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About the Yellow Fever Collection

About the physical collection

The Aristides Agramonte Yellow Fever Collection is housed in the Old and Rare Book Room of the John P. Ische Library at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Agramonte was selected as the founding department head of Tropical Medicine at the newly formed LSU Medical School in 1931. His collection of books and pamphlets formed a considerable portion of the original medical school Library's holdings when the school was founded. Access to the physical collection is available by appointment. Call 504-568-6100 for more information or email digitalarchives@lsuhsc.edu.


About Aristides Agramonte
Dr. Aristides Agramonte was "born on the field of battle" at Camagiuey, Cuba, June 3, 1869, "his father being one of those patriots who lost their lives in Cuba's attempt to gain independence."1 He received his Bachelor of Arts degree at New York University in 1886, and graduated in Medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1892. Dr. Agramonte served as Sanitary Inspector and Assistant Bacteriologist to the New York City Department of Health, and was appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon of the U.S. Army in 1898. Dr. Agramonte served as the pathologist for the U.S. Army Yellow Fever expedition to Cuba led by Dr. Walter Reed in the early 1900's, which gave the final proofs of the relation of the mosquito to the transmission of yellow fever.


In 1900 Dr. Agramonte was appointed Professor of Bacteriology and Experimental Pathology at the University of Havana, in addition to holding many other positions. In 1931, Dr. Agramonte was appointed the first department chair of the Tropical Medicine Department at the newly founded LSU Medical School in New Orleans. Sadly, New Orleans is where he died on August 17th, 1931, of a heart affectation. His personal collection of books and journals became the first materials acquired for the medical school library. In fact, the original name of the LSU Health Sciences Center Library was the Aristides Agramonte Memorial Medical Library.


The U.S. Army Yellow Fever expedition to Cuba led by Dr. Walter Reed in 1899 and the ultimate conquering of Yellow Fever marked a turning point in medicine. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, New Orleans (and other cities) suffered from horrific epidemics of Yellow Fever. The germ theory of disease had not yet been fully developed and at the time, and cannons often boomed through the night to ward off the disease. The Reed team put forth the first scientific theory regarding Yellow Fever (the source being discovered as the mosquito).


Upon his death, the American Public Health Association noted that "in the death of Dr. Agramonte science has lost a devoted servant. His knowledge of tropical diseases and his great experience in the practical handling of them made him peculiarly fitted for the professorship he had just accepted. Our growing international relationships, coupled with the development of rapid transit by steamship and airplane, have brought us every year more and more into contact with the diseases of other countries, and especially those in close contact with us on the south. The importance of tropical medicine has grown step by step with these contacts." 2

 

Dr. Agramonte is also featured in a 1930's frieze, on view in the LSUHSC Library Commons. More info.

This collection was created in November 2010.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. N01-LM-6-3505 with the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library.

 

References:
1: "Association News" Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1930 December; 20(12): 1333-1342. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1556161/

2. "Aristides Agramonte, M. D" Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1931 October; 21(10): 1136-1137. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1556463/

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