Contagion Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics

Collection Overview

Offering valuable insights to students of the history of medicine and to researchers seeking an historical context for current epidemiology, this collection contributes to the understanding of the global, social–history, and public–policy implications of disease.

The collection provides general background information on diseases and epidemics worldwide, and is organized around significant “episodes” of contagious disease.

These materials include digitized copies of books, serials, pamphlets, incunabula, and manuscripts — a total of more than 500,000 pages — many of which contain visual materials, such as:

  • plates
  • engravings
  • maps
  • charts
  • broadsides

The collection also includes two unique sets of visual materials from the Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard’s Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Library materials and archival materials are supplemented by explanatory pages that introduce concepts related to diseases and epidemics, historical approaches to medicine, and notable men and women.