The Rockefeller Archive Center
“If we assist the highest forms of education – in whatever field – we secure the widest influence in enlarging the boundaries of human knowledge.”
—John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
"Unhooking the Hookworm"
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1920, 10 minutes, silent, black & white

This educational drama was created by the International Health Board (later the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation) in order to teach Southern rural communities in the United States about hookworm. Shown at fairs and other public events, "Unhooking the Hookworm" provides an early example of the innovative use of film to educate communities about public health issues.

Planning for the film started in 1917. Specific concerns were the cost ($3 per foot) for the microscopic camera work which involved "special equipment." Coronet FilmCorp - a subsidiary of Educational Films Corp - was selected as producer.

The script and the film were subject to review and critique by educators, scientists, and health officials. Many reviewers felt that the film should focus on workers and the loss of manpower due to hookworm disease. Still, one reviewer wrote "it is the best and only film of its kind on hookworm disease."

Because of the film's success, it was translated into Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Copies were distributed to Australia, Borneo, China, Colombia, Dutch Guiana, Egypt, India, Jamaica, Java, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Siam, Switzerland, and Western Samoa.

* This digital presentation of "Unhooking the Hookworm" may not be copied or transferred into any other media without the permission of the Rockefeller Archive Center, 15 Dayton Avenue, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

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