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Web Extras

The Most Unspeakable Terror

Three undergraduates, together with a member of the DMS faculty, were the coauthors of the feature associated with these web-extras. The students dug into the Dartmouth archives, visited local town offices and historical societies, and perused gravestones in 19th-century cemeteries. Pictured here from the left are Billy Corbett, Emily Baumrin, and Amita Kulkarni; all are members of the Class of 2010 at Dartmouth College.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, puerperal fever killed untold thousands of women following childbirth. The disease, one physician said, was "the most unspeakable terror." DMS faculty members and students were among those who puzzled over the causes of puerperal fever. In the Winter 2009 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, Dr. Lee Witters, a DMS professor of medicine and biochemistry, and three Dartmouth College undergraduates recounted the role of DMS in the fight against the disease. (Click here to read the article.) Below are links to brief biographies of two DMS graduates who figured in this battle, a list of references for the article, and a list of DMS student theses—including several on puerperal fever—written from 1815 to 1882.

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