Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

A Whole Family Swept Off

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

New York’s 1832 cholera epidemic centered on the built-up tip of southern Manhattan Island, but the 1849 outbreak reached even outlying areas. In the rural town of Gravesend, Long Island (today a neighborhood in southern Brooklyn), one farmer and his entire family—his mother, wife, and children—died in the span of six days. Ferdinand Van Sicklen’s wife, Eleanor/Ellen (Stoothoff) Van Sicklen died on August 18, 1849. His son, Cornelius, died the same day. His mother, Maria (Johnson) Van Sicklen, died on the 21st. Ferdinand died on the 23rd, followed by his married daughter, Eleanor/Ellen Maria (Van Sicklen) Stillwell. (All lie buried in the landmarked Van Sicklen Family Cemetery on Gravesend Neck Road in Brooklyn.) While the accompanying account from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of Saturday, August 25, 1849 misspells the family’s surname and takes much poetic license (Ferdinand in fact died of cholera and not from despair), it illustrates vividly the frightening speed at which the disease claimed victims.




Playing Cholera

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Children find play even in the most tragic events. Many believe the universal nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosey” to have originated in London, where the Great Plague of 1665-66 killed upwards of 75,000 people (“ashes to ashes, we all fall down!”). On Saturday, August 25, 1849 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on local children who responded to that summer’s cholera epidemic by making up a game:


How Epidemics Helped Shape the Modern Metropolis

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

The New York Times today, April 15th, 2008, explores the exhibition, Plague in Gotham! and the Weekend with History session with Dr. David Ho & Dr. Kenneth Jackson, who discussed the connection between the Cholera epidemics of the 19th century and the present-day AIDS epidemic. Reporter John Noble Wilford explores How Epidemics Helped Shape the Modern Metropolis, and science editor David Corcoran talks with co-curator Stephen Edidin about the exhibition in this week’s Science Times podcast.