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Dan Landau remembered as doctor to the babies


Pictured are members of the Crimson basketball team representing Hannibal High School in 1924. Daniel B. Landau is pictured, front row, center. Walter W. Williams was the basketball coach. Team members included, in no particular order, Roy Mefford, forward; Virgil Jeans, forward; Ray Palmer, center; Charles Gilfillan, guard; Robert Lake, guard; Cliff Palmer; Landau; Lambert, guard; and Ben Schneider. PHOTO/1924 “PIRATE”

On Saturday, May 10, 1924, Danny Landau broke the conference record he set the year prior, running the half mile in 2:08:9. It was only the third year for competitive track at Hannibal High School since the revival of that sport in 1921, and the senior, who was well-rounded in athletics as well as academics, finished off his senior year on top of the heap.

He didn’t know it then, but his life path would take many twists and turns before he would settle down in his hometown, ultimately gaining recognition among the town’s leading physicians, specializing in pediatrics.

Polish immigrant

Daniel’s father was Adolph N. Landau, who immigrated from Russia/Poland in 1891. Along with Adolph’s brothers, Jacob J. and Otto Landau, he operated a retail dry goods and clothing store on Hannibal’s West End, 1408-10 Market Street.

Adolph and his wife Bertha were parents to Daniel – born in 1907 – and Daniel’s two younger sisters, Ruth and Alma. Adoph Landau died in April 1936.

The Hannibal High School yearbook of 1924 contains details of Daniel Landau’s athletic and academic accomplishments.

As one of 70 graduating seniors in the spring of 1924, Landau’s honors were many. He was a halfback for the Pirate football team, known as “A hard worker, small but mighty. An artist on end runs. Always in the fight and never quitting.” He played HHS football for two years of his high school career, 1922 and 1923.

In basketball he played for the Hannibal High School team, known as the Crimsons. The “Crimson Five” consisted of Roy Mefford, forward; Virgil Jeans, forward; Ray Palmer, center; Charles Gilfillan, guard; and Robert Lake, guard. Landau was team captain during his senior year. In the yearbook his classmates noted: “For three years ‘Danny’ has been an important cog in the Crimson machine, which this year, under his leadership, passed through a most successful season.” A loss to Fort Madison, Iowa, in 1924, was the first defeat for the Crimson players on their home court for more than six years.

As previously mentioned, Landau participated in track for all three of his high school years. Landau took first place in the half mile run at the Mississippi Valley Meet at Quincy, Ill., in 1923.

Landau was a member of the Bank Cashiers Club. He was also one of the 11 members of The Pirate yearbook staff, serving alongside such notables as E.T. Fuller, who would later serve as Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit; Abe Gaba, an artist of international fame; and Braxton Pollard, American educator and advertising executive.

College career

Daniel Landau attended the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife. After graduating from the university in 1929, he earned his medical degree from Washington University medical school, St. Louis in 1931. He served a one-year internship at St. Louis Hospital, followed by two years of internship and residence in pediatrics at Strong Memorial hospital at the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. This was followed by a year of associate in pediatrics in Rochester.

He opened his first practice in Hannibal in 1936. The same year he was certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, which certified only physicians of high scientific attainment in the care of children. In 1938 he was elected to a membership in the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He continued to practice in Hannibal until his enlistment in the military soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He reported for active duty in San Diego, Calif., in May 1942 as a lieutenant in the medical corps of the United States Naval Reserve. At San Diego he was assigned to the marine corps and spent eight months at the Marine Training Stations at Camp Pendleton and Camp Elliott. He then went to New Zealand with the third marine division. After four months he went to Guadalcanal where he was attached to the third marine hospital.

In March 1944 he was promoted to lieutenant commander and was given command of the medical company, which supported the third regiment of the 3rd marine division during the invasion of Guam on July 31, 1944. This campaign to recapture Guam lasted three weeks and was most intense. Dr. Landau and his company landed the first day of the campaign and he was highly commended for his excellent and untiring work under fire. He stayed on Guam until Oct. 10, 1944 when he flew back to Pearl Harbor and returned to San Diego by ship.

He was then assigned to the U.S. Naval hospital at Great Lakes, Ill., and on Dec. 25, 1944, he was assigned to the U.S. Naval Hospital at Paris Island, S.C., where he was in charge of the family clinic for the families of all servicemen stationed at that base. He continued in this capacity until he was separated from service. In November 1945 he was promoted to the rank of commander. (Source for military career, Hannibal Courier-Post, March 19, 1946)

Home to Hannibal

Dr. Landau re-opened his medical practice in Hannibal at the close of World War II. His office was located in the B&L Building on the northeast corner of Third and Broadway.

In April 1957, Dr. Landau and three of his contemporaries opened the Hannibal Clinic at 1001 Broadway. The other three doctors were Dr. Richard M. Strong, general surgeon; Dr. Francis R. Burns, OB/GYN; and Dr. Wyeth Hamlin, internal medicine. Two years later, the Clinic moved to 711 Grand Avenue.

Career focus

In November 1947, Dr. Landau made a speech before the District Medical meeting of the Missouri State Medical Association, on the topic “Infant Feeding, Immunizations and Getting Through the First Year of Life.” He was an advocate for breast feeing, noting that fewer infections occur and mortality rate is less among breast fed babies. In addition, he noted that the mother’s recovery is more natural and rapid if the baby is breast fed.

Jan. 7, 1953, Palmyra Spectator reported that Dr. D.B. Landau, of Hannibal, president of the Marion and Ralls County Medical Association, spoke on polio research and the progress in developing a vaccine, and results of recent experiments in polio epidemic areas. He spoke at the 1953 kickoff for the March of Dimes Drive. The event was at the Mark Twain Hotel in Hannibal. W.J. Schneider Jr., was toastmaster.

Ruth Landau

A low point in Dr. Landau’s life occurred during early June 1937. His sister, Ruth Landau, who had been suffering from depression, died after falling from Hannibal’s Lover’s Leap. Occurring just a year after her father’s death, and a year after Dr. Landau opened his medical practice in Hannibal, the Courier-Post reported that Miss Landau fell some 80 feet from the highest point of the bluff. Two eye-witnesses to the fall, Mrs. C.E. Smith and Mrs. Ada Flickinger, 809 South Main Street, told the newspaper that Miss Landau, who was alone, sat on the cliff with her feet dangling, then later walked to the edge. When they looked up again, they saw her falling.

Final rest

Dr. Landau died on Nov. 17, 1968. He is buried in Bnai Sholem Cemetery, adjacent to Riverside Cemetery, Hannibal. His wife, Dorothy, is buried at his side. She died in 1992.


HHS Class of 1924

“The Pirate” photo

Dr. Daniel Landau poses with a young patient in a publicity photo for Levering Hospital, Hannibal.


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