Jules Stein is the foremost benefactor in the world history of
vision science and blindness prevention. He combined his love for
music and medicine with a unique talent for analysis and organization
to produce a lifetime of celebrated achievements as musician, physician,
business leader and humanitarian.
Born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1896, Jules Stein received a PhB
from the University of Chicago at age 18 followed by an MD degree
from Rush Medical College. After completing postgraduate studies
at the University of Vienna and Chicago, Cook County Hospital, he
began medical practice and was certified by the American Board of
A musician from an early age, he financed his education by playing
in and leading his own band. As his reputation increased, he began
booking other musicians for professional engagements, and in 1924
founded Music Corporation of America (MCA). Shortly thereafter,
he gave up the practice of medicine to concentrate on this enterprise.
Within 10 years MCA represented most of the great name bands and
corporate activities began to extend to representation of film stars,
directors, writers and musical artists. MCA entered the promising
new field of television at its inception, eventually acquiring the
Universal City property, Universal Pictures and other enterprises
to become pre-eminent in the entertainment industry.
Throughout his phenomenally successful career, Jules Stein maintained
a strong interest and emotional investment in medicine, particularly
his own field of ophthalmology. In the late 1950s, urged by his
wife, Doris, he chose to direct his considerable talents to blindness
prevention. The result was a concert of ideas and achievements that
encompassed philanthropy, government and academic medicine.
By his efforts, Research to Prevent Blindness was created, now
recognized as the world's leading voluntary organization in support
of studies of the eye and its diseases. Jules Stein was largely
responsible for the passage of legislation to establish the National
Eye Institute as a separate entity in the National Institutes of
Health. Under his leadership the Jules Stein Eye Institute was founded
as a multidisciplinary center for vision science. Since its establishment,
the Institute has become internationally identified as the focus
for coordinated programs of research in the sciences related to
vision, ophthalmic education, and the care of patients with eye
Jules Stein died in 1981, leaving a legacy of hope to the world.
Through his accomplishments and philanthropy, he created ever-replenishing
resources, for eye research and the means to preserve and restore
sight for future generations.