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Cholera Epidemics in the 19th Century

The Great Plague of London, 1665

The Boston Smallpox Epidemic, 1721

“Pestilence” and the Printed Books of the Late 15th Century

Spanish Influenza in North America, 1918–1919

Syphilis, 1494–1923

Tropical Diseases and the Construction of the Panama Canal, 1904–1914

Tuberculosis in Europe and North America, 1800–1922

The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, 1793

General Materials

Notable People

Related Links


Zabdiel Boylston Adams Papers

Zabdiel Boylston Adams (MD 1853, Harvard University) served as an army surgeon during the American Civil War. After the war, he had a medical practice in Framingham, Massachusetts, and was medical examiner of the Eighth Middlesex District from 1890 to 1902. He was an ardent advocate of vaccination.

The full collection at the Countway Library contains Adams’s letters to his family describing military-camp life, battles, maneuvers, medical activities, and family matters between 1861 and 1865. The materials include his account of the Battle of the Wilderness fought on May 5–6, 1864, and the history of the 7th Massachusetts Regiment. Additional material consists of clippings and other printed materials. In his reminiscences of his military and professional activities written in 1884 and 1894, Adams writes of vaccination and public health, of witnessing post-mortems of cholera patients, and of the prevalence of fevers on ships carrying immigrants.