Quarantine!: East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892


by Howard Markel

Format: Paperback

Winner of the Arthur Viseltear Award for Outstanding Book in the History of Public Health in the Medical Care Section from the American Public Health Association

In Quarantine! Howard Markel traces the course of the typhus and cholera epidemics that swept through New York City in 1892. The story is told from the point of view of those involved―the public health doctors who diagnosed and treated the victims, the newspaper reporters who covered the stories, the government officials who established and enforced policy, and, most importantly, the immigrants themselves. Drawing on rarely cited stories from the Yiddish American press, immigrant diaries and letters, and official accounts, Markel follows the immigrants on their journey from a squalid and precarious existence in Russia’s Pale of Settlement, to their passage in steerage, to New York’s Lower East Side, to the city’s quarantine islands. At a time of renewed anti-immigrant sentiment and newly emerging infectious diseases, Quarantine! provides a historical context for considering some of the significant problems that face American society today.

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