Lives of the fellows

Frederick Fitzgerald Tisdall

b.3 November 1893 d.23 April 1949
OBE(1946) BM Toronto(1916) DM Toronto(1922) MRCS LRCP(1917) FRCP(C)1929) *FRCP(1948)

Frederick Tisdall was born in Clinton, Ontario, and studied medicine at the University of Toronto. From 1916 to 1919 he served as a captain in the Canadian Army Medical Corps, and on his discharge joined the distinguished group of paediatric investigators at the Harriet Lane Home of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, then under the direction of Dr Howland. The interest roused there in the techniques for the detection of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium in small amounts of blood laid the foundation of his research work at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, which was to produce valuable contributions to the knowledge of rickets, tetany, the nutrition of children and the dietary needs of pregnancy.

In World War II, as the group-captain consultant on nutrition to the Royal Canadian Air Force, his work led to the specialised supplementary rations in the food-parcels sent to prisoners of war by the International Red Cross Society. Later his devoted interest in the welfare, diet, housing and sanitation of Indians in Northern Manitoba, and of the families working under the Hudson Bay Company in Newfoundland, led to the betterment of health and the reduction of mortality, especially of children, in both communities.

Tisdall was a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm. He became associate professor of the paediatric department of Toronto University, associate physician and director of research laboratories at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Nutrition of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, of the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council, Washington, and of the Canadian Council of Nutrition.

He was also chairman of the committees on nutrition of the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Red Cross Society, and served on the editorial boards of numerous journals. Yet he found time to advise on the planning of the new Hospital for Sick Children, and raised a large sum of money towards its building. One day after the laying of its cornerstone he died suddenly at the early age of fifty-six; his memorial is the Tisdall Research Laboratories.

He was a loveable character and a delightful companion, generous of help to his juniors, and totally unaffected by fame in Canada and acclaim in Europe and the United States. He had little time for hobbies; his main one was his seventy acre farm at Thornhill in York County. He was married, first to Bessie Alberta Woodland, and then, in 1934, to Mary Ferguson McTaggart, and had four sons.

Richard R Trail

* He was elected under the special bye-law which provides for the election to the fellowship of "Persons holding a medical qualification, but not Members of the College, who have distinguished themselves in the practice of medicine, or in the pursuit of Medical or General Science or Literature..."

[Amer. J. Dis. Child., 1949, 78, 919-21; Canad. med. Ass. J., 1949, 60, 40; 1949, 61, 86, 195-6; J. Pediat., 1956, 48, 679-81; American Pediatric Society. Semi-centennial volume, 1888-1938. [Menasha, Wis., 1938], 254-5 (p).]

(Volume V, page 416)

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