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Justine Johnstone

Justine Johnstone (January 31, 1895 – September 4, 1982) was an American stage and silent screen actress, pathologist and expert on syphilis. Working under her married name Justine Wanger, she was part of the team that developed the modern intravenous drip technique.[1]

Justine Johnstone
Justinejohnstone 2b.jpg
Born(1895-01-31)January 31, 1895
DiedSeptember 3, 1982(1982-09-03) (aged 87)
OccupationActress, pathologist, scientist
Walter Wanger
(m. 1919; div. 1938)

Personal lifeEdit

Johnstone married producer Walter Wanger on September 13, 1919. They divorced in 1938[2] and she retained her married name. After her divorce, she adopted two sons.

Early EducationEdit

Johnstone attended Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. An account from a classmate's journal (Priscilla Chahoon, Class of 1918) describes her classmates being awed by Johnstone and her acting career. This admiration led to her classmates nicknaming her Ju-jo. She was active in her school years as she was in the drama club and acted in the senior play; was an active editor of Gargoyle; and a member of the basketball team, glee club, operetta, and the choir. She briefly was a model during her time at Emma Willard as well.[3]

Acting careerEdit

Johnstone appeared in three Broadway shows between 1911 and 1914, and then quit the business to finish high school at the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York. Upon her return to Broadway, she became a favorite performer for producers Charles Dillingham and Florenz Ziegfeld, who featured her in the 1915 and 1916 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies. Lee Shubert created the 1917 Broadway musical revue Over the Top for her, which featured Fred Astaire and his sister Adele Astaire in their Broadway debuts.[1][4] In 1926, she retired from performing for private life.[3]

Medical careerEdit

When Johnstone's husband fell ill in 1927, Johnstone became acquainted with his doctor, Samuel Hirschfeld. He convinced her to enroll in some science courses at Columbia University, where she studied plant research. Her work so impressed Harold T. Hyman, head of the science department of Columbia, that he and Hirschfeld hired her to work with them in their research. She joined the staff of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1929 as a research assistant in the pharmacology department.[3]

She co-authored a paper with them concerning the development of the modern I.V. unit. Their key breakthrough was to slow down the rate of delivery and avoid what was then known as "speed shock" by introducing the now-ubiquitous drip technique.[1][5] The three also conducted numerous experiments that led to the cure for syphilis.[3]

During her time at Columbia, Johnstone co-authored (with a Dr. Blackberg) two other published papers. One dealt with the organization of resuscitation measures; the other with melnauria.[6]

Later, Johnstone and her husband moved to Los Angeles, where as a research assistant to physicians she studied cancer and helped develop the discipline of endocrinology. To aid this research, she installed a laboratory in her house in Hollywood.[1][6]


Justine Wanger died in Santa Monica, California from congestive heart failure, aged 87. Her remains are at Chapel of the Pines Crematory.

Theatrical ProductionsEdit


Published WorksEdit

  • Hirschfeld, Samuel; Hyman, Harold Thomas; and Wanger, Justine J. “Influence of velocity on the response to intravenous injections.” Archives of Internal Medicine, February 1931, 47:2, 259–287.[6][7]
  • Blackberg, S.N. and Wanger, J.O. “Studies in Revivification – Organization of Resuscitation Measures.” The American Journal of Medical Sciences. 1932, 183:2, 241.[6]
  • Blackberg, S.N. and Wanger, J.O. “Melnauria.” Journal of the American Medical Association, February 4, 1933, 100:5, 334-336.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Autumn Stanley, Mothers and Daughters of Invention; Note for a Revised History of Technology, Rutgers University Press, 1995
  2. ^ "Milestones, Apr. 25, 1938". Time Magazine. April 25, 1938.
  3. ^ a b c d Iannucci, Nancy (Winter 2007). "Entertainer to Innovator". Emma, the Bulletin of the Emma Willard School. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  4. ^ League, The Broadway. "Justine Johnstone – Broadway Cast & Staff | IBDB". Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  5. ^ Hirshfeld, Samuel, M.D.; Hyman, Harold T., M.D.; Wanger, Justine (1931). "Influence of Velocity on the Response to Intravenous Injections". Archives of Internal Medicine. 47 (2): 218–228. doi:10.1001/archinte.1931.00140200095007.
  6. ^ a b c d e Vestuto, Kathleen (May 2018). The Two Lives of Justine Johnstone. Soon to be published in 2018. ISBN 978-1476672762.
  7. ^ Hirshfeld, Samuel; Hyman, Harold Thomas; Wanger, Justine J. (1931-02-01). "INFLUENCE OF VELOCITY ON THE RESPONSE TO INTRAVENOUS INJECTIONS". Archives of Internal Medicine. 47 (2): 259–287. doi:10.1001/archinte.1931.00140200095007. ISSN 0730-188X.

External linksEdit