October 6, 2002 |
During the last decade of the 18th century, there were a number of yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia. Outbreaks of this dread disease occurred in 1793, 1797 and 1798, killing nearly 10,000 people, according to S.P. Wetherill's Philadelphia History (1916). City officials linked the epidemics to ships from foreign countries docking in the port of Philadelphia. The only way to deal with contagious diseases was to isolate victims. In 1799 the city government bought 10 acres in Essington on the Delaware to establish a quarantine station.
November 1, 2001 |
For a lesson on how to draw civic good from the ongoing anthrax threat, we turn now to the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. There is a connection here. Trust me. This lesson comes to us courtesy of Sally F. Griffith, a historian at Franklin & Marshall College, who has written about the epidemic through the pen of one Mathew Carey. Carey, a Philadelphia printer and bookseller, published A Short Account of the Malignant Fever, Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia, which became what could only be described as a bestseller, going to four editions.
January 17, 2001 |
It's a big task for a group short on time, but the Friends of the Lazaretto are still scrambling to pull together the $3.5 million to buy the 10-acre site that some have dubbed Philadelphia's Ellis Island. Grant money has yet to be secured, but the group has reason to be hopeful of saving the 18th-century Lazaretto, now that a buyer with preservation plans has matched the asking price and is talking with the site's owners. The owners, Island Marine Partners, have four development plans for the site on the Delaware River waterfront, but the township's zoning board has denied three of them, prompting an appeal to Delaware County Court.
March 26, 2000 |
Author Tom Clancy has given his ex-wife half of his interest in the Baltimore Orioles as part of their divorce agreement. Clancy, who penned such military thrillers as The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games, and ex-wife Wanda each now own about 12 percent of the team. Clancy was part of an investment group that paid $173 million for the Orioles in 1993. He and his ex-wife are the second-biggest shareholders in the team, behind lawyer Peter Angelos. Wanda Clancy's attorney, Sheila K. Sachs, said her client was always the baseball fan in the Clancy household.
May 14, 1999 |
Thousands of schoolkids and camera-happy tourists flock each year to Carpenters' Hall, the Georgian treasure in Independence National Historical Park, and many of them have the same question: Is this what it looked like when the First Continental Congress made history there in 1774? From the outside, yes. But on the inside, Patrick Henry and the other colonial-era VIPs wouldn't recognize the place. "This building started as a plain meeting hall that was just about finished when the Continental Congress walked in the front door," curator Ruth M. O'Brien says.
July 16, 1998 |
It took less than 100 days. Ten percent of Philadelphia's population died in the yellow fever epidemic that devastated this city in 1793. Memories of that disaster spurred Congress to create the Public Health Service 200 years ago: July 16, 1798. The small corps of physicians - the first group of federal employees who had to meet testing requirements to be hired - was charged with caring for merchant marines. We've relegated yellow fever to the history books, but the Public Health Service continues to be a not-so-silent partner in our challenge to the hazards that put our lives at risk every day. Across the street from Independence Hall, not far from the final resting place of many victims of that long-ago epidemic, the PHS wages its battle from the regional office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
June 29, 1998 |
Anita Batman says she takes patients with her when she attends meetings as the mid-Atlantic region's top public health official. Not literally, of course. But memories of them. There's the 12-year-old prostitute whose first three babies were delivered by Batman, who worked for years as a Mississippi country doctor. There's the mentally retarded girl who was molested by her father. There's the mother and daughter whose legs were severely injured by the woman's husband. She has happier memories, too, such as the premature baby who thrived and came to think of the "M.D.
June 14, 1994 |
DOLLEY Rita Mae Brown (Bantam / $22.95) Philadelphia, the City of Firsts, has yet to send a native son to the White House. But one of its adopted daughters, Dolley Madison, has more than compensated for that deficit. The first lady from Philadelphia, by way of Virginia, is brought to life in a vivid novel by Rita Mae Brown. The book is the product of Brown's lifelong fascination with the early American heroine. "I think my affinity for Dolley started because of her incredible courage," Brown said in a recent interview.
November 2, 1993 |
That chill wind that howled through window and tree all day yesterday was more than just a harbinger of winter. It was an echo of another cold snap 200 years ago - a frost that ended three months of disease and death in the City of Brotherly Love. The yellow fever epidemic of 1793 laid waste to the young republic's capital and largest city. It killed 5,000 of the Philadelphia area's 50,000 residents and sickened thousands more. About half the rest fled, including George Washington, Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Mifflin, and others who could afford to leave.
November 1, 1993 |
Philadelphia has endured a lot of trauma: British occupation, anti- Catholic bloodshed, Spanish flu, Red scares, race riots, Mafia wars, MOVE wars, AIDS. But nothing approaches the devastation, drama and threat to the city's existence as the great yellow-fever epidemic of 1793. During late summer and fall of that year, commerce and government practically ceased. Half the population fled while 5,000 died. Just burying the victims was a challenge in a city paralyzed by fear.