In 1878, one of the worst yellow fever epidemics in the history of the United States struck Memphis, Tennessee. This study uses geographic information systems (GIS) to trace the spread of yellow fever during the epidemic by identifying and analyzing areas of disease mortality across time. Methods from geography, history, and epidemiology are employed in a multidisciplinary examination of this catastrophic event. This work contributes new knowledge about the epidemic, provides a methodological expansion to the subfield of historical geographic information systems (HGIS), and it identifies and corrects an error in an important primary source. This study demonstrates the importance of GIS as a tool in historical research and shows how it can enhance the understanding of historical events.
A portion of the project has been published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2015): “Historic Disease Data as Epidemiological Resource: Searching for the Origin and Local Basic Reproduction Number of the 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Memphis, Tennessee”
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