1897 Health Scrapbook
on August 1, 2006
For my first blog entry, I would like to talk about my findings in the Health Scrapbook for 1897. This scrapbook, found at the City Archives, has actual newspaper clippings from numerous local and national papers that deal with health and medical issues. The articles tend to focus on Philadelphia health related subjects; however, some of them are on national health concerns.
While looking through the 1897 scrapbook, I noticed many interesting stories. One of these issues was on the subject of street cleaning. It seems that the city hired private companies to clean the streets to maintain its functionality and its cleanliness and in one article they did not clean the streets for weeks which lead many busy thoroughfares to be dirty and impassable. One reoccurring article that was published weekly was a report which showed how many people died each week and what they died from. This report listed many causes of death including Diphtheria, Consumption, murder, and cancer. The weekly death toll was usually around 400 people per week. Another interesting story was on the media following of the Chinese plague in 1897. Americans feared that the bubonic plague would somehow travel to the United States and cause widespread death, reminiscent of when SARS was in the media spotlight a few years ago.
For my feature article I will be writing about Philadelphia’s no spitting policy of which I found while looking through this scrapbook which will be coming out shortly. Thanks for reading!