This article offers a reexamination of the impact of bubonic plague epidemics, using sixteenth-century Seville as a case study. It argues that municipal health officials did not simply shut down the city in times of plague, but successfully negotiated a balance between medical concerns and economic interests. While officials enacted a traditional regimen of public health measures, such as travel bans and quarantines, they also maintained open lines of communication with residents and continually allowed individual exemptions from plague restrictions. Such exemptions empowered residents, allowed trade to continue, and dissipated popular resistance. Redefining public health to more broadly include the overall well-being of the community, this article finds that Seville's health officials successfully maintained public health by balancing the needs of the individual and the community.
The Northampton General Lunatic Asylum opened in 1836 and was funded through local subscriptions. Unlike many other subscription asylums, it did not become a county asylum after the 1845 Lunacy Acts, but was registered as a charitable hospital. This article explores the dynamics that resulted in the Northamptonshire authorities' successfully evading their responsibility to build a county asylum. The loopholes in the supposedly mandatory legislation are examined, with the implications this had for the relationship between the Commissioners in Lunacy and the NGLA governors, as well as the conflict between the local magistrates and the NGLA governors that eventually forced Northamptonshire to conform and build its own specific county asylum in 1876.
While revisionist historians have challenged many standard interpretations of events in the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, one account has remained virtually unscathed: an article about Roosevelt's terminal illness and death written by one of his physicians, Howard G. Bruenn. Yet this article, like all historical documents, was not "objective" but rather a reflection of social and political forces—both from the 1940s, when Roosevelt became ill, and from 1970, when Bruenn's piece was published. This essay argues that Bruenn, the Roosevelt family, and the historian James MacGregor Burns worked together to craft a document that told the story of Roosevelt's decline with a predictable trajectory.
Between 1947 and 1951 the Scandinavian-led International Tuberculosis Campaign tested more than 37 million children and adolescents for tuberculosis, and vaccinated more than 16 million with BCG vaccine. The campaign was an early example of an international health program, and it was generally seen as the largest medical campaign to date. It was born, however, as a Danish effort to create goodwill in war-ravaged Europe, and was extended outside Europe only because UNICEF in 1948 unexpectedly donated US $2 million specifically for BCG vaccination in areas outside Europe. As the campaign transformed from postwar relief to an international health program it was forced to make adaptations to different demographic, social, and cultural contexts. This created a tension between a scientific ideal of uniformity, on the one hand, and pragmatic flexibility on the other. Looking at the campaign in India, which was the most important non-European country in the campaign, this article analyzes three issues in more detail: the development of a simplified vaccination technique; the employment of lay-vaccinators; and whether the campaign in India was conceived as a short-term demonstration or a more extensive mass-vaccination effort.