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Library Bulletin Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Library -- New Orleans
Digitization Grant: Yellow Fever Collection
LSUHSC New Orleans Library is the proud recipient of a $25,000 Historical Preservation and Digitization Award (link removed) from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (link removed), to create a digital version of an historic collection of yellow fever books. The project, Digitization of the Aristides Agramonte Collection on Yellow Fever provides funding to work with a digitization vendor to create digital copies of 149 historical resources. The digital materials will be available free online to the general public (in Spring 2011) via the LOUISiana Digital Library (link removed). The Lousiana Digital Library is a state-wide digital library consortium that provides an online library of digitized materials documenting Louisiana's history and culture.
Dr. Aristides Agramonte (link removed), a native of Cuba, was the first department chair of the Tropical Medicine Department at the newly founded LSU Medical School in 1931. His personal collection of books and journals became the first materials acquired for the new medical school's Library. In fact, the original name of the Library was the Aristides Agramonte Memorial Medical Library. Dr. Agramonte served as the pathologist for the U.S. Army Yellow Fever expedition to Cuba led by Dr. Walter Reed in the early 1900's.
The U.S. Army Yellow Fever expedition to Cuba in 1899 and the ultimate conquering of Yellow Fever marked a turning point in medicine. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, New Orleans (and other cities) suffered from horrific epidemics of Yellow Fever. The germ theory of disease had not yet been fully developed and at the time, cannons often boomed through the night to ward off the disease. The Reed team put forth the first scientific theory regarding Yellow Fever (the source being discovered as the mosquito). Researchers who are interested in the history of medicine, the Yellow Fever epidemics, tropical medicine or the developments of the first scientific theory used to trace and find a cure for a communicable disease will find the materials in the collection invaluable for their research.
The Aristides Agramonte Collection on Yellow Fever is significant because it offers a large number of early publications on yellow fever. Publications date back to the 1790s, and discuss the epidemiology and pathology of yellow fever in New York, Philadelphia, Barbados and New Orleans, among other areas. Books are included from authors including Benjamin Rush, Carlos Finlay, the New Orleans Board of Health, and of course Dr. Agramonte himself. The library looks forward to opening access to this unique collection to a broader audience. You can view other digital collections (link removed) created by the LSUSHC-NO Library, including graduation programs, student newspapers, newspaper clippings and medical art, via the LOUISiana Digital Library (link removed).
-- Maureen Knapp (link removed)