L'histoire de ma famille

William Thurber Fales

Birth: April 29 1894
Marriage: ????
Death: 1953

Census Info


Year: 1900
State: Massachusetts
County: Middlesex
City/Town: Malden
Street: Oliver
Additional Residents: Susan Fales, Nellie, and Mary; Frank Moulton


Year: 1910
State: Massachusetts
County: Middlesex
City/Town: Malden
Street: [Belvale] St
Additional Residents: Frank Moulton; Susan Fales, Nellie, Mary


Year: 1920
State: Massachusetts
County: Middlesex
City/Town: Malden
Street: Oliver St
Additional Residents: Susan Winch Fales


Year: 1940
State: Maryland
County: Baltimore
City/Town: Ward 28
Street: Elderon Ave
Additional Residents: Hazel, Muriel, Thurber Jr, John

Military Service

Due to many WWI records being lost, I do not know if he served in WWI. According to his Draft Registration Card, he was 23 during the WWI draft, and lived in Glen Ridge, NJ working as a health inspector.
For WWII there is a Draft Registration Card, but he did not serve in WWII. According to this card, he was 47, lived in Baltimore, and worked for the Baltimore City Health Department. He was described as being 5'111/2" and 145 lbs. Also noted is that he had an "operation scar" on his right side.


He received his high school education at Malden High School in MA. Then he attended MIT, and there he received a Bachelor of Science (S.B.) in 1917. Next he received a Certificate in Public Health from Harvard University in 1920. Using his WWI draft card as reference we can deduce that between his schooling at MIT and Harvard (perhaps during his Harvard years) his career path started with working as a health inspector in NJ. With these degrees, he went on to be an instructor of Epidemiology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health from 1920 to 1924. While at Johns Hopkins, he was a member of the Delta Omega honor society. Here he received his Doctor of Science degree (Sc.D.) in Epidemiology in 1924. Delta Omega Alumni Association


After receiving his Sc.D., his career as a statistician began in Alabama. Here he worked for the State Board of Health as the State Registrar and Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics. His position in Alabama was from 1924-1934. During this time he traveled to Romania in 1931 to participate in a project headed by the Rockefeller Foundation. The project consisted of aiding the Romanian government with establishing a system of vital statistics for the country. From what I can tell, he was there for a year.

In 1934 he left Alabama to work for the Baltimore City Health Department as the Director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics. He worked here until his death in 1953.


WT Fales was published by a few sources, but I have found only one that provides access to articles he was involved in. Others, such as publications through MIT are only available at the campus. Also, I have a copy of a report Fales created while working as a consultant for the WHO, “Health Statistics and Vital Statistics in Southeast Asia”. This report is not online as it is a scanned copy, if you desire to read it then contact me and I will share the PDF file with you.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) has a journal, “American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health”, that has been in publication since 1911. Being a fellow of APHA, Fales had many articles published through their journal. I found 10 articles—five of which are authored solely by Fales—dating from 1923 to 1952. Below you will find the citations chronologically ordered with links to the source I found them from.

Personal Description

An interesting article that I found describes how dedicated he was to the work of a statistician, and truly gives insight into the man. He was described as being quiet, having a great memory, and being unorganization.

“His desk and brief case appeared to an observer to be a shambles, but when some point came up in the discussion requiring a particular paper, Fales would squirrel down into the heap and come up with it without any visible hesitation...many of you have had occasion to be impressed by his remarkable visual memory that not only made it possible for him to use such a unique filing system, but also enabled him to store within his mind a wealth of statistical material in such a form that he could pull out the right bit of information at the right time”.

His personal characteristics were also described.

“…he was modest and cheerful; he could scarcely bring himself to say an unkind word about anyone, and if something critical or derogatory had to be said, Dr. Fales would express himself with the greatest delicacy. He was the kind of man to whom people turn for help and advice, and he gave this generously even when under a heavy pressure of work.”
“The Role of the Vital Statistician in the Community as Evolved by W. Thurber Fales” by Lowell J. Reed. American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health: January Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 11-20