Category Archives: Public health

Newsboys vs. the mayor, 1921

When a newsboy stiffed Mayor Charles Baumann out of 2 cents change, Baumann ordered city police to dismantle every news stand in downtown Springfield. But the newsboys had allies of their own, including an influential group of civic-minded women. The … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Communications, Journalism, Local government, Media, Prominent figures, Public health, Springfield Survey | Leave a comment

The Town Branch

Many of Sangamon County’s first pioneers settled next to the Town Branch, a meandering stream that was early Springfield’s defining topographic feature. Starting in the late 1850s, the creek took on a new role, one it continues to hold today: … Continue reading

Posted in Early residents, John T. Stuart, Local government, Maps, Public health | 1 Comment

Carver Convalescent Center fire, 1972

Investigators never agreed on the cause of the fire that killed 10 residents of a shabby nursing home on May 6, 1972. The number of deaths make the fire at Carver Convalescent Center, 1527 E. Washington St., the worst single … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Disasters, Fires, Public health | Leave a comment

‘Cocaine Alley’ (1899-1903)

Note: This entry is based on research done by Floyd Mansberger and Christopher Stratton of Fever River Research for the city of Springfield and Federal Railroad Administration in connection with the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. Their full 358-page report, published … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Public health, Race riot of 1908, Social life | Leave a comment

Flu epidemic, 1918-20

Health officials closed churches, schools and theaters, barred street gatherings and set up a special hospital at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, but the influenza epidemic of 1918 nonetheless killed more than 500 county residents. Second and third waves of flu appeared … Continue reading

Posted in Disasters, Medicine, Military, Public health | 2 Comments

Measles vaccinations, 1966 (photo)

In February 1966, Illinois Department of Public Health officials predicted a major measles outbreak unless local agencies set up crash immunization programs. “We will have a severe epidemic with deaths and encephalitis … unless there is widespread use of the … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Illustrations, Medicine, Public health, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Maternal Health Center/Planned Parenthood

The Maternal Health Center, Springfield’s first avowed birth control clinic, was created in 1938 by about a dozen socially prominent women. Its early leaders included Elizabeth “Libby” Lanphier (1908-97), Calista Herndon (1902-83) and Mary “Dougie” Funk (1900-80). The center faced several obstacles … Continue reading

Posted in Prominent figures, Public health, Women | Leave a comment

Fourth of July mayhem, 1907

One of the staples of newspaper journalism in the early 20th century was the annual July 5 roundup of Independence Day mayhem, much of it caused by children’s attraction to fireworks. What probably was the worst local Fourth of July-related … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations, Children, Local government, Media, Public health | 1 Comment

‘Poor House Rules’ — the drawings of Alfred S. Harkness

Alfred S. Harkness (1866-1941) was an artist, illustrator and engraver whose specialty — at least for part of the time he lived in Springfield — was public health illustration. Harkness had been a member of the artist staff of the … Continue reading

Posted in Arts and letters, Illustrations, Media, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey | Leave a comment

Sangamon County Jail conditions, 1847 (Dorothea Dix)

Social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote the following letter – Dix characterized similar communications as “memorials” — to the Sangamo Journal and Illinois State Register on Feb. 19, 1847. It was published in the March 4, 1847 edition of the Journal. … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Law enforcement, Local government, Public health, Sangamon County, Social services | Leave a comment