Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics


The malaria mosquito. During the construction of the Panama Canal, 1904–1914, malaria and yellow fever were dangerous obstacles.

Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics is a digital library collection that brings a unique set of resources from Harvard’s libraries to Internet users everywhere. Offering valuable insights to students of the history of medicine and to researchers seeking an historical context for current epidemiology, the collection contributes to the understanding of the global, social–history, and public–policy implications of disease. Contagionis also a unique social–history resource for students of many ages and disciplines.

Created by the Harvard University Library’s Open Collections Program with vital support from Arcadia, the collection provides general background information on diseases and epidemics worldwide, and is organized around significant “episodes” of contagious disease.

These materials include digitized copies of books, serials, pamphlets, incunabula, and manuscripts—a total of more than 500,000 pages—many of which contain visual materials, such as plates, engravings, maps, charts, broadsides, and other illustrations. The collection also includes two unique sets of visual materials from the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard’s Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

vaccination contagion

Vaccinating the Baby. From the holdings of Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine—Harvard Medical School.

Library materials and archival materials are supplemented by explanatory pages that introduce concepts related to diseases and epidemics, historical approaches to medicine, and notable men and women.

Check the collection at

Related articles in English and Spanish:

Nussenzweig, Ruth Sonntag. Breakthroughs towards a malaria vaccine. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, June 2011, vol.18, no.2, p.559-564. ISSN 0104-5970

Gachelin, Gabriel and Opinel, Annick. Malaria epidemics in Europe after the First World Warthe early stages of an international approach to the control of the diseaseHist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, June 2011, vol.18, no.2, p.431-470. ISSN 0104-5970

Mónica García, Claudia.Las ‘fiebres del Magdalena’:medicina y sociedad en la construcción de una noción médica colombiana, 1859-1886Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, Mar 2007, vol.14, no.1, p.63-89. ISSN 0104-5970

Alcalá Ferráez, Carlos. De miasmas a mosquitosel pensamiento médico sobre la fiebre amarilla en Yucatán, 1890-1920Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, Mar 2012, vol.19, no.1, p.71-87. ISSN 0104-5970

Serrón, Víctor. Epidemia y perplejidades médicas:Uruguay, 1918-1919Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos, Set 2011, vol.18, no.3, p.701-722. ISSN 0104-5970



Post a comment