A Window into Early Epidemiology

Times Argus: Vermont News & Information
A window on early 19th-century medical care
July 24, 2005
By Mark Bushnell
Joseph Gallup was looking for answers. As a prominent Vermont doctor during the early 19th century, Gallup had witnessed wave after wave of diseases sweep across the state, killing hundreds and some times thousands of Vermonters each year. He and his fellow physicians had been almost powerless to stop the epidemics.
In 1815, after a particularly deadly run of outbreaks, Gallup published his “Epidemic Diseases in Vermont.” He decided to write the book, he noted humbly in his introduction, “first, because nothing is more needed; and secondly, because the subject has been neglected by those better qualified.”