Research Programs: Public Scholars

Period of Performance

7/1/2022 - 6/30/2023

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

A Plague in New York City: How the City Confronted--and Survived--the Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Founding Era

FAIN: FZ-280044-21

Carolyn Eileen Eastman
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA 23284-9005)

Research and writing of a book on the yellow fever epidemics of 1795 and 1798 in New York City, emphasizing the experience of doctors and other caregivers, including African Americans. 

This book scrutinizes the yellow fever epidemics that devastated New York during 1795 and 1798 by placing at its center the frontline medical and care workers who sought to help the sick. Building my research outward from the extraordinary diary of a young doctor who worked at Bellevue Hospital during both epidemics, I have reconstructed the lives of Black nurses both at Bellevue and in private practice, doctors and other medical workers who flooded in to the city from neighboring regions to help, and how all of these individuals rebuilt their lives and the city after each epidemic passed. Above all, I seek to make sense of this disease by focusing on the people who experienced it, particularly by tracing how it altered a political, urban, and medical environment, and how it changed a city and a generation.