Sunday, March 7, 2010

"An Iconography of Contagion," Web Exhibition, National Library of Medicine

About a hundred years ago, public health took a visual turn. In an era of devastating epidemic and endemic infectious disease, health professionals began to organize coordinated campaigns that sought to mobilize public action through eye-catching wall posters, illustrated pamphlets, motion pictures, and glass slide projections...
Check out the National Library of Medicine's wonderful new web exhibition "An Iconography of Contagion"--which explores the relationship between posters and public health, and from which all of the above text and images were drawn--by clicking here. Curated by Friend-of-Morbid-Anatomy Michael Sappol, this is a characteristically smart, thoughtful, and visually rich exhibition.

You can see the entire exhibition, and read the full text and full image captions, by clicking here. You can see many more wonderful images in the gallery section by clicking here. Click on images above to see much larger, richer versions.

Image Credits:
  1. She may be…a bag of TROUBLE. Syphilis – Gonorrhea., U.S. Public Health Service, United States, 1940s. Photomechanical print: color; 41 x 51 cm. Artist: “Christian.”
  2. Ali si zdrav? (Are you healthy?), Golnik, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, 1950s. Photomechanical print: color; 42 x 60 cm.
  3. Tuberkulose undersøgelse – en borgerpligt (Tuberculosis examination – a citizen’s duty.), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1947. Color lithograph; 62 x 85 cm. Designer/artist: : Henry Thelander (fl. 1902-1986). Lithographers: Andreasen & Lachmann.
  4. Tuberculosis bacilli. Chinese Anti-Tuberculosis Association, Shanghai, 1953.
  5. La course a la mort. (The race with death.) Ligue Nationale Française contre le Peril Vénérién, France, ca. 1926. Color lithograph; reproduction of a pastel drawing; 69 x 88 cm. Artist: Charles Emmanuel Jodelet (1883-1969).


*G*R*U*N*T*I*L*D*A* said...

I wonder if these posters were more or less effective in their own day than similar public service posters nowadays...

Doc said...

If you are near Atlanta, these are featured (both originals and reproductions) at the CDC's Global Health Odyssey Museum:

The general public is allowed in (it's in our Visitor's Center). You will need government ID and go through metal detectors. And when you drive in, you car will be searched quickly (pop trunk/hood). Instructions and directions are on the web page.

The best stuff in our museum is on the lowest level which has a permanent display of some of CDC's biggest achievements over the years.