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PUBLIC "-//University of Virginia::Health System::Claude Moore Health Sciences Library::Historical Collections//TEXT (US::ViU-H::viuh00010::Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow FeverCollection 1806-1995)//EN" "viuh00010.xml"USViU-HPUBLIC "-//University of Virginia::Health System::Claude Moore Health Sciences Library::Historical Collections//TEXT (US::ViU-H::viuh00010::Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection 1806-1995)//EN" "viuh00010.xml"

Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection
1806-1995

sortHench, Philip S., Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection
collectionnumberMS-1
William B. Bean, Donna L. Purvis, Mark Mones, Henry K. Sharp, Janet Pearson, and Dan Cavanaugh.
3rd edition

This edition reflects substantial changes made to the 2nd edition finding aid. The repository staff made these changes to prepare the digital collection for inclusion in the University of Virginia Library's digital repository.

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Historical Collections
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
University of Virginia Health System
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0722
USA
Phone: (434) 924-0052
Phone: (434) 982-0576
Phone: (434) 924-5444
Machine-readable finding aid derived from MS Access 2000, created by M. Alison White
October 2, 2003
. Machine-readable finding aid revised by Daniel M. Cavanaugh in
February 2013
.
Description is in
engEnglish

Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection
circa 1800- circa 1998

A Collection in Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Collection NumberMS-1

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Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
publication2013
    simple
    Contact Information:
  • Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
  • 1350 Jefferson Park Avenue
  • P.O. Box 800722
  • University of Virginia Health System
  • Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0722
  • USA
  • Phone: (434) 924-0052
  • Phone: (434) 982-0576
  • Phone: (434) 924-5444
  • emailEmail: jre@virginia.edu
  • URL: http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/
deflist
Processed by:
Historical Collections Staff
collection
footerHistorical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
Descriptive Summary
TitlePhilip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection
inclusive1800/1998circa 1800-circa 1998
bulk1863/1974bulk 1863-1974
Collection numberMS-1
Creator
lcnafcreatorCarter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925Carter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925
lcnafcreatorHench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965Hench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965
lcnafcreatorKean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950
lcnafcreatorLazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900Lazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900
lcnafcreatorReed, Walter, 1851-1902Reed, Walter, 1851-1902
lcnafcreatorUnited States. ArmyUnited States. Army
Physical Characteristics
67 linear feet; 153 boxes
LanguageCollection is predominantly in
engEnglish
; other materials in the collection are in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
AbstractThe Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection documents the work of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, the legacy of the commission’s discoveries, the lives of individuals who were connected to the commission, and twentieth century campaigns to shape public memory of the commission. Items in the collection date from 1800 to 1998, with the bulk of the items dating from 1864 to 1974. A wide range of formats are represented in the collection including, but not limited to the following: articles, artifacts, audiocassettes, bills (legislative records), biographies, charts (graphic documents), correspondence, diaries, editorials, interviews, journals (periodicals), magazines, maps, medical records, military records, negatives (photographic), notes, photographs, reports, reprints, scrapbooks, and speeches. Unique materials in the collection are supplemented with copies of original documents and photographs housed in other institutions (e.g. the U.S. National Archives). Most of the materials in the collection were collected or created by Nobel laureate Philip Showalter Hench while researching the history of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission.
Selected Search Terms
lcnafcreatorCarter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925Carter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925
lcnafcreatorHench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965Hench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965
650meshHuman Experimentation
lcnafcreatorKean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950
lcnafcreatorLazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900Lazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900
650meshMilitary Medicine
650lcshPhysicians
650lcshPublic health
lcnafcreatorReed, Walter, 1851-1902Reed, Walter, 1851-1902
650lcshTropical medicine
lcnafcreatorUnited States. ArmyUnited States. Army
650lcshYellow fever
admininfo
Administrative Information
Provenance

Materials from the following series were donated to the University of Virginia's Alderman Library in the fall of 1966 and the summer of 1970 by Philip Showalter Hench's widow, Mary Kahler Hench, with the approval of his estate:

    simple
  • Series I. Jesse W. Lazear
  • Series II. Henry Rose Carter
  • Series III. Walter Reed
  • Series IV. Philip Showalter Hench
  • Series V. Maps
  • Series VI. Alphabetical files
  • Series VII. Truby-Kean-Hench
  • Series VIII. Miscellany
  • Series IX. Photographs
  • Series X. Negatives
  • Series XI. Reprints

Materials from Series XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center (HAM/TMC) were donated to the HAM/TMC by Philip Showalter Hench as a small part of a larger collection of materials.

Materials from Series XIII. Reed family additions were donated by various individuals to Alderman Library between 1947 and 1972. Box 139, Folder 1 contains a list that describes each of these donations in detail.

Materials from Series XIV. P. Kahler Hench were donated to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library by Philip Showalter Hench's son, P. Kahler Hench, in 1988 and 1989.

Materials from Series XV. Laura Wood were most likely donated to Alderman Library between 1972 and 1982.

Materials from Series XVI. Edward Hook additions were donated to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library as a part of the Papers of Dr. Edward Watson Hook, Jr.

Custodial History

Materials from the following series were initially deposited at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library. In 1982, they were moved to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library under the terms of a gift agreement that required the transferral of Mary K. Hench's donation to the library when adequate storage space for the collection could be found there.

    simple
  • Series I. Jesse W. Lazear
  • Series II. Henry Rose Carter
  • Series III. Walter Reed
  • Series IV. Philip Showalter Hench
  • Series V. Maps
  • Series VI. Alphabetical files
  • Series VII. Truby-Kean-Hench
  • Series VIII. Miscellany
  • Series IX. Photographs
  • Series X. Negatives
  • Series XI. Reprints
  • Series XIII. Reed family additions
  • Series XV. Laura Wood

Materials from Series XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center (HAM/TMC) were initially deposited in the HAM/TMC and were a part of the Philip S. Hench papers. In 1991, the materials were transferred from HAM/TMC to the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library after both repositories agreed that it would be more appropriate to include them in the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection.

Materials from Series XVI. Edward Hook additions were transferred from the Papers of Dr. Edward Watson Hook, Jr. to the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection around the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Processing History

Mary K. Hench's donation arrived in Charlottesville in a number of large crates which were packed much as the collection had been found in Philip Showalter Hench's home in Rochester, Minnesota. Some confusion about Dr. Hench's filing order had been created while the collection was packed for shipping, and thus the Manuscripts Department of the University of Virginia Library found it necessary to perform some sorting and arrangement to make the collection more accessible.

Around 1968, William Bennett Bean was hired by the University of Virginia as a visiting scholar in residence to begin work on a new biography of Walter Reed. Dr. Bean found that the order of the collection was not such that he could readily use it for biographical purposes. He employed a former assistant in the Manuscripts Department, sought and received permission to refile the collection, and had his assistant perform this task. The refiling of the collection had been finished by the fall of 1969, but Bean and his assistant had no time to prepare a finding aid.

In the fall of 1969 Donna L. Purvis of the Manuscripts Department staff began writing the first edition of the collection's finding aid. During this project, Mrs. Purvis found some problems with Dr. Bean's description and arrangement of the collection and felt that it was necessary to reprocess parts of it.

Around 1990 staff members in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library processed additions to the collection donated by Philip Showalter Hench's son, P. Kahler Hench.

Between 1999 and 2004, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library digitized a significant portion of the collection and made the digitized files available to users in an online exhibit. During this project, over 8,000 items from the collection were scanned, transcribed, and described at the item level. Metadata for the digitized items was recorded in XML files using the TEI 2 standard.

In 2001, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library processed additions that had been made to the collection since 1982, excepting the materials donated by P. Kahler Hench. Staff members also processed significant portions of Mary K. Hench's original donation that had not been described in the first edition of the collection finding aid. This work led to the development of a second edition finding aid that was coded in EAD and ingested into the Virginia Heritage database. This finding aid contained both new metadata and metadata that had been migrated from a Microsoft Access file.

In the 2000s the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library processed the materials in Series XV. Edward Hook additions.

In 2009, staff members in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library processed Box 154 of the collection.

In 2013, staff members in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library produced a third edition of the finding aid using EAD that merged collection description from four sources (the first edition finding aid, the second edition finding aid, the online exhibit, and the physical collection). When possible, metadata from the existing online exhibit's TEI files and metadata from the second edition finding aid were transformed with XSL and included in the EAD file. However, staff members sometimes found it necessary to create new metadata for the collection. The new finding aid was structured in such a way to facilitate the migration of the collection's digital files and metadata into the University of Virginia's digital repository and make it available to users via the library's online catalog.

Copyright Status

Copyright restrictions may apply for some materials in the collection.

Access

There are no restrictions on user access to any of the materials in the collection except where noted in the container list.

Preferred Citation

Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, 1800-1998, MS-1, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Historical Collections and Services, University of Virginia

Historical Information for the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission

The U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission (1900-1901) was a board of physicians that the U.S. government formed in order to determine how yellow fever was transmitted between hosts. Ultimately, the commission's experiments in Cuba proved that mosquitoes transmit yellow fever--a discovery that would spur successful campaigns to control and eradicate yellow fever throughout much of the globe.

When Major Walter Reed and Acting Assistant Surgeons James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, and Jesse Lazear gathered on the porch of the Columbia Barracks Hospital in June of 1900, they became the fourth successive board of U.S. medical officers to grapple with the appalling plague that was yellow fever.

The persistence of this disease across the Cuban archipelago and its periodic re-emergence along the coastlines and great river drainages of the Americas was taking countless thousands of lives. Lack of precise knowledge as to its cause and transmission had augmented yellow fever's extraordinarily high mortality rate and had given rise to quarantine regulations which constituted substantial impediments to efficient regional trade. Endemic in the tropics, yellow fever imposed high humanitarian and economic costs upon the entire region. Specialists regarded Cuba as one of the principal foci of the disease, and the island consequently attracted considerable attention from the medical sciences.

In 1879, one year after a devastating epidemic swept up the Mississippi valley from New Orleans, Tulane University Professor Stanford E. Chaille led the first investigatory commission to Havana, Rio de Janeiro, and the West Indies. The Chaille Commission remained in Havana three months, and its members -- including George Miller Sternberg, who became Surgeon General of the Army, and Juan Guiteras, later Director of Public Health for Havana -- consulted with Cuban scientist Carlos J. Finlay. They concluded that the causal agent for yellow fever was possibly a living entity in the atmosphere, an assertion which set Finlay on the path to the mosquito theory he developed in 1881.

Louis Pasteur's foundational and highly successful work in modern immunology in 1880 and 1881 gave a renewed impetus to investigations aimed at discovering the "yellow fever germ." Over the middle years of the 1880s several scientists advanced different theories, all readily refuted by bacteriological work Sternberg undertook in Brazil and Mexico in 1887 and again in Havana in 1888 and 1889. In 1897, Italian scientist Giuseppe Sanarelli argued that Bacillus icteroides was the culprit, and the following year a third scientific team sailed to Cuba for additional tests. Eugene Wasdin and Henry D. Geddings appeared to confirm Sanarelli's assertion, though Sternberg, by then Surgeon General, remained skeptical.

Despite Wasdin and Geddings' insistence, the B. icteroides theory garnered significant opposition. In fact, a few months before the third commission's report reached the public, Walter Reed and James Carroll -- Reed's assistant at the Columbian University (later George Washington University) bacteriology laboratories in Washington, D.C. -- published a thorough refutation of the icteroides proposal: the bacteria was not a unique cause of yellow fever, but a variety of the hog cholera bacillus, "a secondary invader in yellow fever," Reed determined, unrelated to its etiology. [1] Dispute continued, however, and when Sternberg organized the fourth investigatory board, he charged Reed and his associates to settle the B. icteroides question once and for all, then to proceed with analysis of other blood cultures and intestinal flora from yellow fever cases.

Reed and Carroll had considerable experience in bacteriological analysis, and, Sternberg reasoned, might well be able to find the specific agent of the disease. Aristides Agramonte, a Cuban scientist who had worked in Reed's lab at the Columbian University in 1898, was also an accomplished bacteriologist; he had identified B. icteroides in tissue samples from cases other than yellow fever, providing further evidence opposed to Sanarelli's thesis. Jesse Lazear, a scientist from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, had joined the Army Medical Corps to study tropical diseases at their point of origin; he received orders for Cuba in February 1900. Lazear impressed Reed with his abilities when the two men became acquainted in March. No doubt with Reed's advice, Sternberg assembled a crack team -- all experienced in scientific research, but each with interests as diverse as their temperaments. The mix of talent and personalities generated spectacular results.

What causes yellow fever? This simple, even obvious question had dictated yellow fever research for over two decades, and so it guided Reed in organizing the work of the commission. Bacillus icteroides and other bacteriological sampling dominated their work for the first months. "Reed and Carroll have been at that for a long time," Lazear wrote with some impatience to his wife on August 23, ". . . I would rather try to find the germ without bothering about Sanarelli." [2] Again and again, tests for the bacteria proved negative, and at the same time, perplexing cases of yellow fever were developing in the region. Agramonte and Reed investigated an epidemic at Pinar del Rio, 110 miles southwest of Havana; Lazear followed later to collect more specimens, and he also assessed the situation at Guanjay thirty miles southwest. To "my very great surprise," Reed admitted, the specific circumstances of the appearance and development of these cases gave strong evidence against the widely-accepted notion that the excreta of patients spread the disease. The theory of fomites -- infection from contaminated clothing and bedding -- and indeed even infection from airborne particles seemed altogether untrue. "At this stage of our investigation," Reed concluded, ". . . the time had arrived when the plan of our work should be radically changed." [3] The fundamental question underwent a subtle but critical transformation: from what causes yellow fever to what transmits it. A clear and accurate understanding of how the disease was spread would open a new avenue to its specific cause.

"Personally, I feel that only can experimentation on human beings serve to clear the field for further effective work," Reed stated to Surgeon General Sternberg, who concurred. [4] Evidence gathering around them pointed strongly to an intermediate host, and the Commission resolved to test Carlos Finlay's mosquito theory -- then not generally accepted -- on human volunteers. Nine times from August 11 to August 25, 1900, mosquitoes landed on the arms of volunteers and proceeded to feed. Nine times the results were negative. On August 27, Lazear placed a mosquito on the doubting Dr. Carroll, and four days later on William J. Dean, a soldier designated XY in the "Preliminary Note." [5] Both promptly developed yellow fever. Significantly, their mosquitoes had fed on cases within the initial three days of an attack and had been allowed to ripen for at least twelve days before the inoculations. Carroll vitiated the results of his experimental sickness by traveling off the post to Havana, a contaminated zone, even as Reed, ecstatic, wrote from Washington in a confidential letter: "Did the Mosquito do it?" [6] Dean's case seemed to prove it, since he claimed not to have left the garrison before becoming ill. Lazear also developed a case of yellow fever, almost certainly experimental in origin, though he never revealed the actual circumstances of his inoculation. His severe bout of fever took a fatal turn on September 25, 1900.

Nevertheless, these results could not have been more dramatic or convincing for the Commission. Reed quickly assembled a "Preliminary Note," which he presented to the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 23, 1900. After initial consultations in Cuba with General Leonard Wood, military governor of the island, and with Surgeon General Sternberg in Washington, he returned to Cuba with authorization and funding to design and carry forward a fully defensible series of experiments. His aim was confirmation of the mosquito theory and invalidation of the long-held belief in fomites.

On open terrain beyond the precincts of Columbia Barracks -- the American military base just west of Havana near the adjacent suburban towns of Quemados and Marianao (also called Quemados de Marianao) -- Reed established the quarantined experimental station. Camp Lazear, as the Commission dedicated it, took form in the rolling fields of the Finca San Jose, on the farm of Dr. Ignacio Rojas, who leased the land to the Americans. Here Reed designed two small wood-frame buildings, each 14 by 20 feet, for the experimental work, and nearby raised a group of seven tents for the accommodation and support of the volunteers. The buildings faced each other across a small swale, about 80 yards apart, and stood 75 yards from the tent encampment. Building Number One, called the Infected Clothing Building, was a single room tightly constructed to contain as much foul air as possible. A small stove kept the temperature and humidity at tropical levels, and carefully attached screening secured the pair of doorways in a vestibule against intrusion by mosquitoes. Wooden blinds on two small sealed windows shielded the room from direct sun. Building Number Two, the Infected Mosquito Building, contained a principal room, divided into two sections by a floor-to-ceiling wire mesh screen. A door direct to the exterior let into one section, while a vestibule with a solid exterior door and pair of successive screened doors opened to the other, so configured to keep infected mosquitoes inside that section alone. The spare furnishings in both sections -- cots with bedding -- were steam sterilized. Windows exposed the entire room to the clean, steady ocean breezes and to sunlight. Like the doorways, they were carefully screened. A secondary room attached to the building but not communicating with the experimental spaces sheltered the small, heated laboratory where the Commission members raised and stored the mosquitoes to be used.

These two experimental buildings presented alternate environments -- one conspicuously clean and well ventilated, the other filthy and fetid. Contemporary theories of disease held that yellow fever developed in unclean conditions, and consequently much time and money had been devoted to sanitation projects. Workers steamed clothing, burned sulphur in ships' holds, and thoroughly scrubbed surfaces with disinfectant. In cases of severe epidemic, entire buildings presumed to be infected were set afire along with their contents. Thus the extraordinary -- and intentional -- paradox of the Commission's experimental regime: Reed expected yellow fever to develop not in the unsanitary environment, but in the one thought to be most healthful.

Camp Lazear went into quarantine the day of its completion, November 20, 1900, with a command of four immune and nine non-immune individuals, all save one U.S. Army personnel. Soon a group of recent Spanish immigrants to Cuba augmented the non-immune numbers, bringing the resident total to about twenty. Reed strictly controlled access to the camp and ordered regular temperature recording for each volunteer to eliminate any unanticipated source of infection and to identify the onset of any case of yellow fever as early as possible. As a result, non-immunes were barred from returning should they leave the precinct, and two of the Spaniards who developed intermittent fevers shortly after arrival were immediately transferred with their baggage to Columbia Barracks Hospital. The immune members of the detachment oversaw medical treatments and drove the teams of mules that pulled supply wagons and the ambulance. Experimentation did not begin until each volunteer had passed the incubation period for yellow fever in perfect health.

Reed took as much care with the design of the experimental protocol as he had with the configuration of the camp and its buildings. Each evening, the occupants of the infected clothing building unpacked trunks and boxes of bed linens and blankets, nightshirts and other clothing recently worn and soiled by cases from the wards of Columbia Barracks Hospital and Las Animas Hospital in Havana. These they shook out and spread around the room to permeate the atmosphere. The stench was overpowering. Yellow fever causes severe internal hemorrhaging, and its unfortunate victims often suffer from black vomit and other bloody discharges. One routine delivery proved so putrid the volunteers "retreated from the house," Reed stated. "They pluckily returned, however, within a short time, and spent the night as usual." [7] In two succeeding trials the protocol became progressively more daring , as the volunteers then wore the clothing and slept on the mattresses used by yellow fever patients, and finally put towels on their bedding smeared with blood drawn from cases in the early stages of an attack. Each morning, the volunteers carefully repacked the rank, encrusted materials into boxes and emerged to an adjacent tent where they spent the day quarantined from the rest of the company. Three trials of twenty days each involved seven men altogether, lead by Robert P. Cooke, a physician in the Army Medical Corps. None developed yellow fever.

The Commission's mosquito experiments proceeded in four series. First, Reed sought to demonstrate that mosquitoes of the variety Culex fasciata (later called Stegomyia fasciata, and later still Aedes aegypti) could in fact transmit yellow fever, as Carlos J. Finlay had argued and the initial experiments at Camp Columbia strongly suggested. Here the Commission members simply applied infected mosquitoes contained in test tubes or jars to the skin of the initial volunteers. Success in these tests raised a number of questions, each one addressed in the subsequent series:

    simple
  • How could a building become infected?
  • When does a mosquito develop the ability to transmit the disease?
  • Over what length of time can a mosquito retain this capacity to infect?

The second series consequently employed the specialized "Infected Mosquito Building" to indicate how a structure could be considered infected with yellow fever. This experiment required two groups of volunteers, one to be inoculated and another to serve as controls. "Loaded" mosquitoes, as the men called them, were released into the screened section of Building Two -- on the side with the protected vestibule entry. One or more non-immune men then entered the opposite section of the room through the direct exterior door, and lay down on bunks adjacent to the wire mesh screen in the center of the room. Now the young man to be inoculated walked through the vestibule into the mosquito side of the room and proceeded to lie on a bunk adjacent to the wire screen separating him from the controls. The inoculation volunteer remained in the building for about twenty minutes -- enough time to suffer several mosquito bites -- he then exited to a quarantine tent outside. The controls spent the remainder of the evening and night in the uninfected side of the room, and indeed returned to sleep in the room for as many as eighteen more nights. As Reed stated, absence of yellow fever in the controls showed "that the essential factor in the infection of a building with yellow fever is the presence therein of [infected] mosquitoes," and nothing more. [8] The degree of sanitation, so long considered critical, was utterly irrelevant.

The third series of mosquito experiments confirmed what Henry Rose Carter, of the U.S. Public Health Service, called the "period of extrinsic incubation," [9] the length of time required for secondary cases of yellow fever to develop after an initial intrusion of the disease into a locality. In this series, a single volunteer underwent three successive inoculations by the same mosquitoes, each group of inoculations interrupted by a period of time equal in length to the typical incubation period of the disease in humans, about five days. In this manner, the volunteer's illness could be specifically attributed to a single inoculation group. The use of the same mosquitoes and the same volunteer concurrently demonstrated that no peculiar personal immunity was at play, since logic dictates that a person susceptible to yellow fever on day 17 of a mosquito's contamination -- as happened in the experiment -- could not have been immune to yellow fever on day 11 or day 4. It was thus only the mosquito's capacity to infect which changed, and that occurred no less than 11 days after contamination.

The duration of time over which these "fully ripened" mosquitoes remained infective comprised the fourth series of experiments. For this series the Commission kept alive a group of infected mosquitoes for as long as possible, and proceeded to inoculate three volunteers -- on the 39th, 51st, and 57th day after contamination. Each developed yellow fever. A fourth volunteer declined to be bitten on day 65, and the last two mosquitoes of the group, "deprived of further opportunity to feed on human blood" [10] expired on day 69 and day 71, clear evidence that even a sparsely populated region may retain the potential for new infections more than two months after the first appearance of the disease.

Although it went unrecorded in the published papers, Reed organized a supplemental experiment to test another species of mosquito. Culex pungens failed to transmit yellow fever to at least one volunteer and probably to a second. Reed's preliminary conclusions indicated that Culex fasciata was the only species capable of transmitting yellow fever. [11]

A last experimental regime involved subcutaneous injections of blood from positive cases of yellow fever to presumed non-immunes. Reed devised these tests to confirm the presence of the yellow fever agent in the blood of a victim during the first days of an attack, and, more importantly, to settle the Bacillus icteroides question. The same blood cultures which produced yellow fever in four volunteers also failed to grow any B. icteroides, conclusively invalidating Sanarelli's claim.

Altogether, the mosquito inoculations and the blood injections produced fourteen cases of yellow fever. All made a full recovery.

Notwithstanding the decisive medical victory -- as Reed declared, "aside from the antitoxin of Diptheria and Koch's discovery of the tubercle bacillus, it will be regarded as the most important piece of work, scientifically, during the 19th century" [12] -- success at Camp Lazear unfolded in its own time. Initially, Reed observed, "the results obtained at this station were not encouraging." [13] The first inoculations of four volunteers over a period of two weeks proved disconcertingly negative each time. Then, on December 5, 1900, private John R. Kissinger presented his arm to the mosquitoes, and late in the evening on December 8, suffered the first chills of "a well-marked attack of yellow fever." [14] Three more men in rapid succession fell victim to the insects -- Spanish volunteers Antonio Benigno, Nicanor Fernandez, and Vicente Presedo. The force of the conclusions was evident to everyone:

"It can readily be imagined," Reed empathetically and wryly described in his first presentation of the experiments, "that the concurrence of 4 cases of yellow fever in our small command of 12 non-immunes within the space of 1 week, while giving rise to feelings of exultation in the hearts of the experimenters, in view of the vast importance attaching to these results, might inspire quite other sentiments in the bosoms of those who had previously consented to submit themselves to the mosquito's bite. In fact, several of our good-natured Spanish friends who had jokingly compared our mosquitoes to 'the little flies that buzzed harmlessly about their tables,' suddenly appeared to lose all interest in the progress of science, and, forgetting for the moment even their own personal aggrandizement, incontinently severed their connection with Camp Lazear. Personally, while lamenting to some extent their departure, I could not but feel that in placing themselves beyond our control they were exercising the soundest judgment."

"In striking contrast," Reed continued, the anxiety of the fomites volunteers began to melt into relief. "[T]he countenances of these men, which had before borne the serious aspect of those who were bravely facing an unseen foe, suddenly took on the glad expression of 'schoolboys let out for a holiday,' and from this time their contempt for 'fomites' could not find sufficient expression. Thus illustrating once more, gentlemen, the old adage that familiarity, even with fomites, may breed contempt." [15]

The question of human experimentation was indeed a serious one -- unavoidable, in actuality, as Reed had stated the previous summer to Surgeon General Sternberg. When the Commission first considered a trial of Finlay's mosquito theory, Reed, Carroll, and Lazear agreed to experiment on themselves. Agramonte, a native Cuban, had acquired immunity as a child. Doubtless Finlay's experience of many unsuccessful inoculations communicated that positive results would not be forthcoming rapidly, so before the first series of inoculations began under Lazear's direction at Columbia Barracks, Reed left Cuba for Washington, where he completed a monumental report on typhoid fever among the army corps -- left unfinished by the sudden death of co-author Edward O. Shakespeare. Carroll and Lazear both sickened while Reed was in Washington, and Lazear, young and strong, had no reason to anticipate that his case would be fatal. Reed was shocked at Lazear's death, and because of his own age -- 49, a decade and a half older than Lazear and a dozen years older than Carroll -- he resolved not to inoculate himself when he returned to Cuba on October 4, 1900. The point had already been amply demonstrated, and only a rigidly controlled experimental regime would establish the necessary proof. Carroll, however, remained embittered about this for the remainder of his life, though he evidently never communicated his objections directly to Reed.

That initial series of mosquito inoculations was probably accomplished without formal documentation of informed consent. Indeed, the experiments may also have been carried forward without the full knowledge of the commanding officer of Camp Columbia, and Reed consequently shielded the identity of Private William J. Dean, the second positive experimental case, behind the pseudonym "XY" in the "Preliminary Note." No such potentially troublesome problems arose for the experimental series at Camp Lazear; Reed obtained prior support from all of the appropriate authorities in the military and the administration, even including the Spanish Consul to Cuba. With the advice of the Commission and others, he drafted what is now one of the oldest series of extant informed consent documents. The surviving examples are in Spanish with English translations, and were signed by volunteers Antonio Benigno and Vicente Presedo, and a third with the mark of Nicanor Fernandez, who was illiterate.

The documents take the form of a contract between individual volunteers and the Commission, represented by Reed. At least 25 years old, each volunteer explicitly consented to participate, and balanced the certainty of contracting yellow fever in the general population against the risks of developing an experimental case, followed by expert and timely medical care. The volunteers agreed to remain at Camp Lazear for the duration of the experiments, and as a reward for participation would receive $100 "in American gold," with an additional hundred-dollar supplement for contracting yellow fever. These payments could be assigned to a survivor, and the volunteers agreed to forfeit any remuneration in cases of desertion.

For the American participants no consent documents appear to survive, though in contemporary letters Reed assured his correspondents that the Commission obtained written consent from all the volunteers. The record of expenses for Camp Lazear -- maintained by Reed's friend and colleague in the medical corps, Jefferson Randolph Kean -- indicates that the same schedule of payments for participation and sickness applied to the Americans as well. Volunteers who participated in the fomites tests and in addition the later series of blood injections and the single trial of an alternative species of mosquito also earned $100 each plus the $100 supplement if yellow fever developed. Two Americans declined these gratuities, as Kean termed them, Dr. Robert P. Cooke, of the fomites tests, and John J. Moran, who had recently received an honorable discharge from the service, and was the only American civilian to participate. His was the fourth case of yellow fever to develop from mosquito inoculation. Moran eventually settled in Cuba, where he managed the Havana offices of the Sun Oil Company, and late in life became a close friend of Philip S. Hench. Together the two men rediscovered the site of Camp Lazear in 1940 -- Building Number One still intact -- and successfully lobbied the Cuban government to memorialize there the work of Finlay and the American Commission in the conquest of yellow fever.

Reed informally commemorated his own experiences at Camp Lazear by commissioning a group photograph, evidently taken there shortly before he left Cuba in February 1901. A more important event occurred on the sixth of that month when Reed presented the results of the Camp Lazear yellow fever experiments to a great ovation at the Pan-American Medical Congress in Havana. Three days later he set sail for the United States, and once landed, drafted the Congress paper as The Etiology of Yellow Fever -- An Additional Note, published immediately in the Journal of the American Medical Association. [16]

Though his correspondence intimates a great appreciation for Cuba, Reed never returned to the warm, sunny shores of the island freed of a dreadful plague. Carroll stayed behind at Camp Lazear through February to complete the last experimental series officially bearing the imprimatur of the Yellow Fever Commission, and returned to Washington soon after March first. [17] The Medical Corps retained the lease on Camp Lazear against the possibility of continuing experiments another season, and Carroll, in fact, returned to Havana in August 1901 for a final experimental series, though he did not make use of Camp Lazear. This work involved at least three volunteers at Las Animas Hospital, Havana, who submitted to blood injections. Carroll's assignment aimed at a greater understanding of the yellow fever agent, and he proved that blood drawn from active cases of yellow fever remained virulent even after passing through fine bacteria filters. In addition, by heating contaminated blood which had previously caused cases of yellow fever, Carroll rendered it non-infective -- thereby establishing that this filterable entity, though sub-microscopic, was demonstrably present in the bloodstream. Carroll wrapped up the series in October and returned home to stay. [18] In Cuba, J. Randolph Kean made the last rental payments to Signore Rojas on October 9, 1901, and Camp Lazear, for more than a generation, slipped out of the realm of memory.

Sources:

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  • [1] Walter Reed and James Carroll, Bacillus Icteroides and Bacillus Cholerae Suis -- A Preliminary Note, Medical News (29 April 1899), reprinted in: United States Senate Document No. 822, Yellow Fever, A Compilation of Various Publications (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1911), p. 55.
  • [2] Letter from Jesse W. Lazear to Mabel Houston Lazear, 23 August 1900, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 00341001.
  • [3] Walter Reed, "The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches," in United States Senate Document No. 822, Yellow Fever A Compilation of Various Publications (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1911), p. 94.
  • [4] Letter from Walter Reed to George M. Sternberg, 24 July 1900, Hench Reed Yellow Fever Collection, accession number: 02064001.
  • [5] Walter Reed, James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, Jesse W. Lazear, The Etiology of Yellow Fever -- A Preliminary Note, Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association Indianapolis, Indiana, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 October 1900.
  • [6] Letter from Walter Reed to James Carroll, 7 September 1900, Edward Hook Additions to the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection: James Carroll Papers, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 15312004. The originals of these letters remain in a private collection.
  • [7] Walter Reed, James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, The Etiology of Yellow Fever -- An Additional Note, Journal of the American Medical Association 36 (16 February 1901): 431-440, reprinted in: Senate Document No. 822, p. 84.
  • [8] Walter Reed, The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches, in Senate Document No. 822, p. 99.
  • [9] Henry Rose Carter, A Note on the Spread of Yellow Fever in Houses, Extrinsic Incubation, Medical Record 59 (15 June 1901) 24: 937.
  • [10] Walter Reed, The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches, in Senate Document No. 822, p. 101.
  • [11] Culex fasciata was reclassified shortly after the experiments as Stegomyia and later became Aedes aegypti.
  • [12] Letter to from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence Reed, 9 December 1900, Hench Reed Collection, accession number: 02231001.
  • [13] Walter Reed, The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches, in Senate Document No. 822, p. 97.
  • [14] Walter Reed, The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches, in Senate Document No. 822, p. 98.
  • [15] Walter Reed, The Propagation of Yellow Fever -- Observations Based on Recent Researches, in Senate Document No. 822, p. 99.
  • [16] Please see note [7].
  • [17] The Commission reported these concluding experiments in: Walter Reed, James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, Experimental Yellow Fever, American Medicine II (6 July 1901) 1: 15-23.
  • [18] Walter Reed, James Carroll, The Etiology of Yellow Fever (A Supplemental Note), American Medicine III (22 February 1902) 8: 301-305.
Biographical Information for Walter Reed

Walter Reed (September 13, 1851 - November 22, 1902) was a U.S. Army physician who led the army's Yellow Fever Commission 1900 and 1901. Experiments conducted by the commission confirmed a theory that yellow fever is transmitted by mosquitoes--a discovery that led to the control and eradication of this disease across much of the globe. Reed would receive much of the credit for the work of the commission because of his role as its leader, and, long after his death in 1902, he would be widely celebrated as a heroic figure in the fields of public health and medical research.

Reed spent his first days in a small house which served as the parsonage for a Methodist congregation in Gloucester County, Virginia, where his father was minister.  Lemuel Sutton Reed and Pharaba White Reed welcomed young Walter into the family on September 13, 1851;  he was the youngest of their five children.  The Reeds moved to other Virginia parishes during Walter's childhood, and just after the close of the Civil War, transferred to the town of Charlottesville.  That move in 1866 placed Walter in the orbit of the University of Virginia, which he entered a year later at age sixteen under the care of his older brother Christopher, also a student at the University.  Reed attended two year-long sessions, the second devoted entirely to the medical curriculum, and he completed an M.D. degree on July 1, 1869, as one of the youngest students to graduate in the history of the medical school.

At that time the School of Medicine at the University offered little opportunity for direct clinical experience, so Reed subsequently enrolled at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, in Manhattan, New York.  There he obtained a second M.D. degree in 1870.  Reed interned at a number of hospitals in the New York metropolitan area, including the Infants' Hospital on Randall's Island and the Brooklyn City Hospital.  In 1873, he assumed the position of assistant sanitary officer for the Brooklyn Board of Health.  The large and diverse population of New York, with its many immigrant communities and dense, tenement housing, provided countless medical cases to treat and study;  these served to expose Reed to the vital importance of public health, and developed in him a lifelong interest in the field.  Yet the frenetic life of the great cities began to pall after a few years: "Here the ever bustling day is crowded into the busy night; nor can we draw the line of separation between the two,"[1] he wrote to Emilie Lawrence, of Murfreesboro, North Carolina, later to become Mrs. Walter Reed.  Their courtship letters reveal much of his maturing character, interests, and philosophy of life.  Increasing responsibilities with the Board of Health precluded opening a private practice, and Reed's youth proved a barrier in a culture given to offering respect more to the appearance of maturity than to its actual demonstration. Reed consequently resolved to join the Army Medical Corps, both for the professional opportunities it offered immediately and for the modest financial security it could provide to a young man without independent means.  He passed the qualifying examinations in January 1875 and proceeded to his first assignment at the military base on Willet's Point, New York Harbor.

Reed remained in the Medical Corps for the rest of his life, spending many years of the '70s, '80s, and early '90s at difficult postings in the American West.  The first of these -- to the Arizona Territory -- began in the late spring of 1876, and indeed hurried along his wedding to Emilie Lawrence, on April 25, shortly before his departure.  She joined him the following November, and bore two children at frontier posts, a son Walter Lawrence and a daughter Emilie, called Blossom.

Reed's other western assignments included forts in Nebraska, Dakota Territory, and Minnesota, with two eastern interludes at Baltimore, Maryland and another at Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama.  During the second of these tours in Baltimore -- over the 1890-1891 academic year -- Reed completed advanced coursework in pathology and bacteriology in the Johns Hopkins University Hospital Pathology Laboratory.  When he returned from his last western appointment in 1893, Reed joined the faculty of the Army Medical School in Washington, D.C., where he held the professorship of Bacteriology and Clinical Microscopy.  He also became curator of the Army Medical Museum and joined the faculty of the Columbian University in Washington (later the George Washington University).  In addition, Reed maintained close ties with professor William Welch and other leading lights in the scientific community he had come to know at Hopkins a few years earlier.

Beyond his teaching responsibilities for the Army and the Columbian University programs, Reed actively pursued medical research projects.  A bibliography of his publications finds entries from 1892 to the year of his untimely death a decade later, and the subjects he investigated range from erysipelas to cholera, typhoid, malaria, and yellow fever, among others.[2]   In 1896, a research trip to investigate an outbreak of smallpox took him to Key West, and there he developed a close friendship with Jefferson Randolph Kean, a fellow Virginian and colleague in the Medical Corps ten years his junior.  When Reed traveled to Cuba in 1899 to study typhoid in the army encampments of the U.S. forces, Kean was already there, and Kean was still in Cuba when Reed returned as the head of the Army board charged by Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg to examine tropical diseases including yellow fever.  Kean and his first wife Louise were great supporters of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission's work, and Kean in fact served as quartermaster for the famous series of experiments at Camp Lazear.  After the dramatic and conclusive success of those experiments, Kean actively -- though unsuccessfully -- promoted Reed's candidacy for Surgeon General.

Reed continued to speak and publish on yellow fever after his return from Cuba in 1901, receiving honorary degrees from Harvard and the University of Michigan in recognition of his seminal work.  In November 1902, Reed developed what had been for him recurring gastro-intestinal trouble.  This time, however, his appendix ruptured, and surgery came too late to save him from the peritonitis which developed.  He died on November 23, 1902, almost two years to the day from the opening of Camp Lazear and the stunning experimental victory there.  Kean remained a champion of his deceased friend's role in the conquest of yellow fever.  He organized the Walter Reed Memorial Association, to provide support for Reed's family and to build a suitable memorial, and was instrumental in lobbying the United States Congress to establish the Yellow Fever Roll of Honor.  In 1929, Congress mandated the annual publication of the Roll in the Army Register, and struck a series Congressional Gold Medals saluting the Commission members and the young Americans who bravely suffered experimental yellow fever a generation before.

Sources:

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  • [1] Letter from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence, 18 July 1874, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 01605001.
  • [2] The bibliography of Reed's scientific papers may be found in: Howard Atwood Kelly, Walter Reed and Yellow Fever (New York: McClure, Phillips and Co., 1906), pp. 281-283. Kelly's complete biography of Reed is contained on this Web site.
Biographical Information for Jesse W. Lazear

Jesse William Lazear (May 2, 1866 - September 26, 1900) was a physician who was a member of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission in 1900. Lazear's death from yellow fever at the outset of the commission's work in Cuba would lead to his elevation as a martyr for medical science in the eyes of many during the twentieth century.

"I rather think I am on the track of the real germ," Jesse W. Lazear wrote his wife from Cuba on September 8, 1900.[1] Seventeen days later, the fulminating case of yellow fever Lazear had contracted just over a week after writing Mabel H. Lazear suddenly ended the young scientist's life. He was 34 years old. Unlike so many other yellow fever fatalities, however, this one would lead to a direct and highly successful assault on the disease itself. Yellow fever's ascendancy, endemic in Cuba, was about to be undermined.

Lazear had reported to Camp Columbia, Cuba in February 1900 for duty as an acting assistant surgeon with the U. S. Army Corps stationed on the island. Here he undertook bacteriological study of tropical diseases, particularly malaria and yellow fever, and in May he was named to the Army board charged with "pursuing scientific investigations with reference to the infectious diseases prevalent on the island of Cuba."[2]

These orders placed him officially in the company of Walter Reed, James Carroll, and Aristides Agramonte -- the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission -- though Lazear had already met Reed the preceding March on a project to evaluate the efficacy of electrozone, a disinfectant made from seawater collected off the Cuban coast. While Reed was in Cuba that March, Lazear discussed with him the recent discovery of British scientist Sir Ronald Ross concerning the mosquito vector for malaria. At Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was first a medical resident and later in charge of the clinical laboratory, Lazear had followed Ross's accomplishments with great interest, and pursued field work and experimentation on the Anopheles mosquito with fellow Hopkins scientist William S. Thayer. Lazear was thus the only member of the Commission who had experience with mosquito work, and was consequently the most open to the possible verity of Cuban scientist Carlos Juan Finlay's theory of mosquito transmission for yellow fever.

The record is apparently silent as to when Lazear first visited Finlay. Certainly by late June Lazear was beginning to grow mosquito larvae acquired from Finlay's laboratory, the first specimens brought to him by Henry Rose Carter, of the United States Public Health Service.[3] Not long after arriving in Cuba Lazear met Carter, whose own observations on yellow fever strongly suggested an intermediate host in the spread of the disease. However, Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg, who organized the Yellow Fever Commission, first charged the board members to investigate the relationship of Bacillus icteroides to yellow fever -- proposed by the Italian Scientist Giuseppe Sanarelli as the actual cause of the disease. "Dr. Reed had been in the old discussion over Sanarelli's bacillus and he still works on that subject," Lazear wrote his wife in July, "I am not all interested in it but want to do work which may lead to the discovery of the real organism."[4] Soon he would have the opportunity. The relatively quick failure of the Bacillus icteroides inquiry opened the door to what became the ground-breaking mosquito work, and Lazear was well placed to begin.

The project started in earnest on August 1, 1900. In a small pocket notebook Lazear noted the preparatory work of raising and infecting mosquitoes, and subsequently recorded the series of eleven experimental inoculations made from the 11th to the 31st of August, the last two producing cases of full-blown yellow fever. These two positive cases developed from mosquitoes allowed to ripen over a period of 12 days, and this was Lazear's crucial discovery. The epidemiological pattern was thus entirely consistent with Carter's observations of a delay between the primary and secondary outbreaks of yellow fever in an epidemic, and, in addition, explained why Finlay's experiments had been largely unsuccessful -- he had not waited long enough before inoculating his subjects.

Although Lazear never directly admitted to experimenting on himself, when Reed reviewed Lazear's sketchy notations he evidently found entries strongly suggesting Lazear's case was not accidental, as officially reported. Unfortunately, the little notebook so crucial to the preparation of the Commission's famous initial paper, The Etiology of Yellow Fever -- A Preliminary Note[5], vanished from Reed's Washington office after his own untimely death in 1902. Still, Lazear's invaluable contribution to the Commission's victory was widely recognized and elicited tributes from many quarters: "He was a splendid, brave fellow," Reed said of his young colleague, " and I lament his loss more than words can tell; but his death was not in vain- His name will live in the history of those who have benefited humanity." [6] "His death was a sacrifice to scientific research of the highest character," stated General Leonard Wood, military Governor of Cuba.[7] "Your husband was a martyr in the noblest of causes," Dr. L. O. Howard wrote to Mabel Lazear, "and I am proud to have known him. . . . His work contributed towards one of the greatest discoveries of the century, the results of which will be of invaluable benefit to mankind."[8] And so they were. Though Lazear's one-year-old son and newborn daughter never knew their father, they grew up in a world liberated -- almost in its entirety -- from the disease that killed him.

[1] Letter fragment from Jesse W. Lazear to Mabel Houston Lazear, 8 September 1900, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 00344001.

Sources:

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  • [2] Military Orders for Walter Reed, James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, and Jesse W. Lazear, 24 May 1900, Hench Reed Collection, accession number 02019001.
  • [3] "Conversation between Drs. Carter, Thayer, and Parker," 1924, Henry Rose Carter Papers, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, Box 1.
  • [4] Letter fragment from Jesse W. Lazear to Mabel Houston Lazear, 15 July 1900, Hench Reed Collection, accession number: 00334001.
  • [5] Walter Reed, James Carroll, Aristides Agramonte, Jesse W. Lazear, The Etiology of Yellow Fever -- A Preliminary Note, Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association Indianapolis, Indiana, 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26 October 1900.
  • [6] Letter from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence Reed, 6 October 1900, Hench Reed Collection, accession number: 02135001.
  • [7] Letter from Leonard Wood to the Adjutant-General, United States Army, November 1900, Hench Reed Collection, accession number: 00375002.
  • [8] Letter from Leland Ossian Howard to Mabel Houston Lazear, 7 February 1901, Hench Reed Collection, accession number: 00388001.
Biographical Information for Henry Rose Carter

Henry Rose Carter (August 25, 1852 - September 14, 1925) was a prominent physician in the U.S. Public Health Service who was a leading authority in the transmission and control of tropical diseases, particularly yellow fever and malaria. During his long career as a sanitarian, Carter undertook campaigns to investigate and control the spread of tropical diseases in Cuba, the Panama Canal Zone, the Southeastern United States, and Peru.

Like Walter Reed and Jefferson Randolph Kean, Henry Rose Carter was a native Virginian and a graduate of the University of Virginia. Carter obtained a civil engineering degree from Virginia in 1873 and also undertook post-graduate work in mathematics and applied chemistry the next year. Subsequently, however, Carter's interests turned towards medicine, and he completed a medical degree at the University of Maryland in 1879. The same year Assistant Surgeon Carter joined the Marine Hospital Service -- later the United States Public Health Service -- and the young surgeon rose steadily through the ranks, ultimately attaining the position of Assistant Surgeon General in 1915.

Carter's initial assignments with the Hospital Service placed him at the center of the yellow fever maelstrom. In 1879 he was detailed to Memphis and other Southern cities, then in the throes of a second year of devastating epidemics. Here began, as his colleague T. H. D. Griffitts observed, Carter's "lifelong interest in the epidemiology and control of yellow fever."[1] After several years of clinical practice in various Marine hospitals, Carter resumed a direct confrontation with yellow fever when his orders for duty with the Gulf Coast Maritime Quarantine assigned him to Ship Island, Mississippi, in 1888. Here and at subsequent quarantine station postings around the Gulf, he quietly championed a thorough review and rationalization of quarantine policies, with a view toward establishing uniform regulation, more thorough disinfection of vessels, and minimized interference with naval commerce. Crucial to the success of these activities was Carter's attention to the incubation period of yellow fever, which his on-site observations indicated to vary between 5 and 7 days. At the time the official literature stated with far less precision a variance of between 1 and 14 days; Carter's work consequently greatly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of quarantine operations.

Nevertheless, yellow fever continued to menace the temperate coastline of the United States, and Carter ably directed the Health Service's epidemiological control efforts in numerous threatened regions. In conjunction with this sanitary work for the 1898 season, Carter made detailed notes on the development of yellow fever at Orwood and Taylor, Mississippi. The isolation of these communities enabled him to identify more reliably the phenomenon of a delay between the initial cases of yellow fever in a locality and the subsequent appearance of secondary infection -- a delay two to four times longer than the incubation period of the disease in an infected person. Carter called this interval between the primary and secondary cases "the period of extrinsic incubation," and he defined its "usual limits . . . [as ranging] from ten to seventeen days."[2]

Before he was able to publish his conclusions, Carter took the helm of the quarantine service in war-time Cuba. There, in 1900, he met U. S. Army Yellow Fever Commission member Jesse Lazear. Carter had finally arranged for his paper's publication that year in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, and gave a draft to Lazear. "If these dates are correct," Carter later recalled Lazear saying, "it spells a living host."[3] The theory of mosquito transmission long advanced by Cuban scientist Carlos J. Finlay began to seem more likely. And indeed it was. The Commission's experiments in 1900-1901 irrefutably proved the mosquito vector and established the extrinsic incubation period at twelve days. Shortly after these successes Reed saluted Carter, "I know of no one more competent to pass judgment on all that pertains to the subject of yellow fever. You must not forget that your own work in Mississippi did more to impress me with the importance of an intermediate host than everything else put to-gether."[4]

Carter's long and distinguished sanitary career took him to the Panama Canal Zone in 1904, where he served as Chief Quarantine Officer and Chief of Hospitals for five years. He undertook detailed investigations and control measures of malaria in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, and became a founder of the National Malaria Committee. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board, he undertook additional investigation and control measures for yellow fever in Central and South America. His expertise recommended him to the Peruvian government, which named Carter Sanitary Advisor in 1920-1921. Health problems at the end of his life compelled Carter to withdraw from active fieldwork, though he remained a highly valued consultant to the Health Board and a much-beloved and respected teacher for a new generation of sanitarians. Carter closed his career researching and writing the manuscript that his daughter Laura Armistead Carter edited and published posthumously in 1931: Yellow Fever: An Epidemiological and Historical Study of its Place of Origin.[5]

Sources:

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  • [1] T. H. D. Griffitts, Henry Rose Carter: The Scientist and the Man, Southern Medical Journal 32 (August 1939) 8: 842.
  • [2] Henry Rose Carter, A Note on the Spread of Yellow Fever in Houses, Extrinsic Incubation, Medical Record 59 (15 June 1901) 24: 937.
  • [3] "Conversation between Drs. Carter, Thayer, and Parker," 1924, Henry Rose Carter Papers, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, Box 1.
  • [4] Letter from Walter Reed to Henry Rose Carter, 26 February 1901, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 02447001.
  • [5] Carter, Henry Rose. Yellow Fever: An Epidemiological and Historical Study of its Place of Origin. Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company, 1931.
Biographical Information for Jefferson Randolph Kean

Jefferson Randolph Kean (June 27, 1860 - September 4, 1950) was a U.S. Army physician who was a leading authority in sanitation, public health, and tropical diseases. Later in his career, Kean would become widely recognized for his role in organizing and administering medical services for the U.S. armed forces during World War I.

"He possessed one of the keenest, most scholarly minds I've ever encountered," recalled Nobel Prize winner Philip S. Hench of Jefferson Randolph Kean. [1] Kean and Hench shared an abiding interest in the work of the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission -- Kean, as a contemporary and supporter, and Hench, as a scholar and scientist intent on accurate historical documentation. On the advice of yellow fever experiment volunteer John J. Moran, Hench first wrote Kean in 1939. From that initial contact developed a close friendship which would last for the remainder of their lives. Kean entrusted Hench not only with numerous period documents, including original letters, accounts, fever charts, and other items, but also with the freely-given counsel and insight of a trusted friend.

Like Walter Reed and Henry Rose Carter before him, Jefferson Randolph Kean was an alumnus of the University of Virginia, completing the medical program there in 1883. Kean joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1884, and after forty years in the service, retired with the rank of Colonel. Congress awarded him a promotion to Brigadier General, retired, in 1930. The early years of Kean's career passed in medical postings in the American West, and no doubt offered him experiences similar to those of Walter Reed, whom he met not on the frontier, but in Florida in 1896. Kean became an expert in tropical diseases and sanitation during his five-year assignment in the Florida tropics, an expertise which served him well over two terms of service later in Cuba. During the Spanish-American War and subsequent U. S. occupation of Cuba, Kean was Chief Surgeon for the Department of Havana, then Superintendent of the Department of Charities -- from 1898 to 1902. After a four-year interlude as an assistant to the Surgeon General in Washington, D.C., Kean again returned to Cuba as an advisor to the Department of Sanitation from 1906-1909.

Kean himself stated: "Reed and I were good friends before the Yellow Fever Board came to Cuba in June 1900, and [Reed] located himself at Marianao, 8 miles S. W. of Havana," to be within the medical and administrative jurisdiction overseen by Kean. [2] The Chief Surgeon did indeed offer significant assistance, and was an early convert to Carlos Finlay's mosquito theory of transmission, which the Yellow Fever Board's experiments ultimately proved true in the late autumn and winter of 1900-1901. As early as October 13, 1900 -- after the Board's preliminary work, but before the final convincing demonstrations -- Kean issued "Circular No. 8," concerning the latest scholarship on the mosquito vector for disease. [3] The circular contained a set of instructions for the entire command on mosquito eradication. Kean subsequently served as quartermaster and financial administrator for the famous series of yellow fever experiments at Camp Lazear and, for the rest of his life, Kean remained a strong proponent of the Commission's conclusions. He worked tirelessly not only to apply them in the field, but also to accord proper public recognition to the Commission's work.

In addition to his career as a sanitarian, Kean organized the department of military relief of the American Red Cross, and during World War One served as Chief of the U. S. Ambulance Service with the French Army and Deputy Chief Surgeon of the American forces. France named him an Officier de la Légion d'Honneur in recognition for these services. Cuban authorities as well offered Kean recognition with the grand cross of the Order of Merit Carlos J. Finlay, and he received both a Distinguished Service Medal from the United States government and the Gorgas Medal from the Association of Military Surgeons. For a decade after his retirement from active duty, Kean edited this last organization's medical journal, The Military Surgeon, and served on the Surgeon General's editorial board for the multi-volume history of the medical department in World War One. A great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson, Kean also took a seat with the government commission established to build the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. He held charter membership in the Walter Reed Memorial Association, and remained active in its affairs until his death in 1950.

Sources:

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  • [1] Telegram from Philip Showalter Hench and Mary Hench to Cornelia Knox Kean, September 5, 1950, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 06501173.
  • [2] Letter from Jefferson Randolph Kean to Philip Showalter Hench, October 31, 1939, Hench Reed Yellow Fever Collection, accession number: 06282022.
  • [3] Military Orders to Commanding Officers, October 15, 1900, Hench Reed Yellow Fever Collection, accession number: 02140001.
Biographical Information for Philip Showalter Hench

Philip Showalter Hench (February 28, 1896 - March 30, 1965) was a U.S. physician who in 1950 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine for his role in the discovery of the hormone cortisone. In addition to his medical research, Hench spent almost three decades of his life studying the history of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission and became a leading authority in the subject.

Philip Showalter Hench was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Jacob Bixler Hench and Clara Showalter. After attending local schools, Hench entered Lafayette College and graduated from the school 1916 with a Bachelor of Arts. Hench completed his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 1920, and subsequently entered a residency program at St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh. His association with the Mayo Clinic began in 1921 as a fellow at the institution. Two years later he would become an assistant at the clinic, and then, in 1926, he would be made the head of its Department of Rheumatic Diseases After pursuing post-graduate study in Germany in 1928-1929, Hench obtained a Masters of Science in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota in 1931, and a Doctor of Science degree from Lafayette College in 1940. Hench remained for the duration of his career at the Mayo Clinic, where his life-long passion for meticulous research and analysis brought him the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1950, which he shared with Edward C. Kendall and Tadeus Reichstein, for the discovery of cortisone.

The same persistence and determination present in his professional life is also evident in Hench's research on the U. S. Army Yellow Fever Commission's famous experiments. "As a physician particularly interested in medical history," he stated to experiment volunteer John J. Moran in 1937, "I have been long interested in the story of the yellow fever work in John J. Moran, Ralph C. Hutchison, Havana." [1] So began a remarkable odyssey. At the request of his friend Ralph Cooper Hutchison, then president of Washington and Jefferson College, Hench had written Moran to gather information for the dedication of the College's new chemistry building, named for Commission member and former Washington and Jefferson student Jesse W. Lazear. Hench also began a correspondence with another of the yellow fever experiment's original volunteers, John R. Kissinger. Moran's and Kissinger's recollections proved so intriguing that Hench initially offered to edit and publish them. However, in the course of his research Hench discovered that much general information on the topic was inaccurate. Conflicting assertions concerning the participants and unverified claims by medical and governmental authorities in the United States and Cuba -- often politically motivated -- clouded interpretation of the facts. "May I suggest," Moran consequently urged in 1938, "that a clearing up of the REED-FINLAY-CONQUEST-OF-YELLOW-FEVER, or an effort to do so, on your part, is a task far more pressing than publishing the Kissinger-Moran stories or memoirs." [2] Hench resolved to document every aspect of the "Conquest of Yellow-Fever" and to write a much needed accurate and comprehensive history.

For the next two decades, Hench tirelessly combed through public archive collections and personal papers in the United States and Cuba. He met and interviewed surviving participants of the experiments and others associated with the project, as well as family members of the Yellow Fever Commission. He sought out physicians and scientists who had worked with the principal players or who had applied the results in the campaign to eradicate yellow fever. He identified and photographed sites associated with the yellow fever story, and he successfully petitioned politicians in the United States and Cuba to commemorate the work. In the process, Hench became the trusted friend and advisor of many of these same individuals, and they, in turn, presented him with much of the surviving original material for safekeeping.

In short, Hench came to be the world's expert on the yellow fever story and the steward of thousands of original letters and documents. His premature death at age 69 found him still hoping to uncover important missing evidence, his book unwritten. Hench's widow Mary Kahler Hench gave his yellow fever collection to the University of Virginia, Walter Reed's alma mater, and this extensive personal archive forms the most detailed and accurate record available on the Conquest of Yellow Fever.

Sources:

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  • [1] Letter from Philip S. Hench to John J. Moran, 6 July 1937, Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, accession number: 03419001.
  • [2] Letter from John J. Moran to Philip S. Hench, 30 October 1938, Hench Reed Yellow Fever Collection, accession number: 03476001.
Scope and Content Information

The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection documents the work of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, the legacy of the commission’s discoveries, the lives of individuals who were connected to the commission, and twentieth century campaigns to shape public memory of the commission. Items in the collection date from 1800 to 1998, with the bulk of the items dating from 1864 to 1974. A wide range of formats are represented in the collection including, but not limited to the following: articles, artifacts, audio cassettes, bills (legislative records), biographies, charts (graphic documents), correspondence, diaries, editorials, interviews, journals (periodicals), magazines, maps, medical records, military records, negatives (photographic), notes, photographs, reports, reprints, scrapbooks, and speeches. Unique materials in the collection are supplemented with copies of original documents and photographs housed in other institutions (e.g. the U.S. National Archives). All of these materials are arranged in 16 series: I. Jesse W. Lazear, II. Henry Rose Carter, III. Walter Reed, IV. Philip Showalter Hench, V. Maps, VI. Alphabetical files, VII. Truby-Kean-Hench, VIII. Miscellany, IX. Photographs, X. Photographic negatives, XI. Reprints, XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center additions, XIII. Reed family additions, XIV. P. Kahler Hench additions, XV. Laura Wood, and XVI. Edward Hook additions.

Series I. Jesse W. Lazear consists of materials relating to Lazear that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1800 to 1956 with the bulk of the items dating from 1863 to 1943. Much of the series consists of the correspondence of Jesse W. Lazear and his wife Mabel H. Lazear. Jesse's correspondence dates from his time as a student at Johns Hopkins University to his death in 1900. Researchers can learn a great deal about Jesse from these letters, including his relationships with friends and family, his educational background, and his professional life. Mabel's correspondence dates from the time she met Jesse to her death in 1946. This correspondence primarily concern her husband's historical legacy and a campaign to secure a pension from the U.S. government for herself and her family.

In addition to Jesse and Mabel's correspondence, the series contains other materials relating to them and their families including, but not limited to the following:

    simple
  • the diaries documenting the travels of Jesse and Mabel's mothers in Europe;
  • correspondence of other Lazear family members (e.g. Jesse's parents);
  • genealogical summaries and tables relating to the Lazear family;
  • legal documents (e.g. wills, certificates, deeds);
  • military records relating to Jesse;
  • certificates, reports, and other materials documenting Jesse's educational background and achievements;
  • obituaries;
  • copies of congressional bills and reports concerning the provision of a federal pension for Mabel H. Lazear;
  • newspaper articles;
  • a microscope and sets of microscope slides owned by Jesse;
  • and a medical chart that shows the progression of the yellow fever infection that killed Jesse.

Series II. Henry Rose Carter consists of materials relating to Henry Rose Carter that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1880 to 1932 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1883 to 1932. The series is particularly rich in materials that document Henry Rose Carter's professional activities in the last eleven years of his life (1914-1925). These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • correspondence with colleagues in the medical and scientific community including Rupert E. Blue, Hideyo Noguchi, Henry Hanson, Joseph A. LePrince, Frederick F. Russell, T.H.D. Griffitts, and Lunsford D. Fricks;
  • scientific, medical, and government reports relating to the study and eradication of yellow fever and malaria in North America, South America, and Africa;
  • journal articles concerning the study and eradication of yellow fever and malaria;
  • research notes written by Henry Rose Carter;
  • and photographs of Henry Rose Carter at work and with professional colleagues.

Series II. also contains correspondence between Henry Rose Carter and members of his family that date from 1880 to 1925. The family members with whom Henry corresponds most frequently in this series are his mother, Emma Coleman Carter; his wife, Laura Eugenia Hook Carter; his daughter, Laura Armistead Carter; and his son, Henry Rose Carter, Jr. These letters are not only a rich source of information about Carter's personal views and family life, they also provide valuable insights into his professional activities such as his experiences aboard vessels and in ports while working for the U.S. Marine Hospital Service and his public health work in Cuba, Panama, and Peru.

In addition to the materials that were produced during Henry Rose Carter's lifetime, the Series II. contains materials that were produced between 1925 and 1940 (after Henry Rose Carter's death) including, but not limited to the following:

    simple
  • copies of obituaries for Henry Rose Carter;
  • condolence letters for Henry Rose Carter's family after Henry's death;
  • and the correspondence of Laura Armistead Carter relating to her father and other members of the Carter family.

Series III. Walter Reed consists of materials that document the life of Walter Reed as well as the work and legacy of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission. Items in the series date from 1806 to around 1955 with the bulk of the items dating from 1874 to 1936. The series is particularly rich in materials that document the professional and personal life of Walter Reed from 1874 to his death in 1902. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • correspondence between Walter Reed and members of his immediate family that cover a wide range of topics including Reed's courtship of Emilie Lawrence Reed, family life, Walter Reed's work in the Western United States, and Walter Reed's work in Cuba;
  • military records relating to Walter Reed including military orders for Reed, Reed's performance reviews, and reports of Reed's work for army officials;
  • Walter Reed's correspondence with professional colleagues including members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission, military doctors, and medical researchers interested in the study of yellow fever;
  • medical records (e.g. fever charts of experiment participants), military orders, administrative records, reports, and publications documenting the results of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission's experiments in Cuba;
  • articles announcing the death of Walter Reed;
  • and the shoulder boards from Walter Reed's U.S. Army uniform.

In addition to the above items, Series III. contains materials that document campaigns, spanning from 1902 to 1937, to publicly honor members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission and those who participated in the commission's experiments. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • articles and editorials relating to efforts to memorialize and provide pensions for members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission and those who participated in the commission's experiments;
  • biographical sketches of members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission and experiment participants;
  • records relating to the Walter Reed Memorial Association (e.g. correspondence, donor lists);
  • copies of Congressional bills and resolutions to honor members of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission and experiment participants;
  • and letters, reviews, and other materials relating to the production of Sidney Coe Howard's play, Yellow Jack.

Finally, Series III. also consists of materials that document the history of yellow fever during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • items (e.g. correspondence, reports, reviews, and articles) relating to U.S. efforts to eradicate yellow fever in the Panama Canal Zone;
  • materials (e.g. correspondence, reports, and articles) documenting early twentieth century efforts to eradicate yellow fever in Peru;
  • scientific reports and publications related to the study and eradication of yellow fever and malaria;
  • and newspaper articles describing various outbreaks of yellow fever epidemics.

Series IV. Philip Showalter Hench primarily consists of materials that Hench created or collected while researching the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission. Items in this series date from around 1850 to around 1865 with the bulk of the items dating from 1937 to 1960. Researchers who are studying the yellow fever experiments will be particularly interested in the materials (e.g. interviews, autobiographies) that document first-hand accounts of the events surrounding the experiments. Other researchers may be interested in items that document Hench's role in shaping public memory of the commission and its experiments. The materials in this series include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • Hench's correspondence and interviews with participants in the yellow fever experiments and their families including: Emilie Lawrence Reed, Emilie M. (Blossom) Reed, Walter Lawrence Reed, John J. Moran, Albert E. Truby, Jefferson Randolph Kean, John H. Andrus, and John R. Kissinger;
  • autobiographical accounts of the experiment's participants and their families;
  • notes, reports, correspondence and other materials relating to Hench's search for the original site of Camp Lazear in Cuba;
  • correspondence with Cuban government officials and members of the scientific community relating to Hench's campaign to build a Camp Lazear memorial;
  • correspondence and other materials relating to ceremonies honoring Jesse W. Lazear at Washington and Jefferson College;
  • newspaper articles, magazine articles, and other printed matter concerning the yellow fever experiments and its participants;
  • drafts of speeches and presentations Hench gave on the history of the yellow fever experiments to various audiences;
  • meeting minutes and other materials that document Hench's relationship with and participation in the Walter Reed Memorial Association;
  • scripts for radio programs relating to the yellow fever experiments;
  • notes, outlines, lists, correspondence, and other materials that document Hench's research about the yellow fever experiments and a book he had planned to write on the subject;
  • and the gold medal that Congress posthumously awarded to Walter Reed for his work with yellow fever.

Series V. Maps primarily consists of maps and floor plans that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1846 to around 1960 with the bulk of the items dating from 1899 to 1951. The maps and floor plans often include annotations and illustrate a wide range of locations including, but not limited to the following:

    simple
  • Havana and its environs;
  • Cuba;
  • sites associated with the yellow fever experiments;
  • and military installations in the United States.

In addition to the maps and floor plans, Series V. also consists of a few newspaper and magazine clippings that contain information relating to the yellow fever experiments.

Series VI. Alphabetical files primarily consists of materials that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1860 to around 1966 with the bulk of the items dating from 1940 to 1956. All of these items have been arranged thematically into biographical files. Each file contains materials created by or relating to people who were either involved with the yellow fever experiments or aided Philip Showalter Hench in his research of the subject. These people include, but are not limited to: John J. Moran, Carlos E. Finlay, Laura Wood Roper, Mabel Lazear, Clara Maas, John R. Kissinger, Roger Post Ames, James C. Carroll, and Carlos J. Finlay. The files are arranged alphabetically by the last names of the individuals listed on the files and it is unclear whether the overall arrangement was made by Hench or by staff members at the University of Virginia. The biographical files contain a wide range of different materials that pertain to the individuals listed on the files. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • correspondence between Philip Showalter Hench and the individuals;
  • other correspondence;
  • newspaper and magazine clippings;
  • unpublished manuscripts;
  • biographical and autobiographical accounts;
  • transcripts of oral history interviews that were conducted by Philip Showalter Hench;
  • and copies of medical charts for volunteers in the yellow fever experiments that shows the progression of the disease.

In addition to the materials that Hench created or collected during his lifetime, the biographical files in Series VI. also contain items that were added by staff at the University of Virginia Library during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Series VII. Truby-Kean-Hench primarily consists of materials relating to Albert E. Truby and Jefferson Randolph Kean that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1879 to around 1960 with the bulk of the items dating from 1900 to 1954. These items include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • correspondence of Jefferson Randolph Kean dating from 1900 to 1950 that relates to his personal life, the yellow fever experiments, public health initiatives, his publications, the legacy of the yellow fever experiments, Kean's work in World War I, and other topics;
  • Philip Showalter Hench's correspondence with people related to the yellow fever experiments, particularly Albert E. Truby and Jefferson Randolph Kean primarily from between 1940 and 1955;
  • a scrapbook and other materials that relate to Truby's book, Memoir of Walter Reed: the Yellow Fever Episode;
  • and Philip Showalter Hench's interviews and questionnaires for Kean and Truby from the 1940s.

In addition to the materials relating to Kean and Truby, Series VII. also includes the following:

    simple
  • notes from Philip Showalter Hench's research of the yellow fever experiments;
  • the recollections, autobiographies, and reports of other people involved with the yellow fever experiments including John Andrus and A.S. Pinto;
  • articles and clippings related to the yellow fever experiments;
  • a short biography of Lemuel S. Reed;
  • and a sketch Philip Showalter Hench made of a proposed museum at the Camp Lazear site.

Series VIII. Miscellany consists of oversize and miscellaneous materials in the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed yellow fever collection that were, for various reasons, not included in any of the other series in the collection. Items in this series date from around 1849 to 1982 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1885 to 1974. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • informed consent agreements for volunteers in the yellow fever experiments;
  • diplomas and certificates for Walter Reed and Jesse W. Lazear;
  • copies and sketches of Dean Cornwell's painting, Conquerors of Yellow Fever;
  • artifacts, including a wooden board from Camp Lazear and a U.S. flag;
  • copies of correspondence, reports, medical records, and military orders from the U.S. National Archives relating to the yellow fever experiments;
  • manuscripts and related notes for published works and research relating to Walter Reed and the yellow fever experiments;
  • correspondence of Philip Showalter Hench from circa 1940 to 1966;
  • articles and clippings relating to the yellow fever experiments, the experiments' participants, and the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed yellow fever collection;
  • correspondence of Atcheson Laughlin Hench and members of the University of Virginia community relating to the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed yellow fever collection;
  • items that document the provenance and custodial history of some materials in the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed yellow fever collection;
  • photographs relating to Cuba and the yellow fever experiments;
  • notes for photographs and photographic negatives housed in Series IX. and Series X. of this collection.

Series IX. Photographs consists primarily of photographs that Philip Showalter Hench created and collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1846 to around 1966 with the bulk of the items dating from around 1870 to around 1960. The subjects shown in the photographs include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • physicians, military personnel, nurses, and volunteers associated with the experiments including Walter Reed, Jesse W. Lazear, Jefferson Randolph Kean, and Aristides Agramonte;
  • family members of people associated with the yellow fever experiments including their spouses, children, and grandchildren.
  • Camp Lazear, Camp Columbia, and other locations in Cuba related to the yellow fever experiments between 1900 and 1960;
  • the U.S.S. Maine and the Spanish-American War;
  • aerial views of Havana, Cuba and its environs from the 1940s and 1950s;
  • scenes of daily life in Cuba generally from between 1898 and 1960;
  • the 1952 dedication of the Camp Lazear National Monument in Cuba;
  • the creation and unveiling of Dean Cornwell's painting, Conquerors of Yellow Fever;
  • still scenes from the movies, Yellow Jack and Jezebel;
  • other events and works of art commemorating the work of the participants in the yellow fever experiments;
  • documents and maps that Philip Showalter Hench copied for his research;
  • and Philip Showalter Hench and his family.

Series IX. also includes a watercolor that was painted by Emilie Lawrence Reed.

Series X. Photographic negatives consists of a mix of original and copy negatives that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Although the original images recorded on the negatives date from between the 1860s and the 1960s, it appears that the negatives themselves were produced during a narrower time frame, most likely between 1930 and 1966.

The negatives in Series X. record images associated with the yellow fever experiments and many of them are related to photographic prints found in Series VIII. Where a match between a negative and a print from these series has been made, the negative number has been written on the folder of the print in the physical collection. Finally, the negatives are generally arranged in numerical order by identification numbers that were most likely assigned by Philip Showalter Hench.

Series XI. Reprints consists of reprints and photocopies of journal articles, book extracts, book reviews and other published works that were primarily collected by Philip Showalter Hench while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from 1856 to 1971 and cover a wide range of topics related to the study and eradication of yellow fever, including, but not limited to the following:

    simple
  • the results of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission's work in Cuba;
  • biographical accounts of various people who had an association with the yellow fever experiments;
  • the research of people associated with the experiments including Walter Reed, Jesse W. Lazear, Aristides Agramonte, and James Carroll;
  • scientific and medical research related to yellow fever and malaria;
  • and events honoring the work of those involved with the yellow fever experiments.

Series XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center additions consists of materials that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1901 to around 1966. These materials were originally a part of the Philip S. Hench papers in the John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center at the Texas Medical Center Library, but they were transferred to the University of Virginia in 1991. These items include, but are not limited to the following:

    simple
  • correspondence between Philip Showalter Hench and people connected with the yellow fever experiments including John J. Moran and Walter Reed's children;
  • newspaper clippings relating to the death or commemoration of individuals associated with the yellow fever experiments;
  • photographs of the Camp Lazear Memorial, everyday scenes in Cuba, and John J. Moran;
  • and journal articles, booklets, and other printed matter relating to the yellow fever experiments and its participants.

Series XIII. Reed family additions consists of materials relating to the yellow fever experiments that several different donors gave to the University of Virginia. Items in the series date from around 1850 to 1967 with the bulk of the items dating from 1868 to 1949. The largest portion of the series is comprised of correspondence written by Walter Reed and his family between 1877 and 1902 that provide insights into their relationships and personal lives.

In addition to the Reed family's correspondence, the series also contains other materials relating to the Reed family and the yellow fever experiments including, but not limited to the following:

    simple
  • a flag that was flown over Camp Lazear;
  • newspaper clippings and articles relating to the yellow fever experiments;
  • a chemistry notebook that was owned by Walter Reed;
  • correspondence of and works by Philip Showalter Hench;
  • an inventory of materials in Series XIII. and information about their accession into the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library;
  • and materials from an exhibit on the yellow fever experiments that was hosted in Alderman Library at the University of Virginia.

Series XIV. P. Kahler Hench additions consists of original and photocopied materials that Philip Showalter Hench's son, P. Kahler Hench, donated to the University of Virginia in 1988 and 1989. Items in the series date from around 1860 to 1965 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1898 to 1965. Most of these items were collected or created by Philip Showalter Hench while researching the yellow fever experiments. These items include the following:

    simple
  • the correspondence of experiment participants;
  • correspondence between Philip Showalter Hench and the experiment participants;
  • correspondence between Philip Showalter Hench and families of the experiment participants;
  • press clippings relating to the experiments and the experiment participants;
  • oral history interviews conducted by Philip Showalter Hench;
  • scientific articles related to the study of yellow fever;
  • photographs of Havana, Camp Columbia, and Camp Lazear;
  • genealogical tables and summaries for the family of Jesse W. Lazear;
  • autobiographical accounts written by experiment participants;
  • unpublished manuscripts;
  • artifacts (e.g. a wooden board) from Camp Lazear;
  • Philip Showalter Hench's research notes.

Series XIV. also contains correspondence and financial records that record the transfer of collection items from the Reed family to Philip Showalter Hench and later from the Hench family to the University of Virginia.

Series XV. Laura Wood primarily consists of Laura Wood's correspondence relating to her research for a Walter Reed biography that she wrote. The series also includes, but is not limited to the following materials:

    simple
  • photocopies of two letters written by Walter Reed;
  • a journal article by George Sternberg;
  • and a short work that Laura Wood wrote about Walter Reed entitled, Walter Reed and yellow Fever.

Items in Series XV. date from 1875 to 1946 with the bulk of the items dating from 1941 to 1946.

Series XVI. Edward Hook additions consists of copies of letters, articles, and photographs relating to the yellow fever experiments that had been collected by Edward W. Hook, Jr, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia. The bulk of this series is comprised of copies of a small collection of James Carroll's correspondence. The original versions of Carroll's correspondence are not housed at the University of Virginia. In addition to the Carroll letters, this series also includes, but is not limited to the following:

    simple
  • photographs of Walter Reed and others related to the yellow fever experiments;
  • copies of some of Theodore E. Woodward's works relating to James Carroll and yellow fever;
  • and exhibition materials.

Items in Series XVI. date from around 1880 to around 1998 with the bulk of the items dating from 1898 to 1901.

Organization of the Collection

The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection is organized in 16 series:

    simple
  • I. Jesse W. Lazear
  • II. Henry Rose Carter
  • III. Walter Reed
  • IV. Philip Showalter Hench
  • V. Maps
  • VI. Alphabetical files
  • VII. Truby-Kean-Hench
  • VIII. Miscellany
  • IX. Photographs
  • X. Photographic negatives
  • XI. Reprints
  • XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center additions
  • XIII. Reed family additions
  • XIV. P. Kahler Hench additions
  • XV. Laura Wood
  • XVI. Edward Hook additions
combined
Container List

Series I. Jesse W. Lazear circa 1800-1956 bulk 1863-1943

Series I. Jesse W. Lazear consists of materials relating to Lazear that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1800 to 1956 with the bulk of the items dating from 1863 to 1943. Much of the series consists of the correspondence of Jesse W. Lazear and his wife Mabel H. Lazear. Jesse's correspondence dates from his time as a student at Johns Hopkins University to his death in 1900. Researchers can learn a great deal about Jesse from these letters, including his relationships with friends and family, his educational background, and his professional life. Mabel's correspondence dates from the time she met Jesse to her death in 1946. This correspondence primarily concern her husband's historical legacy and a campaign to secure a pension from the U.S. government for herself and her family.

Series II. Henry Rose Carter circa 1880-1932 bulk 1883-1932

Series II. Henry Rose Carter consists of materials relating to Henry Rose Carter that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1880 to 1932 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1883 to 1932. The series is particularly rich in materials that document Henry Rose Carter's professional activities in the last eleven years of his life (1914-1925). These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

Series III. Walter Reed 1806-circa 1955 bulk 1874-1936

Series III. Walter Reed consists of materials that document the life of Walter Reed as well as the work and legacy of the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission. Items in the series date from 1806 to around 1955 with the bulk of the items dating from 1874 to 1936. The series is particularly rich in materials that document the professional and personal life of Walter Reed from 1874 to his death in 1902. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

Series IV. Philip Showalter Hench circa 1850-circa 1966 bulk 1937-1960

Series IV. Philip Showalter Hench primarily consists of materials that Hench created or collected while researching the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission. Items in this series date from around 1850 to around 1865 with the bulk of the items dating from 1937 to 1960. Researchers who are studying the yellow fever experiments will be particularly interested in the materials (e.g. interviews, autobiographies) that document first-hand accounts of the events surrounding the experiments. Other researchers may be interested in items that document Hench's role in shaping public memory of the commission and its experiments. The materials in this series include, but are not limited to the following:

Series V. Maps circa 1846-circa 1960 bulk 1899-1951

Series V. Maps primarily consists of maps and floor plans that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1846 to around 1960 with the bulk of the items dating from 1899 to 1951. The maps and floor plans often include annotations and illustrate a wide range of locations including, but not limited to the following:

Series VI. Alphabetical files circa 1860-circa 1966 bulk 1940-1956

Series VI. Alphabetical files primarily consists of materials that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1860 to around 1966 with the bulk of the items dating from 1940 to 1956. All of these items have been arranged thematically into biographical files. Each file contains materials created by or relating to people who were either involved with the yellow fever experiments or aided Philip Showalter Hench in his research of the subject. These people include, but are not limited to: John J. Moran, Carlos E. Finlay, Laura Wood Roper, Mabel Lazear, Clara Maas, John R. Kissinger, Roger Post Ames, James C. Carroll, and Carlos J. Finlay. The files are arranged alphabetically by the last names of the individuals listed on the files and it is unclear whether the overall arrangement was made by Hench or by staff members at the University of Virginia. The biographical files contain a wide range of different materials that pertain to the individuals listed on the files. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

Series VII. Truby-Kean-Hench circa 1879-circa 1960 bulk 1900-1954

Series VII. Truby-Kean-Hench primarily consists of materials relating to Albert E. Truby and Jefferson Randolph Kean that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1879 to around 1960 with the bulk of the items dating from 1900 to 1954. These items include, but are not limited to the following:

Series VIII. Miscellany circa 1849-1982 bulk 1885-1974

Series VIII. Miscellany consists of oversize and miscellaneous materials in the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed yellow fever collection that were, for various reasons, not included in any of the other series in the collection. Items in this series date from around 1849 to 1982 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1885 to 1974. These materials include, but are not limited to the following:

Series IX. Photographs circa 1846-circa 1966 circa 1870-circa 1960

Series IX. Photographs consists primarily of photographs that Philip Showalter Hench created and collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1846 to around 1966 with the bulk of the items dating from around 1870 to around 1960. The subjects shown in the photographs include, but are not limited to the following:

Series X. Photographic negatives circa 1930-1966

Series X. Photographic negatives consists of a mix of original and copy negatives that Philip Showalter Hench collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Although the original images recorded on the negatives date from between the 1860s and the 1960s, it appears that the negatives themselves were produced during a narrower time frame, most likely between 1930 and 1966.

Series XI. Reprints 1856-1971

Series XI. Reprints consists of reprints and photocopies of journal articles, book extracts, book reviews and other published works that were primarily collected by Philip Showalter Hench while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from 1856 to 1971 and cover a wide range of topics related to the study and eradication of yellow fever, including, but not limited to the following:

Series XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center additions circa 1901-circa 1966

Series XII. Houston Academy of Medicine/Texas Medical Center additions consists of materials that Philip Showalter Hench created or collected while researching the yellow fever experiments. Items in this series date from around 1901 to around 1966. These materials were originally a part of the Philip S. Hench papers in the John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center at the Texas Medical Center Library, but they were transferred to the University of Virginia in 1991. These items include, but are not limited to the following:

Series XIII. Reed family additions circa 1850-1967 bulk 1868-1949

Series XIII. Reed family additions consists of materials relating to the yellow fever experiments that several different donors gave to the University of Virginia. Items in the series date from around 1850 to 1967 with the bulk of the items dating from 1868 to 1949. The largest portion of the series is comprised of correspondence written by Walter Reed and his family between 1877 and 1902 that provide insights into their relationships and personal lives.

Series XIV. P. Kahler Hench additions circa 1860-1965 bulk 1898-1965

Series XIV. P. Kahler Hench additions consists of original and photocopied materials that Philip Showalter Hench's son, P. Kahler Hench, donated to the University of Virginia in 1988 and 1989. Items in the series date from around 1860 to 1965 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1898 to 1965. Most of these items were collected or created by Philip Showalter Hench while researching the yellow fever experiments. These items include the following:

Series XV. Laura Wood 1875-1946 bulk 1941-1946

Series XV. Laura Wood primarily consists of Laura Wood's correspondence relating to her research for a Walter Reed biography that she wrote. The series also includes, but is not limited to the following materials:

Series XVI. Edward Hook additions circa 1880-circa 1998 bulk 1898-1901

Series XVI. Edward Hook additions consists of copies of letters, articles, and photographs relating to the yellow fever experiments that had been collected by Edward W. Hook, Jr, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia. The bulk of this series is comprised of copies of a small collection of James Carroll's correspondence. The original versions of Carroll's correspondence are not housed at the University of Virginia. In addition to the Carroll letters, this series also includes, but is not limited to the following:

(current collection)