Typhoid Mary by Judith Walzer Leavitt
Captive to the Public's Health

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Synopsis

Relates the remarkable and tragic story of Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant cook, who became known as "Typhoid Mary" when she infected many New Yorkers with the deadly disease, and her isolation from the public until her death thirty years later.
 

About Judith Walzer Leavitt

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Judith Walzer Leavitt is Rupple Bascom and Ruth Bleier Professor of Medical History and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
 
Published May 1, 1996 by Putnam Publishing Group. 331 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A social historian's thoughtful examination of the conflict between individual liberty and public health as exemplified by the case of Mary Mallon, the typhoid fever carrier who, early in this century, was permanently isolated by New York authorities on an island in the East River.

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Publishers Weekly

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Mary Mallon was a feisty 36-year-old Irish immigrant who made her living as a cook for wealthy New York City families when she was seized, in 1907, by officers of the city's Public Health Department and detained in a cottage on North Brother Island where, except for two years, she lived in isolat...

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https://muse.jhu.edu

By comparing Mallon's treatment with the health department's handling of the hundreds of carriers subsequently identified in the 1910s and 1920s, Leavitt highlights the circumstances that made Mallon's case both distinctive and tragic.

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