Highlights of the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection

The following are documents of special interest from the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection chosen by our project staff. While this sampling cannot begin to cover the broad sweep of history represented in a compilation whose time period spans 1850 to 1966, it is intended to point out the diverse nature of people and ideas represented in this material. We encourage you to explore further the wealth of information and opinions presented in the collection.

N2901001  Newspaper clipping, The L[ucha?], Havana (Cuba), August 19, 1907

Questions of the Day.  This article refers to sanitary conditions in Cuba.

00347001  Fever chart for Jesse W. Lazear, Sept. 19, 1900

This fever chart shows the progression of Jesse Lazear’s yellow fever ending in his death.

00353001  Letter from Jefferson Randolph Kean to George Miller Sternberg, September 25, 1900

Kean describes the contributions and sacrifices that Jesse Lazear has made for science, and asks George Sternberg to make a public statement about Lazear’s death and his courage in life. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

00473001  Letter from Sidney Howard to Mabel H. Lazear, May 28, 1934

Sidney Howard writes that Aristides Agramonte has published a pamphlet on the yellow fever experiments and that a dramatic play on the subject is planned.

00933013  Letter from Henry Hanson to Henry Rose Carter, June 15, 1922

Hanson writes that the government of Peru would like him to stay on, but he questions whether an American should be in charge as an administrator.

01003002  Letter from Michael E. Connor to Henry Rose Carter, October 11, 1922

Connor writes about his meeting with archaeologist E.H. Thompson concerning an ancient Mayan storage device. He describes the yellow fever outbreak in Mexico and the difficult working conditions there.

01021016   The Conduct of the Yellow Fever Campaign in Vera Cruz and the Second Yellow Fever Zone, 1921-1922, by Bert W. Caldwell, July 30, 1922

Caldwell reports on the Mexican yellow fever and anti-malarial campaign, describing the cooperative efforts of the Mexicans and the Rockefeller Commission workers.

01107002  Report: Place of Origin of Malaria: America?, by [Henry Rose Carter], [1923]  

Carter contends that America was free from malaria prior to its exploration and settlement by Europeans and Africans.

01212010  Letter from Henry Rose Carter to Chauncey B. Baker, September 27, 1924

Henry Rose Carter describes his 41 years of active service and his hopes for the future.

01325068  Report: The Establishment of a Settlement for Lepers, [19--?]]

The unknown author describes the settlement for lepers that Carter established in Panama.

01615001  Examination paper: Anatomy, by Walter Reed, [February 8, 1875]

Walter Reed writes a paper on anatomy for qualification as an Army Surgeon. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

01615006  Examination Paper: Physiology, by Walter Reed, [February 8, 1875]

Reed writes a paper on physiology for qualification as an Army Surgeon. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

01615014  Examination Paper: Hygiene, by Walter Reed, [February 8, 1875]

Reed writes a paper on hygiene for qualification as an Army Surgeon. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

01615017  Examination Paper: Surgery, by Walter Reed, [February 8, 1875]

Reeds writes a paper on surgery for qualification as an Army Surgeon. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

01617001  Autobiography by Walter Reed, February 8, 1875

Reed writes his biography for the Army Examination Board.

01804001  Military orders for Walter Reed, January 21, 1892

Edwin C. Mason rates Reed’s characteristics as very good and excellent. However, under scientific attainments Mason writes, “nothing special.” [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

01914001  Report: Mosquitoes Considered As Transmitters of Yellow Fever and Malaria, by Carlos J. Finlay, May 27, 1899

Carlos Finlay discusses the theory that mosquitoes can transmit malaria and yellow fever.

02002001  Letter from William H. Welch to George Miller Sternberg, January 12, 1900

William Welch gives a recommendation for Jesse W. Lazear. Included is a handwritten note by Truby.

02003001  Letter from Walter Reed to L. O. Howard, January 13, 1900 [1901]

Reed states to L.O. Howard that the mosquito theory for the propagation of yellow fever is now a fact instead of a theory and that finally they will be able to end the “havoc” brought on by mosquitoes. Reed’s postscript gives credit to Kean for taking action against the mosquito. Reed mistakes year — should be 1901, not 1900.

02018001  Military Orders for Walter Reed and James Carroll, May 23, 1900

Sternberg orders Reed and James Carroll to Camp Columbia, Cuba for the investigation of infectious diseases, especially yellow fever. This requires the establishment of a Medical Board. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

02024001  Letter from George Miller Sternberg to Walter Reed, May 29, 1900

Sternberg instructs Reed on the numerous experiments he should conduct in the investigation of infectious diseases. Also included is a handwritten note by Philip Hench and Truby expressing their personal views of Sternberg’s instructions. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

02028001  Report from Jefferson Randolph Kean to the Adjutant General, June 5, 1900

Kean provides reasons for infection of yellow fever at Columbia Barracks and possible ways to prevent spread of disease. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

02064001  Letter from Walter Reed to George Miller Sternberg, July 24, 1900

Reed is astonished that yellow fever remains unrecognized at Pinar del Rio. He recommends the use of human experimentation to study the disease.

02140001  Military Orders to Commanding Officers, October 15, 1900

Circular Order # 8 includes Kean’s letter of October 13. Kean states in his communication that the mosquito is responsible for the transmission of malaria and filarial infections, and more than likely yellow fever. He recommends a course of action for all posts in the eradication of mosquitoes. [Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]

02176001  Transcription of Letter from Mabel H. Lazear to James Carroll, November 10, 1900

Lazear wants to know the circumstances behind her husband’s death caused by yellow fever. She has a hard time believing that her husband allowed an infected mosquito to bite his hand. She thanks Carroll for sending her the money orders.

02231001  Letter to from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence Reed, December 9, 1900

Reed announces the first proven case of yellow fever from a mosquito bite.

02257001  Letter fragment from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence Reed, [December 25 or 26], 1900

Reed provides a description of the experiment buildings at Camp Lazear and the method of mosquito inoculation and includes a sketch.

02262001  Letter from Walter Reed to Emilie Lawrence Reed, December 31, 1900

This is the famous New Year’s Eve letter. Reed’s toothache requires cocaine treatment. He comments on La Roche’s Yellow Fever (1853), and his own role in the historic discovery.

02736001  Recollections of Lena A. Warner, December 7, 1904

Warner writes about the unreported side of the yellow fever epidemic, including her own experiences during an 1878 outbreak in her hometown.

03029001  Article from Diario Illustrado regarding the American Sanitary Commission, translated from the Spanish by Juan Guiteras, June 26, 1916

This article, translated into English by Juan Guiteras, addresses the involvement of the American Sanitary Commission in Central and South America, and the political ramifications of its actions.

03122024  Letter from Hugh Cunningham to Emilie Lawrence Reed, May 31, 1927

This is a letter from a junior high school student to Emilie Lawrence Reed about her husband.

03401001  Radio script for “The Heroes of the Yellow Fever Experiments in Cuba in 1900,” prepared and produced by Young and Rubicam, January 10, 1937

This radio script presents a fictionalized version of the yellow fever experiments, and portrays Kissinger and Moran as heroes. The radio program was prepared and produced by Young & Rubicam, Inc. for the program, We The People, for their client the General Foods Corporation.

03802002  Letter from George A. Kellogg to John H. Andrus, February 28, 1941

Kellogg informs Andrus about the series of paintings entitled “Pioneers of American Medicine,” produced by John Wyeth & Brother, Inc. The third painting will be entitled “The Conquest of Yellow Fever.”

03842002  Letter from Estela Agramonte Rodriguez Leon to Philip Showalter Hench, February 2, 1941

Estela Agramonte Rodriguez Leon, daughter of Aristides Agramonte, criticizes the sketches for the Dean Cornwell painting “The Conquest of Yellow Fever” commemorating the yellow fever experiments.

04044001  Letter from Philip Showalter Hench to Frank F. Law, November 23, 1944

Different versions of commemorative paintings from American and Cuban perspectives are mentioned in this letter.

04106003  Letter from Philip Showalter Hench to Foster Kennedy, April 16, 1946

Hench mentions his desire to heal the wound between Cuba and United States.

04141001  Outline: The Conquest of Yellow Fever, by Philip Showalter Hench, December 5, 1947

This is Hench’s outline for the book he never wrote on Walter Reed and yellow fever.

04322001  House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 396, 81st Congress, Second Session, January 16, 1950

This resolution by Congress establishes a Walter Reed Commemoration Commission and mentions its importance from a global perspective.

04327001  Letter from Lawrence Reed to Philip Showalter Hench, March 18, 1950

Lawrence Reed informs Hench that he was interviewed by Sidney Wallach. He appreciates his efforts to memorialize his father’s work by supporting the passage of a bill in Congress but he is unsure of Wallach’s motives.

04432001  Letter from Blossom Reed to Philip Showalter Hench, November 14, 1952

Blossom Reed sends Hench rough copies of her invitation from the Cuban government to attend the Lazear Memorial, and of her reply declining to attend.

04435001  Draft of speech and background notes for the dedication of the Camp Lazear Memorial, by Philip Showalter Hench, December 3, 1952

Hench stresses Cuban American cooperation underlying the conquest of yellow fever.

04603009  Letter from Ralph Cooper Hutchison to Philip Showalter Hench, January 6, 1953

Ralph Hutchison appreciates the message and the Cuban cigar from General Batista.

04620004 Letter from Philip Showalter Hench to George E. Armstrong, December 10, 1953

Hench explains why he has not yet written his book on yellow fever.

04933001  Biographical sketch of Walter Reed, by Emilie Lawrence Reed, [n.d.]

This brief sketch gives details into Walter Reed’s early military career out west.

06005008  Envelope with Cuban Clara Maass stamp, August 24, 1951

This commemorative first day cover features the Clara Maass postage stamp and a drawing of Lutheran Memorial Hospital.

06401118  Letter from Jefferson Randolph Kean to Philip Showalter Hench, July 21, 1943

Keen reports the death of a former participant in the yellow fever experiments and offers his opinion on politics, war shortages, and Albert Truby and Laura Wood’s books on Reed.

06411001  Questionnaire: Questions to General Truby (December 1946) About His Book, by Philip Showalter Hench

Hench provides an outline of questions for Truby about his book, Memoir of Walter Reed. Responses by both Truby and Hench are included for some of the questions.

06412001  Questionnaire: Truby’s Answers to Questionnaire re. His Book–February, 1947, by Albert E. Truby, December, 1946

Truby answers all of Hench’s questions regarding Memoir of Walter Reed.

06413042  Letter from Albert E. Truby to Jefferson Randolph Kean, March 29, 1947

Truby asserts that Reed knew of Carter’s and Finlay’s theories long before Lazear. Consequently, Reed was the real pioneer in the mosquito theory, not Lazear. Truby is concerned that Hench supports Lazear as being the mosquito theory proponent instead of Reed.

06412043  Questionnaire: Truby’s Remarks On Your Questionnaire Re Miscellaneous Questions, by Albert E. Truby, February, 1947

Truby adds more information to the answers he supplied for Hench’s questionnaire. Truby believes Lambert is trying to discredit him because he didn’t support Gustaf Lambert’s and Roger Ames’ inclusion on the yellow fever roll of honor.

07004001  English translation [from Spanish] of the Informed Consent Agreement for Antonio Benigno, November 26, 1900

This consent form is believed to be one of the first informed consent agreements for medical research.

13908001  Letter from Walter Reed to Laura Reed Blincoe, June 6, 1877

Reed writes his sister about the special language he and his wife use.

13910001  Letter from Walter Reed to Laura Reed Blincoe, September 21, 1882

Reed writes to his sister regarding women’s health and education.

14156005  Recollections of the family cat, Flirt, by [Emilie Lawrence Reed], [19--]

Walter Reed’s wife, Emilie Reed, provides information on her husband’s favorite pet and her family life for biographer, Howard Kelly.

14157001  Description of Walter Reed’s final illness, by [Emilie Lawrence Reed], [1922?]

As requested by Howard Kelly, [Emilie Lawrence Reed] writes a description of Walter Reed’s illness, treatment, and death.