Cavalcade of America - Science and Medicine, vol. 1


These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations.


Compass Classroom is delighted to present Science & Medicine, vol. 1 as part of The Cavalcade of America series for use with Dave Raymond’s American History course or as a standalone resource for your homeschool.

These historical dramatizations of humanitarian progress are true American hero tales featuring vintage music, intriguing interviews, and even Broadway & Hollywood adaptations. Be sure to check out Science & Medicine, vol. 2 for even more exciting historical re-imaginings!

The Cavalcade of America was produced by the DuPont Company to burnish its motto of “Maker of better things for better living through chemistry.” The programs originally aired on CBS radio from 1935-1953, and on television from 1952-1957.

Included in this download:

  • 49 30-min MP3 files tagged for use in iTunes or similar music database

Additional information


53 Dramatizations



Access the materials at “Downloadable Products” in your Compass Classroom store account, and unzip the file to a location on your hard drive.

Once the files are unzipped, you can play the files directly on your computer. Alternatively, you can upload the files to any device which will play .mp3s. If you use iTunes or a similar music database program, you can drag the unzipped folders to the program icon and they will organize automatically by disc, which corresponds to lesson in the curriculum.

These audio files were obtained in the public domain and are provided as-is. If you have questions, get help at

Episode List

  1. Steamboat Builders, Originally broadcast 06/24/1936. “John Fitch Invents The Steamboat.” “Robert Fulton Makes It Practical.” “Eliphalet Nott and The Anthracite Engine.” In the onward march of the Cavalcade of America are the inventive pioneers who looked in to the future and began the vision that men could go down to the sea in steamships. It began on the Quaker farm of Joseph Longstruth in Bucks County Pennsylvania. There in the spring of 1785 Joseph’s son Joshua finds a neighbor named John Fitch busy on the banks of a stream…
  2. A Helping Hand, Originally broadcast 10/07/1936. Two vivid stories showing that willingness to help others is an outstanding trait among Americans. One of these stories tells about America’s first trained nurses and the other is an interesting tale of the work done by the Travellers aid Society.
  3. John Winthrop Pioneer Of Chemical Science, Originally broadcast 10/21/1936. The Cavalcade of America sponsored by Dupont relates the story of the country’s first chemist the New England gentleman John Winthrop. As his experiences are unfolded you will gain a new understanding of tremendous handicaps under which the pioneer chemist worked over three hundred years ago.
  4. The Story Of Christmas Seals, Originally broadcast 12/09/1936. This is the story of a devoted Red Cross worker Miss Emily Bissell and her idea for Christmas seals (stamps) and the growth of a magnificent campaign for the better health of America. We take you back to the winter of 1907 in the city of Wilmington, Delaware. Miss Emily Bissell secretary of the local Red Cross calls on a young widow whose child is suffering from TB… You will also hear Miss Bissell speak personally of the events that happened in 1907 at the end of the episode.
  5. Pioneer Woman Physician, Originally broadcast 01/27/1937. This is the story of Elizabeth Blackwell who became the pioneer woman physician of her time and whose ideas influenced England and France nearly as much as they did America. She received the first medical degree granted to a woman in the United States from Geneva College in NY in 1849.
  6. The Ounce Of Prevention, Originally broadcast 02/17/1937. Cavalcade of America presented by Dupont brings you a story telling how a courageous clergyman Cotton Mather and a physician Dr Boylston fought and won a battle that has meant much to the health and happiness of our country. Theirs was a great cause and a great victory accomplished without thought of personal glory and with noble unselfishness.
  7. George Washington Scientific Farmer, Originally broadcast 04/28/1937. On the 30th April 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States. Every schoolboy knows his record as patriot, soldier and statesman. It is not perhaps so generally known that his greatest pride was to have been named also America’s first scientific farmer. If George Washington was distinguished for nothing else he would still merit a place of honor in American history for his far sighted efforts to conserve the soil and forests for future generations and for establishing the occupation of farming in the front ranks of honorable profession.
  8. The Story Of Dynamite, Originally broadcast 05/12/1937. This is the story of a genius who was shunted aside by Europe until America eventually recognized his work. Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born on Oct. 21, 1833, in Stockholm, Sweden and became the inventor of dynamite. His belief in his own invention and his unswerving faith in the potential greatness in this country of ours were typically American.
  9. Thomas A. Edison The Man, Originally broadcast 05/19/1937. Every American knows something of the life and work of Thomas Alva Edison he is properly called the complete genius. Before the dawn of the twentieth century he had established himself as an outstanding inventor of all time. To Mr Edison one invention was a challenge, which lead to others. As an example take the incandescent lamp or the electric bulb, after he had developed it he went ahead with other developments, the dynamo, the method of wiring, the electric meter and the junction box that made the whole thing function as a commercial actuality. He invented the stock exchange ticker then he perfected a telegraph relay that would accept 3000 words per minute a speed so fast that he had to develop both a paper and ink that would operate at that rate. He was constantly at work seeking to develop new ideas and improve upon old ones.
  10. The Story Of American Dyes, Originally broadcast 06/02/1937. Cavalcade of America sponsored by Dupont traces the progress of one branch of chemistry, the story of American dye, not by facts and figures but through the influence the dye industry had on a typical American family.
  11. Stars Of Destiny, Originally broadcast 06/16/1937. Among the practical men of vision in our country’s history is one who left a career of science for his duty to his country and became great in both. This man was David Rittenhouse, astronomer, mathematician and patriot and now Dupont Cavalcade presents some highlights in his colorful life.
  12. Luther Burbank, Originally broadcast 06/30/1937. Luther Burbank is known as the Plant Wizard although he himself never liked the phrase. Still it gives us an idea of the miracles he accomplished with flowers, fruits and vegetables. Through selective culture, crossing and grafting of various stock Burbank produced many new and useful plants and improved many others.
  13. John Bartram’s Garden, Originally broadcast 11/10/1937. Cavalcade of America tells the tale of one of the greatest natural botanists that ever lived, John Bartram who was born in 1699. Bartram collected, cultivated and crossbred plants and flowers not merely for ornamental purposes but to increase their usefulness to mankind. In his garden were many plants used for medicine and chemical purposes.
  14. The Story Of John Fitch, Originally broadcast 03/26/1940. The story of the real inventor of the steamboat, his frustrations and his failures.
  15. Walter Reed, Originally broadcast 06/25/1940. This is the story of Walter Reed and the fight against yellow fever. It is 1900 and in Havana a scourge has spread westwards to New Orleans, Northwards from Florida to Chesapeake and south and east as far as a gull could fly. All over its deadly pace was the same and it struck were it would, the elderly and the young, the healthy and the infirm and men and women crouched like bundles of rags in corners of a great city in bundles of fear of illness awaiting in certain and hideous death that stalked in the night without reason or pity yellow fever…
  16. The Red Death, Originally broadcast 10/30/1940. The Red Death is the story of Dr Joseph Goldberger (July 16, 1874–January 17, 1929) and his fight against pellagra.
  17. Dr. Franklin Takes It Easy, Originally broadcast 01/29/1941. How the “lazy” Ben Franklin was motivated to Today’s Cavalcade is dedicated to those men and women of science and industry who have created a civilization enriched with a thousand and one comforts of daily living, and their spirit which pushed America to the forefront in the march of human progress. A story of some of the amazing inventions of America’s genial philosopher and beloved patriot, Benjamin Franklin.
  18. Black Rust, Originally broadcast 03/12/1941. The story of Mark Carleton’s around the world search for a variety of wheat able to resist the “Black Rust” that was ruining America’s wheat crop during the last century. There once lived an American whose name is little known but it should be as familiar to us as the bread we eat for he preserved the fertility of our vast American wheatlands. He was Mark Carlton and Cavalcade Theater bring you his story in an original radio drama Black Rust, written by Robert Tallman.
  19. Jean Pierre Blanchard, Originally broadcast 06/30/1941. The story of the ebullient Frenchman who ascended in a balloon for the first time, in front of General George Washington! + This is the wonderfully exciting story of Jean Pierre Blancard. Some years ago, Cavalcade’s historian, Dr Frank Monaghan of Yale University discovered a little known story of amazing significance in the development of civilisation, and of particular interest to Americans. It is an example of this nation’s pioneering spirit in the achievements of aviation, and is about the first successful aerial flight in America.
  20. The Mystery Of The Spotted Death, Originally broadcast 07/07/1941. For years and years, a plague called Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever had ravaged the people living in the bitter root valley of America’s great mountain range, the Rockies. To destroy it, a group of American scientists devoted the labour of their lives. The story begins in Montana over a century ago, where a group of pioneers are searching for a homestead to settle. Ahead of them rides an Indian, who guides them. As they enter a beautiful valley, the Indian suddenly stops and refuses to travel any further…
  21. Josephine Baker, Originally broadcast 08/04/1941. The most miraculous sound in the world, is the cry of a newborn child.It’s a lusty cry signifying health. For babies born this year of 1941, they will live fourteen years longer than those born twenty five years ago. For this triumph over disease and death, one American woman is chiefly responsible. She is Dr S Josephine Baker, a great physician, a great humanitarian and a great citizen.
  22. Men In White, Originally broadcast 12/08/1941. A dedicated surgeon loses the love of his fiancee because of his devotion to medicine. Dr George Ferguson played by Spencer Tracy is a dedicated young doctor who is in love and engaged to socialite Laura Hudson. Laura realizes that if she marries George she will always be second place to his vocation in life as a Doctor and to work with the great Dr Hochberg. After a rotten day at the hospital followed by a quarrel with Laura George goes out with Barbara a nurse at the hospital who shares his compassion for the patients and feels the same sense of helplessness and loneliness. However they have an accident and Barbara is rendered blind. George feels a great sense of guilt and decides he is going to marry Barbara and look after her.
  23. Arrowsmith, Originally broadcast 02/23/1942. A dramatization from the famous novel, about a doctor’s devotion to science and healing.
  24. Angels On Horseback, Originally broadcast 03/23/1942. The story of Dr. Mary Breckenridge and her creation of the “Frontier Nursing Service.”
  25. Yellow Jack, Originally broadcast 04/06/1942. The story of how Walter Reed found the cure for Yellow Fever in Cuba.
  26. Man Of Design, Originally broadcast 07/27/1942. The story of how Eli Whitney invented the assembly line to mass produce muskets…each with interchangeable parts.
  27. The Giant In The Meadow, Originally broadcast 08/24/1942. The Giant In The Meadow tells the story of the first of all micro hunters. Like many pioneers Theobold Smith is not so well remembered as the later titans whose work he made possible. But men of science the world over so homage to his name for he carried the rigid discipline of laboratory work out of doors and trapped his adversary in its breeding place, the fertile meadows of America. And there established the great new medical principle, a principle that was to make possible the eventual wiping out of yellow fever, malaria and a score more of mankind’s most ancient and mysterious enemies.
  28. That They Might Live, Originally broadcast 10/12/1942. The story of Marie Zakshefska, a pioneering woman doctor. It is widely believed that Columbus discovered America on October 12th 1942 but evidence shows that many men discovered America probably some before him and many after him. But this is the point about them the great and the anonymous, the conquistadors, priests, the prospectors – every man of them who moved forward valiantly in to the uncharted part of our new world is a discoverer of America, every man of these is Columbus and Columbus is all of them.
  29. Sister Kenny, Originally broadcast 11/30/1942. The story of the Australian nurse who developed a method of treating Polio. After the drama, Sister Elizabeth Kenny appears on the program, speaking from Minneapolis.
  30. Lifetide, Originally broadcast 03/22/1943. The story of Dr. Norman Bethune, who invented the mobile blood bank and worked on the battlefields of Spain and China. The Surgeon General of the Army speaks (from Washington, D. C.) on behalf of blood contributions to the Red Cross. The story of a Canadian Doctor who was a scientist as well as a doctor and who originated the idea of the mobile blood bank an idea, which has been developed and is widely used so that it is now making precious plasma available to those wounded on every front.
  31. Nurses Under Sealed Orders, Originally broadcast 05/17/1943. It is a story about a girl from Boston named Ann Matcheck. Ann didn’t look much different from the other three girls who shared a hut with her there on Batan with their hastily combed hair and ill-fitting men’s GI shirts and trousers. Nobody would have singled her out from the others, nobody except perhaps for one person. The first time she saw him he was sitting under a tree outside the hospital holding his stomach…
  32. Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, Originally broadcast 05/24/1943. A dramatization of a true story about a pharmacist’s mate who performed emergency surgery aboard a submarine. The pharmacist’s mate who actually did the operation is interviewed after the story.
  33. Make Way For The Lady, Originally broadcast 06/14/1943. The story of Mary Putnam Jacobi, one of the first woman doctors.
  34. The Weapon That Saves Lives, Originally broadcast 08/23/1943. The story of the invention of Sulfa drugs. The Surgeon General of the Army speaks about the use of Sulfa drugs during the war.
  35. Burma Surgeon, Originally broadcast 11/01/1943. The story of Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, a doctor in the Burmese jungles during the Japanese invasion.
  36. Diary On A Pig Boat, Originally broadcast 11/01/1943. The story of Dr. Gordon S. Seagrave, a doctor in the Burmese jungles during the Japanese invasion.
  37. Navy Doctor, Originally broadcast 12/06/1943. The story of a day in the life of a Navy doctor. A good action yarn, as the U. S. S. Astoria is attacked by the Japs and blown up. With Brian Donlevy as it’s star Cavalcade tells the story of one day in the life of a Navy Doctor. His official title is Medical Officer but to the men on his ship who spoke of him with deep affection as “Doc” he holds a special place. Even in peacetime his is no simple medical post but in war with shells bursting overhead and fire raging in the holes the navy doctor’s coolness and courage has made him time and time again one of the true heroes of our era. This radio play written especially for Cavalcade by Paul Peters is based on the experiences of Commander Charles F. Flower of the Astoria.
  38. Check Your Heart At Home, Originally broadcast 12/13/1943. A story based on the book, “They Sent Me To Iceland,” by Jane Goodell. A woman puts aside her dreams of a show business career to volunteer for the Red Cross in Iceland when the war begins.
  39. The Doctor Shoots A Cannon, Originally broadcast 01/24/1944. Two doctors and a pair of volunteers race against the clock to find a prevention for “flash burn.” The broadcast originates from Hollywood. Preston Foster narrates this true story. It is about two doctors in the United States Navy and their quest to design a battle dress to protect against flash burn.
  40. Junior Angel, Originally broadcast 02/28/1944. A fourteen-year old-girl is determined to contribute to the war effort and becomes a nurse’s aide.
  41. Ambulance Driver Middle East, Originally broadcast 04/03/1944. The story of William Prescott of the American Field Service in the Middle East, and his battle against an epidemic of smallpox.
  42. The Story Of Penicillin, Originally broadcast 04/24/1944. The story of Dr. Alexander Fleming who discovered the drug, and Dr. John Florey, who made the use of penicillin possible.
  43. Autobiography Of An Angel, Originally broadcast 05/08/1944. Cavalcade of America brings you a story of a young American who is fighting this war in the frontline hospitals and dressing stations in Italy. It is the story of an army nurse, lieutenant Anne Norris. But in a larger measure it is the story of the thousands of skilled, selfless, sacrificing women who have been recruited for the armed forces for the Red Cross and who have gone in to the unceasing battle against pain and death in all the war theatres in which our men are engaged.
  44. The Conquest Of Quinine, Originally broadcast 07/31/1944. The search for an artificial method production of the vital medicine “quinine,” and how doctors Robert Woodward and William Doering finally succeeded.
  45. Doughnut Girl, Originally broadcast 12/04/1944. This Cavalcade play deals with a branch of the American Red Cross, which helps American forces overseas to find relaxation. Donut Girl is based upon factual material supplied by Annette Robins a Red Cross worker recently returned from the South Pacific. It is the personal record of Patricia Holland a Chicago girl who found herself at a jungle airbase somewhere in New Guinea.
  46. The Conquest Of Pain, Originally broadcast 12/11/1944. The history of surgical anesthesia and the development of the use of ether.
  47. Doctor In Crinoline, Originally broadcast 12/18/1944.
  48. A Race For Lennie, Originally broadcast 01/29/1945. The story of Frederick Grant Banting and Charles H. Best, and their discovery of insulin.
  49. Flight Nurse, Originally broadcast 02/26/1945.
  50. Doctora In Mexico, Originally broadcast 04/16/1945. The story of Dr. Katharine Neel Dale, a pioneering missionary doctor in Mexico.
  51. How To Build Paradise, Originally broadcast 05/21/1945. A true but amazing story of men against the jungles starring Robert Young as Captain Robert P. Parsons who is doctor in the Medical Corps of the United States Navy. The U.S. navy holds the Cavalcade spotlight in this story of one of her ships and crew. The ship is an under seas radar the submarine USS Seawall and of her crew one of the most important men is Buck Quaid chief radioman played by Humphery Bogart who acted like a father towards new recruit 19 year old John Damon.
  52. DDT, Originally broadcast 06/25/1945. The story of how the United States Army used a new and “safe” insecticide against an epidemic of typhus in Naples during the war. One commercial tells how the company worked to develop and produce DDT for the Army. The last show of the season.
  53. The Battle To Stay Alive, Originally broadcast 09/24/1945. The history of the conquest of epidemic diseases.


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