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National Intitutes of Health
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James Payton Leake Papers 1909-1980
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Biographical Note

James Payton Leake, Jr. was born in Sedalia, Missouri in 1881. He was educated at St. Louis' Smith Academy and obtained his medical training at the Harvard School of Medicine in 1907. Leake joined the U.S. Public Health Service in 1909. By the mid-1910s, after assignment to the Hygienic Laboratory, he began researching smallpox. His work as an epidemiologist with the PHS focused primarily on smallpox and poliomyelitis. Dr. Leake developed a method of vaccination for smallpox and his guide "Questions and answers on smallpox and vaccination," was one of the most reprinted and distributed of all PHS publications. He also studied the possible harmful effects of tetraethyl lead in gasoline. He was a founding member of the American Epidemiological Society in 1926. He retired as Medical Director of the Public Health Service in 1945. Dr. Leake died in February 1973.