammar school pupil. The family residence is situated at 50 Ventura avenue in San Francisco.

The religious faith of Dr. Geiger is that of the Episcopal Church. He is a thirty second degree Mason, belonging to the Consistory and Mystic Shrine, and he is a member of the University Faculty Club. The Doctor has a number of diversions and hobbies. He finds his greatest pleasure in the companionship of his family and in the environment of his home. Golf, tennis and gardening are attractive to him, and when opportunity offers mountain climbing is a favorite recreation for him. He has climbed nearly all of the peaks in the American national parks, has covered nearly every range in California, in Alaska, and even the Jungfrau and Matterhorn in Switzerland. Dr. Geiger's popularity wherever he has made contact is indicative of his standing in San Francisco in the years to come, and his ability and experience have inspired the citizens with great confidence in his fitness for his present important position as city health officer.

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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