Hénonville, France, 1909
René Jules Dubos was born in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France, on February 20, 1901, and grew up in Hénonville, another small Île-de-France farming village north of Paris. His parents, Georges Alexandre Dubos and Adéline De Bloedt, ran a butcher shop in each of these villages. At age eight he suffered a severe attack of rheumatic fever that incapacitated him for more than a year and left him with damaged heart valves. In place of typical childhood activities, the young René developed traits that would dominate the rest of his life. He read intensively and walked and explored the countryside, pastimes that helped him cultivate a meditative mood—what he called the beginning of his freelance spirit.