Waldo Nelson

Waldo E. Nelson, MD
Born McClure, Ohio
Nationality American

Medical career

Profession Pediatrician
Institutions Temple University School of Medicine

Waldo E. (Bill) Nelson, MD (1898 – March 2, 1997) was an American pediatrician who was sometimes referred to as "the father of pediatrics".[1] Nelson authored one of the most prominent pediatric textbooks and was a longtime editor of The Journal of Pediatrics. He led the pediatrics department at Temple University School of Medicine.


Waldo Nelson was born in McClure, Ohio in 1898. His father was a pharmacist. He graduated from Wittenberg College. Though his original plan had been to attend business school, the death of Nelson's baby sister inspired him to enter medicine. After working at Willys-Overland, Nelson received assistance from an executive at the automobile company and was able to go to medical school.[2]

He graduated from University of Cincinnati Medical School in 1926. After completing an internship and residency in the same city, Nelson joined the staff of Cincinnati Children's Hospital in 1929. He left to work for the medical school at Temple in 1940, where he chaired the pediatrics department until 1964. He also spent time as medical director for St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia from 1947 to 1964.[3]

Nelson was well known for the textbook that he authored for half a century, the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.[1] Between 1959 and 1978, he also served as editor for The Journal of Pediatrics.[4] The journal's circulation tripled during his tenure.[5] Nelson practiced medicine into his eighties and continued to attend and speak at meetings in his nineties.[3] He died of a stroke on March 2, 1997.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 "Waldo Nelson, "Father of Pediatrics", Dead at 98". AAP News. April 1, 1997. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  2. Altman, Lawrence (March 9, 1997). "Waldo Nelson, 98, Author of Pediatric Text". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  3. 1 2 "Waldo E. Nelson, 98, Renowned Pediatrician". Philly.com. March 7, 1997. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  4. "The Legacy of Dr. Waldo Nelson". St. Christopher's Alumni Association E-Newsletter. 1. January 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  5. "Waldo Nelson, Editor, Textbook of Pediatrics". Bangor Daily News. March 5, 1997. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
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