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The Gooderham & Worts families emigrated from the Scole / Bungay area of England in the early 1830s, arriving in York, (now Toronto, Canada). First came James Worts, accompanied by his 13 year-old son, James Gooderham Worts. They built the windmill near the mouth of the Don River. They were followed in 1832 by William and Ezekiel Gooderham, their sister, Elizabeth (James Worts' wife) and 54 extended family members. Over the following 75 years, these families created the largest distillery in the world, as well as contributing to milling, banking, railways, shipping, farming and other essential components of the growing industrial country. They were active in the church and in various communities, as well as in health care and even in our political institutions. In 2013, descendants of the Gooderham and Worts families created an online website that includes a family tree with photos, documents and stories.


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1922 Sir Albert Gooderham’s Contribution to the Insulin Story

During the first two decades of the 20th century, several investigators prepared extracts of pancreas that were often successful in lowering blood sugar and reducing glycosuria in test animals. However, they were unable to remove impurities, and toxic reactions prevented its use in humans with diabetes. In the spring of 1921, Frederick G. Banting, a young Ontario orthopedic surgeon, was given laboratory space by J.J.R. Macleod, the head of physiology at the University of Toronto, to investigate the function of the pancreatic islets. A student assistant, Charles Best, and an allotment of dogs were provided to test Banting’s hypothesis.

Success with purification was largely the work of J.B. Collip. Yield and standardization were improved by cooperation with Eli Lilly and Company.

One Event—Three Versions At this point entered Colonel Albert Gooderham, prominent member of the Board of Governors, patron of the Connaught Laboratories, and chairman of the Insulin Committee. Anxious to end the growing dispute, he decided to intervene. In September 1922, he asked Banting, Best, and Macleod to prepare their own understandings of the discovery of insulin. Each was asked to outline Collip’s contribution. Gooderham did not write to Collip. He planned to compare the statements and then meet with them to clear up all misunderstandings and prepare one agreed-on history.

Col. Albert Gooderham, solicits accounts of the discovery of insulin from Banting, Best and Macleod. https://heritage.utoronto.ca/exhibits/insulin They each respond with a written submission. https://insulin.library.utoronto.ca/islandora/object/insulin%3AL10003

Had Gooderham sought comments from Collip, he might have received something like the feelings he expressed in a letter to a friend. Probably written in 1923, Collip said: “There are some people in Toronto who felt that I had no business to do physiological work…. The result was that when I made a definite discovery my confreres instead of being pleased were quite frankly provoked that I had had the good fortune to conceive the experiment and to carry it out. My own feelings now in the matter are that the whole research with its aftermath has been a disgusting business”

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