Typhoid Mary

 

ImageOn this day in 1915, Mary Mallon, known as Typhoid Mary, was put into quarantine. Mary worked as a cook in various wealthy households around New York City. Every household she worked in seemed to suffer an outbreak of typhoid fever. A sanitation engineer named George Soper noticed this strange pattern of outbreaks among the wealthy, and eventually realized they had all hired the same cook. When he tracked her down, and questioned her, she didn’t take it well. She swore at him, and threatened him with a meat cleaver when he asked her to provide a stool sample. He finally called in the police and had her arrested. They took urine and stool samples by force, and discovered that she was a healthy carrier of typhoid. They released her on the condition that she would give up working as a cook, but once she was free, she changed her name and went back to cooking. Five years later, they finally tracked her down again, and she was put in quarantine for the rest of her life. She died of pneumonia in 1938.

ImageNorth Brother Island where Mary was held in isolated quarantine for 26 years.

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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5 Responses to Typhoid Mary

  1. Wow I’m so familiar with the “Typhoid Mary” name and knew she had something to do with food preparation, but didn’t know the story. And REALLY didn’t know that she changed her name and kept cooking!! Thanks for the quick nugget of new knowledge. Have a great day!!

  2. What a sad and tragic story for everyone concerned. Can’t imagine 26 years on that island.

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