Friday, 22 July 2011

New accession: NY v TB

Last month we received a call from the Royal Victoria Hospital asking us to collect some historical items found within their offices, including this book prepared for the fifth International Congress on Tuberculosis (TB), held in Washington D.C. from 21st September to 12th October 1908.

Front cover
 Part report and part scrap book, it sets out the measures taken to tackle TB by the Department of Health in New York, a city of over four million people by 1907. It contains a range of sample information notices, dispensary cards and forms to be completed by medical practitioners. The educational resources reflect the twin aims of firstly, trying to prevent the spread of the disease, (chiefly rallying against the “filthy habit of spitting”, and secondly containing and treating those who found themselves with the disease. It reflects the challenges of trying to communicate this message to a diverse population: all of the notices and forms are in several languages including German, Italian, Russian, Greek and Polish.

"No Spitting" leaflet in Italian
The chart below bears strong similarities to the famous Edinburgh Scheme devised by Sir Robert Philip of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) some years earlier. Dr Philip had set up the first TB dispensary in the world and helped to found the RVH in 1894. It is likely that he or another doctor from the RVH attended the Congress and brought this item back to the hospital, where it remained for over 100 years before being transferred to LHSA.

NY's Scheme against TB

Sir Robert Philip's "Edinburgh Scheme"
For more information on the RVH, please see our catalogue: RVH catalogue.
For more information on the history of TB treatment, please visit our Tales from the Archive pages: Tales from the Archive: treatments for TB.

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