May 18, 1849 (Friday)

Still delightful.

Some little excitement in regard to the cholera, which is now in New York.

Visited the Academy of Fine Arts this evening.

Stories of “The Cholera” were all over the Philadelphia newspapers in May 1849.  There were cholera outbreaks in California, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, and, as Nathan mentions, New York City where multiple cases were reported in the Sixth Ward. The disease was thought to be caused by miasma or bad air at the time of Nathan’s writing. It was not until 1854, when Dr. John Snow demonstrated through the use of an epidemiological map that cholera was water born. The bacterium causing the lower intestinal disease was identified in 1883.

Cholera

from the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 18, 1849, page 2.

For more information on the Academy of Fine Arts, see the entry for May 9.

Source:

Johnson, Steve. The Ghost Map. New York: Riverhead, 2006.

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