Retro-Infographic: Typhoid in Cleveland, 1916

by Mike

Here’s a great, great figure. Most papers from this era don’t even have figures, let alone this kind of thing.

The Cleveland Medical Journal only had a couple real articles per issue. It contained mostly news and synopses of articles in more prestigious journals. But they outdid themselves with the annual summary of the city’s typhoid outbreak. It’s hard to interpret without the legend, but this figure is fantastic. I especially like the black bar that serves as a physical representation of the sheet of ice covering Lake Erie at the specified dates.


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Here’s the previous year’s, and the following year’s. Not as comprehensive, and not as clear because you have to turn the page to see the legend. These are well-designed, but for R.G. Perkins of the Cleveland Department of Health’s Bureau of Laboratories, his creative zenith was the 1916 typhoid report.

(Of course, the overall high point of the Great War-era Cleveland Medical Journal was another 1917 article on the subject of “The Spontaneous Explosion of Artificial Eyes”, by the intrepid Roy B. Metz. But that’s a story for another day.)


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Fulk ME, Perkins RG (1917), Typhoid fever in Cleveland in 1916. Cleveland Med J XVI(5): 326-336.

Frey JG, Perkins RG (1916). Typhoid fever in Cleveland in 1915. Cleveland Med J XV(7): 443-452.

Fulk ME, Perkins RG (1918). Typhoid fever in Cleveland in 1917. Cleveland Med J XVII(6): 359-369.