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Project Spotlight: Digitization of the Aristides Agramonte Collection on Yellow Fever

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Last year the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Library – New Orleans received one of three Historical Preservation and Digitization Awards from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region. Their project was entitled: The Digitization of the Aristides Agramonte Collection on Yellow Fever.

The story of the Aristides Agramonte yellow fever collection at LSU Health Sciences Center – New Orleans is a sad one. Dr. Aristides Agramonte was a member of the US Army Yellow Fever expedition to Cuba, which gave the final proofs of the relation of the mosquito to the transmission of yellow fever. He had just accepted a professorship at the fledgling LSU School of Medicine when he died suddenly of a ‘heart affectation’ in August of 1931. His extensive personal library of books and journal articles, many devoted to the study of yellow fever, became the first materials acquired for LSU medical school library. In fact, the original name of the LSU Health Sciences Center Library was the Aristides Agramonte Memorial Medical Library.

Image from medical text

Dr. Agramonte’s personal library of yellow fever materials is now available as a searchable collection through the Louisiana Digital Library: http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/LSUBK01
Over 130 books and journal articles dating back to the 1790s discuss the epidemiology and pathology of yellow fever. Books are included from authors such as Benjamin Rush, Carlos Finlay, the New Orleans Board of Health, and Aristides Agramonte.

image from medical text

Researchers interested in the history of medicine, yellow fever epidemics, tropical medicine and the development of the first scientific theory used to trace and find a cure for a communicable disease will find a special interest in this collection. The collection is full text searchable and includes items in English, Spanish, French and German.

Upon Dr. Agramonte’s 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.” Through this collection, we hope to share some of his knowledge. LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans is proud to offer this collection as a free resource.

Additional news about this project can be found in the recent LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network newsletter: http://appl003.lsu.edu/ocsweb/louishome.nsf/$Content/Homepage+News+&+Announcements/$File/Newsletter%202011%20VOL20ISSUE1.pdf

Special Thanks to guest author Maureen Molly Knapp, Digital Projects Manager LSUHSC Library New Orleans http://www.lsuhsc.edu/no/library/.

Figure 1: Color slides from Recherches sur la cause et la prophylaxie de la fievre jaune. (1903) http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/u?/LSUBK01,6326
Figure 2: Color illustrations of yellow fever symptoms. From Yellow fever and malarial diseases embracing a history of the epidemics of yellow fever in Texas. (1876) http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/u?/LSUBK01,10484

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