walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Mumble typhoid carrier mumble NYC 1920s how many people were named. . .

The wikipedia article on Mary Mallon ("Typhoid Mary") mentioned Tony Labella as contemporaneous asymptomatic typhoid carrier. So I went over to the New York Times to find out more about him. I found his arraignment in 1922. I found his release in 1923.

And I found a heat-crazed, knife wielding Tony Labella in 1925 who attacked three before being shot dead by a policeman (at least one of the victims died).

So. How many Tony Labellas were there in New York in the relevant time frame, I ask myself? And I answer, hey, I have census records. I do genealogy. This is an answerable question.

Answer: Many. Many, many, many. Enough so I don't think Mamaroneck knife-wielder is the same as typhoid carrier, however, I'm gonna poke at this a bit more.

Interestingly, there is a Tony Labella (or maybe Libella) in the juvenile asylum in Greenburgh NY in 1910. He might be the knife wielder 15 years later (right county, among other things). But he's not my typhoid carrier, because my typhoid carrier was born in 1888, so he wouldn't be in juvie in 1910.

Found an article about a 1950s era California typhoid outbreak, chicken salad, 54 year old grandfather. And even later, 1977, Elizabeth (NJ?). Who knew? Probably typhoid outbreaks are still happening and I just never noticed? Apparently there used to be mass immunizations for typhoid, but by the 1977 outbreak, they weren't doing them any more.

Running a high fever for 20 days is kinda spectacular.

May 1964 outbreak -- a big one -- in Scotland.


There was a frat house related typhoid outbreak in California mid-century, and a big outbreak in the 1962s (just before the Scottish one) in Zermatt.

Here is contemporary coverage of Cotils suspended sentence when Cotils promised to stay out of kitchens.


In 1920, Chicago held a boarding house owner, Mrs. Jennie Barramore, as a typhoid carrier. They cited leprosy precedent to justify: writ de leproso amovendo.


Miss Angelina Gervassio in 1948 agreed to a gallbladder removal operation, the same one refused by Mary Mallon decades earlier. 40 something cook in Yonkers, this time.


1959 in Keane, NH!!!


Keane's municipal water system was compromised (I wonder if this is why people in NH really hate community water systems? People up there sure love their own wells and septic, which I just never could quite grasp). They decided to chlorinate the water system after this, and apparently the person they identified agreed to some form of treatment (could have been abx, could have been gallbladder, could have been something else -- isn't specified).

Reading through all this is way more interesting than _Fever_. If there's a book out there about the history of typhoid and how we treat/manage it, I'd probably read it.

1928, another person who defied agreements designed to limit spreading the disease got locked up indefinitely.

Unnamed in this article:


"Food handling" originally in 1914; serving ice cream got him locked up for good in 1928 (Riverside Hospital).

In 1940, centenarian, 101 when learned she'd been a carrier for 80 years. Discovered when a couple grandchildren got sick.


Ooooh! Mary Mallon really did have a lawyer and tried to get money from the city in 1911 for being held illegally, claiming she wasn't ever sick. Ha! She wanted money because her reputation as a cook was damaged. Seriously? I get this woman has a lot of fans, and I have a weakness for rebellious and ornery woman, but come on. Lawyer's name really was O'Neil (George Francis O'Neil) -- this was a question that came up during the discussion last night. He represented her at the hearing that got her out initially, and again in this action. His argument was, if we jail everyone who the department of health thinks is a germ carrier, we won't have any cooks left.

Wow. Just, wow.

(Also, weird. NYT says "O'Neil"; later coverage says "O'Neill".)

This letter -- longest thing we have in her writing -- is written to this lawyer: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/typhoid/letter.html.

Weird. This really is the same O'Neill that worked as an investigator for the Committee of Fourteen for the Anti-Saloon League.

Even weirder: I found the 1930 census pages for North Brother Island, and I can't find Mary anywhere. I've gone through and read the pages, looking for any female in the right age range, and they are _scarce_ and none of the names are readily misunderstood versions of Mary's name. I am at a loss.

Ditto 1920. Maybe I'm doing this wrong. This is weird.
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