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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

On January 3, 1938, President Roosevelt announced the creation of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, known today as the March of Dimes Foundation.  Originally founded in response to a series of polio epidemics, the organization was designed as a coalition between scientists and volunteer fundraisers.  The volunteers raised $233 million dollars by 1955, and the scientists created the Salk vaccine, effectively eliminating the threat of polio in the United States.

Mrs. Eunice Cook and a girl in a wheelchair representing the March of Dimes. Image courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art via Historic Pittsburgh.

With volunteer organizations across the country, fundraising efforts for the March of Dimes are documented in many local history collections, which can be found through Opening History.

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On this day in 1879, birth control activist Margaret Sanger was born in Corning, New York.  Sanger (née Higgens) was  the sixth of eleven children, and her mother’s poor health and early death, due in part to her 18 pregnancies, influenced her attitudes toward childbirth and women’s health.  In 1912, Sanger began working as a nurse with poor women on the East Side of Manhattan who were suffering from multiple childbirths and self-induced abortions, and, as a result of these experiences, Sanger soon gave up nursing and devoted her life to advocacy for family planning and sex education.  In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control League, which later became Planned Parenthood, and she worked tirelessly throughout her life to promote its mission by establishing clinics, embarking on speaking tours, and disseminating publications.  When the birth control pill was newly available in the 1960s, Sanger (then in her 80s) was its most outspoken advocate.

Image of Margaret Sanger courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Through Opening History, images of Sanger from the George Grantham Bain Collection at the Library of Congress may be found alongside her many publications, which have been made available through the Women Working, 1800-1930 and Immigration to the United States (1789-1930) collections at Harvard University Library.

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World Diabetes Day is tomorrow, November 14.

Diabetes Week Interview, 1958

Diabetes Week Interview, 1958

The photograph above, courtesy of LA Examiner Digital Archive, was taken in January 1958 during the Diabetes Week interview with Doctors Samuel Soskin (President of the Los Angeles Diabetes Association), Murray Weiss (Chairman of the Detection Drive), and Roy F. Perkins (Treasurer of the Los Angeles Diabetic Association).

The item below, courtesy of Feeding America digital collection, is the first page in the 23-pages-long list of recipes for people suffering from diabetes, which was published in a Diabetes chapter in a historic Fannie Merritt Farmer’s cookbook Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent (1904). To view the rest of the recipes in this chapter, click on the image below.

Recipes for Diabetic (1904). In: Farmer, F.M. Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. Boston:Little, Brown, and company. pp. 223-246.

Recipes for Diabetic (1904). In: Farmer, F.M. Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent. Boston:Little, Brown, and company. pp. 223-246.

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On July 6, 1885, Louis Pasteur gave the first successful anti-rabies inoculation to a boy who had been bitten by an infected dog. The photograph below, courtesy of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection, pictures 1906 San-Francisco earthquake refugees receiving inoculations at the refugee camp.

Innoculation at refugee camp (1906)

Innoculation at refugee camp (1906)

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American surgeon William James Mayo (1861-1939) was born on June 29, 1861, in LeSeuer, Minnesota. Mayo brothers — William James and Charles Horace — pioneered the concept of the group clinic, bringing together specialists from a number of medical fields to better perform diagnoses and treatment. Their Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, became an internationally known medical center.

The 1942 Park Ridge Times Herald newspaper clipping featured below, courtesy of the Digital Past collection, tells about World War II pilot Bob Sundin’s injury treatment at this clinic.

Sundin was hospitalized at Mayo Brothers Hospital in Minnesota

Sundin was hospitalized at Mayo Brothers Hospital in Minnesota

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Today, The World Health Organization has declared the current outbreak of H1N1 influenza to be a pandemic, the first since 1968.
As early as over a century ago, in 1890s, the flu disease was already under serious investigation.
The item featured below, courtesy of Harvard University Library, Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 digital collection, is a full-text digitized version of a Julius Althaus’s 1892 book “Influenza: its pathology, symptoms, complications, and sequels, its origin and mode of spreading, and its diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.”

Althaus, Julius. Influenza: its pathology, symptoms, complications, and sequels, its origin and mode of spreading, and its diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. London: Longmans, 1892.

Althaus, Julius. Influenza: its pathology, symptoms, complications, and sequels, its origin and mode of spreading, and its diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. London: Longmans, 1892.

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May 31st is the World No Tobacco Day.

The Opening History aggregation includes two digital collections focusing on the subject of fighting back against the epidemic of tobacco smoking —Tobacco Free Project, San Francisco Dept. of Public Health Records collection and Asian/Pacific Islanders Tobacco Education Network Records collection.

A number of other collections in Opening History aggregation contain hundreds of items (photographs, documents, posters, letters, etc.) about the various aspects of tobacco manufacturing and tobacco use in the United States.

The World War I poster (courtesy of Summons to Comradeship digital collection) and the 1908 photograph (courtesy of Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930 digital collection) below exemplify two different attitudes to tobacco in early-20th-century United States:

Help her fill a pipe for a fighting man in France : send your money to the Morning Telegraph: official organ in New York for our boys in France tobacco fund
Industrial Problems, Conditions: United States. Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Survey: Tobacco drying in the work room poisons in the air (1908)

Industrial Problems, Conditions: United States. Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Survey: Tobacco drying in the work room poisons the air (1908)

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