Benjamin Sacks (1896 – 1971) was an American physician, specialising in cardiac pathology. He later also worked in the film industry and as a historian.
In the 1950s, Dr Sacks stopped practicing medicine due to deteriorating health, and moved to serve as a technical advisor in the film industry, working with actors such as Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, and Barry Fitzgerald.
He later pursued historical research, particularly the history of the Southwest (USA), as Arizona became a Territory following the Mexican-American War (1850-1875). His extensive research ‘The Sacks Collection of the American West’ is stored at the Arizona Historical Foundation in the Hayden Library on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University.
- Born August 14th, 1896
- 1922 – M.D., Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Maryland
- Commenced medical career at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
- 1923 – Defined Libman–Sacks endocarditis with his mentor Emanuel Libman
- 1950s – Medical advisor in the film and television industry. Worked with actors including Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, and Barry Fitzgerald. Known for his attention to detail, creating sets that were identical to a real hospital or doctor’s office.
- 1959 – Appointment as the inaugural historical consultant to the American Historical Foundation
- 1964 – Published his first book: “Be It Enacted: the Creation of the Territory of Arizona”, which received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History
- 1970 – Published his second book “Arizona’s Angry Man: United States Marshal Milton B. Duffield”
- Died May 2, 1971
- Libman-Sacks endocarditis (1924)
- Libman-Sacks vegetations
In a letter of recommendation to the United States Surgeon General Hugh S. Cumming, Louis Gross (Director of Laboratories, Mount Sinai Hospital) wrote about Benjamin Sacks:
“Dr. Sacks is a man of striking personality. He is what is called a ‘natural born leader of men.’ He is an extraordinarily able teacher and is a constant stimulus to those about him. He is exceptionally well trained for investigative work”
When his medical career was cut short by ill health, Dr. Sacks turned his research talents and intellectual rigor to the history of the American West. In 1964, Sacks published Be It Enacted: the Creation of the Territory of Arizona. Described as a masterpiece of historical investigation and exposition for which he received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.
- Libman E, Sacks B. A hitherto undescribed form of valvular and mural endocarditis. Arch Intern Med. 1924;33(6): 701–737
- Sacks B. The Pathology of Rheumatic Fever: A Critical Review. Amer. Heart Jour. 1926;1:750.
- Sacks B. Be it enacted: The creation of the Territory of Arizona. Arizona Historical Foundation. 1964
- Sacks B. Arizona’s Angry Man, United States Marshal Milton B. Duffield. Arizona Historical Foundation. 1970
- Williams C. The Sherlock Holmes of Research – A biography of Dr. Benjamin Sacks, M.D. 2008
- Benjamin Sacks Manuscript Collection: 1921-1971. FM MSS #110. Arizona Historical Foundation
- People Will Talk starring Cary Grant. 1951 [Technical advisor Benjamin Sacks]
- Gross, Louis, and Hugh S. Cumming. Letter. Sacks Manuscript Collection, Arizona Historical Foundation, Tempe.
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