Collection Facts

Extent: 
414 items
Dates of Original: 
1741-1914
NYH Topic Area(s):

Historical Context

There is no record of yellow fever ever having occurred in Rochester or in the Genesee River Valley. Why then a yellow fever collection in Western New York?

Its origin lies in the experiences of Rochester businessman, Edward G. Miner, during a trip to South American in 1908. In a letter written 36 years later, Miner reminisced, "One could only faintly realize how dreadful had been the devastation in life and property from this disease, but the tales of survivors and the evidence of former precautions which still remained, left an indelible impression upon my memory." This impression was translated into an enduring interest that took the form of book collecting.

Miner's bibliographic interests were extended to the library of the School of Medicine and Dentistry when the medical school opened in 1925. In April 1927, Miner presented to the Medical Library 41 titles on yellow fever - the first of many donations which he would make to the collection until his death in 1955. (The Library, of course, added to the collection simultaneously, and has continued to do so.) In recognition of his services to the University of Rochester and its libraries, the Medical Library was named in honor of Edward G. Miner in December 1952.

Scope of Collection

Digital collection contains more than 400 works on yellow fever published between 1741 and 1914 - works of those who saw it, who were puzzled by it, and who tried to prevent or cure it. The occurrence of yellow fever in the Caribbean, the Middle Atlantic States, the Mississippi Valley and several European ports is abundantly documented.