Readers: Back in 2013, I did a multi-blog post on the 1854 cholera epidemic in London. Most of the reference material I used was based on Steven Johnson’s riveting book, The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World (see book cover below) What I want to discuss today are […]

The Earliest Spot Map of All Dr. John Snow did not draw a map until December, 1854; the first spot map was produced in September of that year by Edmund Cooper, an engineer for the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers (see map below). Cooper’s investigation resulted from public complaints linking the sewers to the cholera outbreak. Rumors […]

During the mid-1800s, there were two major theories on the cause of cholera being debated widely in medical circles throughout London. The organism that caused cholera, Vibrio cholerae, was not yet known and would not be until 1883, twenty-five years after the death of John Snow. In that year, Robert Koch, a German physician and bacteriologist, […]

John Snow (1813–1858) is revered as a founding father of two medical disciplines. Anesthesiologists remember him as the physician who first made anesthesia scientific by showing how the human body responded to different doses of anesthetic drugs, and how anesthesia affected the human physiology. In addition, Snow the practicing anesthetist is widely known for the […]

The Broad Street Pump had a long reputation of being a reliable source of clean well water. It extended 25 feet below the surface of the street, passing the layers of accumulated rubbish and debris that artificially elevated most of London. It stretched through a bed of gravel all the way to Hyde Park, down […]

Although he had no formal medical education, the epidemiology of cholera intrigued Reverend Whitehead. So who was this religious leader and how did he get interested in cholera? [SOURCE] REVEREND WHITEHEAD Reverend Henry Whitehead (1825-96), shown here in 1884 at age 59, was born on September 22,1825 in the seaside town of Ramsgate (middle center […]

One of my favorite data visualizations of all time is John Snow’s “Ghost Map” that helped identify the cause of the 1854 London cholera epidemic. I am currently reading Steven Johnson’s exciting book on this tragic chapter in London’s history. The book is titled The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic – […]