Fletcher’s Swamp and Bacon’s Swamp
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Stephen Taylor
2y ago
Man and woman canoeing on the swamp behind Fredericks’ Island and Camp Comfort. Syracuse-Wawasee Digital Archives, Indiana Memory. You might never guess that several parts of Indianapolis lying well inside the city limits are built on old swamp lands. Turn back the clock to the 1940s and new homes and roads in southeast Broad Ripple are literally sinking into the earth. Turn it back another century still, and the hoot-owls and swamp creatures who easily outnumber humans in Marion County are living practically downtown.  (In fact, the whole county was named for Francis Marion, the “Swamp F ..read more
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How Indiana’s Religious Institutions Kept the Faith During the 1918 Flu Pandemic
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Casey Pfeiffer
2y ago
Indianapolis woman wearing a mask during the Spanish Flu epidemic, November 27, 1918, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society. For many Hoosiers across the state, this week marks the sixth week that they’ve been asked to stay at home to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the many schools, businesses, libraries, and other enterprises that have been impacted, so too have Indiana’s religious institutions. During this stretch, Christians could not come together as parishioners to celebrate Holy Week as they have for centuries past. Jews had to find alternativ ..read more
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War, Plague, and Courage: Spanish Influenza at Fort Benjamin Harrison & Indianapolis
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Jill Weiss Simins
2y ago
Spanish Influenza hit Indiana in September of 1918. While the virus killed otherwise healthy soldiers and civilians affected by WWI in other parts of the world since the spring, most Hoosiers assumed they were safe that fall. Still, newspaper headlines made people nervous and health officials suspected that the mysterious flu was on their doorstep. Howard Chandler Christy, “Fight of Buy Bonds,” poster, 1917, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Special Collections, accessed digitalindy.org In April of 1917, the United States joined the Allied effort. Residents of Indianapolis ..read more
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Dr. Sarah Stockton: In Love with Her Profession
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Nicole Poletika
2y ago
Dr. Sarah Stockton with male colleagues at the Central State Hospital pathology lab library, 1910, courtesy of the Indiana Archives and Records Administration. Dr. Sarah Stockton earned a reputation as a gritty, compassionate physician at the Indiana Hospital for the Insane (later renamed Central State Hospital). According to a Moment of Indiana History, her appointment as assistant physician in the Women’s Department in 1883 was regarded as “significant enough to the cause of women’s rights as to merit mention by no less prominent an advocate than Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in History of Woman S ..read more
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Women at Work in Science, Technology, and Medicine
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Jill Weiss Simins
2y ago
Historians, Get to Work! Women have been consistently left out of the story of the Hoosier state. On paper, historians agree that including the histories of women and other marginalized groups provides a more complete understanding of the events that shaped our communities, state, and world.  However, in practice, few historians are researching, publishing, or posting on women’s history.  Having identified a dearth of resources on Indiana women’s history, organizers from various institutions, both public and private, came together to develop an annual conference. This conference stri ..read more
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Dr. Harvey “Old Borax” Wiley and His Poison Squad
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Lindsey Beckley
2y ago
Harvey Washington Wiley, M.D. Image courtesy of U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the early Pure Food movement is Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book The Jungle. However, Hoosier Harvey Wiley’s work in the field was already at its apex when Sinclair’s exposé was released. When Dr. Wiley started his career in the mid- to late-19th century, the production of processed foods in the US was on the rise due to the increasing number of urban dwellers unable to produce their own fresh food. With little to no federal regulation in t ..read more
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John Shaw Billings: “I Could Lie Down and Sleep for Sixteen Hours without Stopping”
The Indiana History Blog » Medical History
by Nicole Poletika
2y ago
John Shaw Billings portrait, n.d. Photo courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. We all know those people, who accomplish more in one hour than we do all week, who redefine “industrious” and excel at everything they try. Indiana native John Shaw Billings was the archetype, a visionary with seemingly infinite energy who revolutionized medical and bibliographical practices that endure into the 21st century. Billings stands among several Hoosiers who are profoundly influential, yet under recognized, including the inventor of the television Philo T. Farnsworth and creator of one of America’s ..read more
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