William Gorgas, the Sanitary Officer of the Canal


Material Information

William Gorgas, the Sanitary Officer of the Canal
Physical Description:
Angrick, Bill ( donor )
Keystone View Company
Place of Publication:
Meadville, PA
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Portraits   ( fast )
Public administration   ( fast )
Spatial Coverage:
Panama -- Central America


A portrait of William Gorgas, the Sanitary Officer of the Canal, at his desk.
Scope and Content:
B. L. Singley founded The Keystone View Company in 1892 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. The company quickly became the world's largest view company, having at least 250,000 negatives (of which some 50,000 were available as numbered views) by the 1930s. These images were meant to bring international experiences into the palm of the average person's hand, to be revisted in private or during social gatherings. It has been said that the ability of the stereograph to bring vicarious experiences to faraway people makes this medium parallel to the internet or television today. The Keystone View Company also focused on the educational value of their products, employing teams of people to write explanatory texts that were printed on the backs of the stereograph cards. This text, along with the imagery, presents the dominant vision of American ideals and interests during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Source 1: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/ft1q2n999m/ Source 2: http://www.yellowstonestereoviews.com/publishers/keystone.html
Gifted on behalf of William P. and Barbara L. Angrick

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Panama Canal Museum Collection at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Public Domain Presumed (e.g. expiry of copyright term): This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
accession number - 2013.2.95
System ID:

Full Text


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The first fight the Americans made in Pan-
ama was against disease.
Colonel W. C. Gorgas was the man who look-
ed after the health of the Canal Zone. In the
Spanish-American War it was learned that mos-
quitoes of certain kinds carry the germs of
yellow fever and malaria. From 1898 to 1902
Col. Gorgas was in Havana, Cuba, and suc-
ceeded in freeing that city of the disease. By a
special Act of Congress he was made assistant
surgeon-general with the rank of colonel. In
1904 he was sent to the Canal Zone where he
waged a war against mosquitoes, rats and mice.
Buildings were screened, houses and streets
were cleaned. Food offered for sale was pro-
tected from flies. Every person who entered
the Canal Zone was examined and all ships
were held until it was certain that no one had
any contagious disease. The Canal Zone had a


lower death rate than any other place in the
world. The work which Colonel Gorgas did
was as great as that of the engineers and this
was recognized by the United States. In 1914
he was made surgeon-general in the United
States army with the rank of a brigadier-
General Gorgas and his associates did more
than take care of the health of the people of the
Canal Zone. They proved absolutely that san-
itary conditions are possible in a tropical cli-
mate and that men can do both mental and
manual labor in the tropics. In 1913, Gen.
Gorgas went to South Africa at the request of
the British Government, where thousands of
Kaffirs were dying of pneumonia. After two
years there he eradicated yellow fever from
Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Copyright by The Keystone View Company

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