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“Dr. Vampire”: Benjamin Rush and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Showered with honors and gifts by European nobility but derided as “Dr. Vampire” by angry Philadelphians, no one observed the epicenter of the plague as thoroughly as Dr. Benjamin Rush.  In 1793, experience, vision, and foresight prompted Dr. Rush to attempt radical ideas to reduce the spread and impact of the disease. Politicians, merchants, and citizens refused to implement his theories. Aided by gunpowder, vinegar, mercury, chocolate, tapioca, cold baths, and cutting instruments, Rush took heroic and controversial measures to treat his patients. We will immerse ourselves in the tragic events of 1793 and conclude with the groundbreaking research of Walter Reed in the early 1900s. 



Essential Questions:

What can I learn from the past?
How am I connected to people and events from the past?
How did the decades of the 20th century change and shape American culture?
What causes change, and what stays the same?
What patterns develop in the course of history?
How are cause and effect shown throughout history?
How do historical and social events shape the future?
How is history interpreted to relate the past to the present?
How do the concepts of family, education, leisure, government, economics, religion, and communication define a culture?

History Standards:  8.1 A,B,C,D   8.2.6 A,B,C    8.3.3 A,B,C,D   8.3.6 A,B,C,D 8.3.9 A,B,C  

Reading Standards
: 1.1.5.A,G  1.2.A  1.3.A,F 1.6.A,B,D,E


“You are seriously great! Thank you so much for coming to our class. I was really entertained with the artifacts you brought in. They were so fascinating and unique. The way you explain things were so easy to understand and exciting that I actually wanted to learn more! J”
           Anne K.