Category Archives: Public health

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 | 5 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

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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

Sangamon County Poor Farm

Sangamon County first created a home to care for the poor, feeble, disabled and mentally ill in 1851, four years after famed social reformer Dorothea Dix wrote a scathing commentary about the county’s practice of keeping paupers and the insane in the … Continue reading

Posted in Local government, Medicine, Public health, Sangamon County, Social services | 5 Comments

Elizabeth Brown Ide

Elizabeth Brown Ide (1873-1978), who was born into money and married more, could have been merely a socialite. Instead, she became Springfield’s most prominent children’s advocate during the early 20th century. Ide’s parents were Christopher Brown and Caroline Owsley Brown, … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Medicine, Prominent figures, Public health, Social services, Springfield Survey, Women | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Franciscan Life Center (Franciscan motherhouse)

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, who have served the sick in central Illinois since 1875, have their headquarters on a 300-acre site northeast of Springfield. The order of Roman Catholic nuns purchased the property (then 500 acres) in 1917 … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Arts and letters, Churches, Public health, Social services, Women | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Children’s physical exams, 1914 (Springfield Survey photo)

The Springfield Survey was a massive study of local schools, prisons, and other institutions undertaken in 1914 by the Russell Sage Foundation with the help of hundreds of local volunteers. Topics covered included schools, care of “mental defectives, the insane … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Photos and photosets, Public health, Springfield Survey | Leave a comment