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U.S. Time Periods » 1865-1920: Modern America

The Most Dangerous Woman in America

is a companion website for a film that examines the case of Typhoid Mary, a cook who was quarantined for life against her will in the early 1900s. The site includes a history of quarantine, a letter Mary Mallon wrote when petitioning the courts for her release (1909), an examination of whether public health officials were to blame for Mallon's behavior, and a mysterious "disease outbreak" for students to solve. (NOVA, National Endowment for the Humanities)

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Interesting Fact:

The practice of quarantine -- the separation of the diseased from the healthy -- has been around a long time. As early as the writing of the Old Testament, for instance, rules existed for isolating lepers. It wasn't until the Black Death of the 14th century, however, that Venice established the first formal system of quarantine, requiring ships to lay at anchor for 40 days before landing.
Photo: Mary Mallon lies in a hospital bed after being apprehended by the authorities in 1907 for being a carrier of typhoid fever.

In her own words...

 This website also appears in:
Science »  Life Sciences »  Diseases
U.S. History Topics »  Famous People »  Others
U.S. Time Periods »  1865-1920: Modern America » 

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