Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New York in the time of Cholera

On a Sunday in July 1832, a fearful and somber crowd of New Yorkers gathered in City Hall Park for more bad news. The epidemic of cholera, cause unknown and prognosis dire, had reached its peak. People of means were escaping to the country.

The dreadful time is recalled in art, maps, death tallies and other artifacts in an exhibition, “Plague in Gotham! Cholera in Nineteenth-Century New York,” at the New-York Historical Society through June 28.

The outbreak, as portrayed in the exhibition and other documentation, highlighted the vulnerabilities of life in overcrowded cities in a time of deplorable sanitation and before medical science recognized the role of germs in disease.

See more scary drawings from doctors and read the New York Times article here.