Special Issue: Medicine and Disease in History

Nursing students training in the classroom, United States, 1930s. 

The 1940 Provisions of the Sanitary Code of the City of New York and Regulations Relative to Reportable Diseases and Conditions and Control of Communicable Diseases, written by the City of New York’s Department of Health, notified medical personal that “certain diseases and conditions must be reported immediately and others within twenty-four hours.” Some had to be reported in writing and some immediately “by telephone or messenger in addition to the written report.” This spring, students in History 236: Medicine and Disease in Modern Society were each assigned a disease from that list and charged to write a paper that described the biological and social experience of having that disease in the United States in the 1930s. It was not an easy assignment. Students had to really search for the primary sources that could provide them with the kind of information that they needed to be able to make a persuasive argument, but many of them wrote excellent papers and we are delighted to share some of them in this special issue.