Introduction

Clara Church, 8 years old, tetanus, January 29, 1859. Chris Fall, 35 years old, laborer, drinking ice water, May 15, 1860. Avery McCarthy, 19 years old, fits, September 20, 1860. John Ayers, 32 years old, bad whiskey, June 3, 1863. Theodore Hansen, 27 years old, soldier, starved in Rebel prison, April 3, 1865. Ada Meeker, 1 year old, cholera infantum, September 24, 1865. Susanna H. James, housewife, 23 years old, typhoid fever, January 23, 1866.

These brief entries recorded in the pages of the Record of Deaths in the City of Toledo are more than just statistics. Individually, they hint at lives tragically cut short. Collectively, they tell the story of life in Toledo in the middle of the 19th century, and help to document the state of medical care (or lack thereof) in the city at the time.

The medical history of a community is a mirror of its social, political, economic, and cultural history. Medical history can reveal much about how a community deals with issues such as poverty, race relations, industrialization, urbanization, education, morality, and politics. Medical history focuses attention on what a community does and does not do to promote the most basic of civic responsibilities—the chance to live a healthy life.

The exhibition "Medicine on the Maumee: A History of Health Care in Northwest Ohio" attempts to be a mirror reflecting the development of our community. It traces the evolution of medical care from the earliest years of settlement to current day. It looks at epidemics that devastated the population, at hospitals that sought to cure, at doctors and nurses who provided care, at wars that maimed many, and at how medicine became an industry.

While the medical history of northwest Ohio is probably not unique in any of these aspects, how medicine was practiced locally has had a profound impact on who and where we are as a community today. While this exhibit looks to the past, it is not without regard for the present. Our sincere thanks to the men and women of today who work long hours every day to save lives, provide comfort, and advance medicine in our community. While people still die tragically and lives are still cut short just as they were in the 1860s, most of us can expect to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives than our forbearers. This exhibit is dedicated to all who make this possible through their labors.

The virtual exhibit is a digital reproduction of that exhibition ending in December 2012. It features materials from the Canaday Center's manuscript collections as well as others on loan from institutions that loaned them. Permissions were obtained to photograph and display them here. In addition to the materials in the exhibition, visitors can view videos, use the interactive timeline, and tour the exhibition area virtually. This site also provides links to research resources at various special collections, archives, and libraries to inspire and support individual research.

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