National Geographic : 1971 May
In 1923, diphtheriachoked the life out of thousands of children.They could have been saved. Fifty years ago, many mothers were as frightened by the injection to prevent diphthe ria, as the disease itself. They weren't sure what the inoculation would do, except hurt. To many of them, tying a bag of garlic around a child's neck made more sense. So they would not have their children immunized. And children continued to die. When they could have been saved. Then in 1923, Metropoli- tan Life gave its agents a special assignment. To persuade mothers to get their children immunized. Whether their family was insured by Metropolitan Life or not. So agents spoke to mothers in home after home. And when words didn't work, a picture did. Agents carried with them snapshots of their own children being inocu lated by a doctor. In time, a diphtheria in jection became as accepted as a routine X-ray. Since then, we've spread the word about vaccinations against smallpox, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles and now rubella. So that today, mothers just read about diseases like diph theria and smallpox, instead of watching their children die from them. 4 Metropolitan Life We sell life insurance. But our business is life.