Sidney William Bohls, pathologist and public health researcher, was born on April 12, 1898, in Pflugerville, Texas, the son of Emil H. and Julia (Pfluger) Bohls. After serving in the United States Army during World War I, he entered the University of Texas in Austin; he graduated in 1921 and received an M.D. degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1926. Bohls completed an internship at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio and did postgraduate study at the Rockefeller Institute and Harvard Medical School.
When the Pasteur Institute, the Laboratory of the Pure Food Commission, and the Bacteriological Laboratory were consolidated in 1928, Bohls was appointed director of laboratories for the Texas Department of Health. Under his direction, the first production of typhoid vaccine and diphtheria toxoid was made available to Texans. His state laboratory was the fifth in the country to be licensed for the manufacture of biological products for use in immunization activities. Bohls was also a pioneer in research on relapsing fever, typhus, and smallpox vaccines. During World War II the services of the laboratory were extended to include the processing of blood plasma for civilian emergency use.
Bohls was a leader in rabies research and control. He published more than thirty scientific papers in state and national journals. Under his direction, the accredited schools of medical technology were organized at Brackenridge and Austin State hospitals. He entered private practice in clinical pathology in 1959 and was consulting pathologist for hospitals in Austin and throughout the state at the time of his death.
Bohls was a member of the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the Southern Medical Association, the Travis County Medical Society, and the American Public Health Association. He was a fellow of the College of American Pathologists, a diplomate of the American Board of Pathology, and president of the Texas Society of Pathologists and of the Texas Public Health Association. He was a founding member of the First English Lutheran Church in Austin. He was married to the former Claryce Manning Pitts. They had no children. Bohls died on June 24, 1969, in an Austin hospital.
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Austin American-Statesman, June 27, 1969. Howard E. Smith, History of Public Health in Texas (Austin: Texas State Department of Public Health, 1974). Texas Medicine, September 1969.
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Scientists and Researchers
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Patricia L. Jakobi,
“Bohls, Sidney William,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 17, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: