“The horrors of this memorable affliction were extensive and heart rending.” – Samuel Breck, 18th century merchant, on Philadelphia’s 1793 yellow fever epidemic
In mid August, 1793, the first Philadelphian died from what would become a devastating epidemic of yellow fever. By the end of October, the city had lost nearly 5,000 people – 10% of the entire population.
In the last Madeira Mondays, we looked at 18th century medicine in general – how people thought diseases spread and what they did to try and fight them – and this week we’re going to be diving into how that looked in practice with one specific and fascinating example: Philadelphia’s infamous yellow fever outbreak.
What was the disease? Who were the major players trying to combat and contain it? And how did it change the city afterwards? Continue reading