I recently started processing the Cecil Striker Archival Collection which began with some initial biographical research. In brief, Dr. Striker led the effort to understand and control diabetes. He was instrumental in the formation of the American Diabetes Association and served as its first president. Having a keen interest in medical history, he also helped found the Medical History Society of Cincinnati which is now known as the Cecil Striker Society.
With this basic background information, I began delving into the personal correspondence of Dr. Striker, and, while his professional career is fascinating to say the least, I’ll admit that I found in his personal correspondence just as interesting.
Whether it was through letters of complaint about his Schick razor, letters of accolades for his AMC Rambler, or personal letters of friendship, I began to see Dr. Striker as a man with the same trials and tribulations as the rest of us.
I felt his acute pain and sadness as he relayed the details of his wife’s death to some friends. I could relate to his total frustration at the Arrow Shirt Company when they discontinued his favorite shirts and were unable to reproduce them for him. I understood his disappointment when he received a work of art through the mail, only to have it arrive damaged. His letters reveal a sense of humor, true love for his wife, absolute pride in his sons, and complete intolerance for bad customer service.
While Dr. Striker will never be known for the shirts he wore, the razor he used, the cars he drove, or his unwavering insistence that the customer be treated with respect, it’s nice to get a look at the real man behind the archival collection.