Dr. Peter Moloney

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Gaston Ramon

 Gaston Ramon, who became a close friend of Dr. Moloney, discovered the vaccine for diphtheria at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1922. An authoritative biography of Ramon follows, in french. Three letters appear first from Dr. Moloney to Ramon, which show the extent of their collaboration and friendship.

Dr. Moloney produced diphtheria toxoid, the very first production in the world, in Toronto at Connaught Laboratories. He also developed the Moloney test, similar to the Tuberculosis reaction test. Field tests in Canada from 1926 to 1931 showed the eradication of diphtheria. Ramon invited the Moloney family to dinner at his Villa near Paris in 1929, a property given to him by Empress Eugenie. Not far away was the home of Pasteur, and Ramon brought them to see Pasteur's laboratory and former home.

 

Letters from Dr. Moloney to Gaston Ramon:

Toronto April 8, 1928

My Dear Friend,

I am enclosing a short note with the letters of my family. Let me thank you and Madame Ramon for the beautiful books which my children have received (Les Chateaux de France).

Fraser will soon have the pleasure of seeing you in your laboratory. Before his departure we were busy with the papers for the Pasteur Annales. I appreciate very much this opportunity and I trust that some of these at least will be satisfactory.

I hope that you and your family are well. Give my regards to Madame Ramon.

Sincerely,

P. J. Moloney

 

March 22, 1932

My Dear Friend,

I regret that there has been some delay in sending you a report of the meeting of the American Public Health Assoc. held in Montreal last September. There are no published abstracts of the papers which were given. I am sending you under separate cover the Program and in addition a copy of the journal which contains papers on diphtheria. If there is any additional information which I could send to you do not hesitate to write.

Have you published anywhere a detailed account of the discovery of flocculation and anatoxine. I remember very well that you once gave me these details verbally-the setting up of mixtures of toxin and antitoxin for subcutaneous test on guinea pigs-the appearance of turbidity in certain of the mixtures-the thought that this might be infection-the resetting up of the test-the same phenomenon-the neutrality of the tube which first showed turbidity-later the addition of formalin as a convenient preservative-the discovery of its detoxifying action.

We would like very much here at the Connaught laboratiories if you could sometime publish these historical details of your discovery. They illustrate those words of Pasteur concerning the conditions required for a discovery, namely: "Chance in the prepared mind."

Thanks for the reprint which I received.

With kind regards,

Sincerely,

P. J. Moloney

 

March 23 1932

P. S.

I have just now received your letter in which you have referred to the matter of ear tags for guinea pigs and rabbits. Thank you very kindly for having ordered some for me. In a later letter I shall ask regarding the price of these.

Once again best wishes to you and to your family.

P. J. Moloney

 

April 9 1932

My Dear Friend,

Thanks very much for the ear tags and prices which have arrived. We have tried these out on guinea pigs and they are excellent. We have written to the company in Paris for a catalogue and prices in order to obtain a further supply. When these arrive Mr. Hutchison will write to you.

Once again let me thank you for your kindness. Best wishes to you and to your family.

Yours sincerely,

P. J. Moloney

Letters Courtesy of Institut Pasteur/Service des Archives

 

Imprimé avec le périodique Bulletin de L'Académie Nationale de Médicine, Paris.

Tome 147, no. 29 et 30, 1963, pp. 610-620

Gaston Ramon (1886-1963) par Ch. Gernez-Rieux

Dans la glorieuse lignée des Savants qui, depuis Pasteur, ont illustré la grande Maison qu'il a fondée, Gaston Ramon occupe l'une des toutes premières places.

Par ses travaux, il a enrichi le patrimoine scientifique de la France. Par ses découvertes, il a préservé des millions de vies humaines. Sa disparition n'endeuille pas seulement notre Pays. Elle est douloureusement ressentie aussi par l'Humanité tout entière, qui a perdu en lui un de ses plus grands bienfaiteurs.

Evoquer cette noble figure est un privilège: si cet honneur m'échoit, c'est que l'Académie a voulu se conformer à l'une des dernières volontés de Monsieur Ramon.

En mai dernier, en effet, à la suite d'une visite que je lui rendis dans cette petite chambre de la "maisonnette" de Garches qu'il n'avait pas quittée depuis plusieurs mois, sentant ses forces décliner il me fit part de son désir que ce soit moi qui rende, ici, à sa mémoire, un dernier hommage.

C'est pour accomplir ce pieux et émouvant devoir, que je prends la parole devant vous. Puissé-je mériter aujourd'hui la haute marque d'estime dont Monsieur Ramon m'a honoré!

Comme tant de pastoriens illustrés, il était issu d'une vieille famille terrienne. Il était né dans ce charmant petit village de Bellechaume, dans l'Yonne, à une trentaine de kilomètres de Sens, le 30 septembre 1886. Toute sa vie, il est demeuré très attaché au pays de ses ancêtres; il y revenait souvent; il à tenu a y trouver, près d'eux, son dernier repos. 

Photos:

 1. Ramon family

2. Moloney and Ramon family at Garches, near Versailles

3. Moloney and Ramon family

  

Copyright: Family Trust of Dr. Peter Moloney 2013. All rights reserved.

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