TABLE OF CONTENTS
Register and Researcher's Guide
One of the consequences of the development of cities and people living closer together is the outbreak of disease. Public health problems, such as the Plague, cholera, smallpox, and other communicable diseases have been a major concern for hundreds of years. However, since Dallas is a relatively young area, the issue of public health has been a concern for a little over one-hundred years. In the 1870s, as Dallas grew from a small village to a large town, problems of sanitation and health became a major concern. The city government began passing ordinances to control disposal of wastes, sale and serving of food items, and the processing of milk products, in order to improve living conditions and control disease. With the appointment of Dr. Matt Cornelius as city health officer in 1873, the City of Dallas Health Department was created. Almost one-hundred years later, the Department became a division of the city's Department of Health and Human Services in 1982.
Significant Dates in the History of Public Health in Dallas
1870 -- City Hospital established, Wood and Houston Streets, for paupers and emergencies
1871 -- City of Dallas ordinance against unlicensed dogs
1873 -- Dr. Matt Cornelius becomes the first health officer
1873 -- Public Health Nurse, probably a volunteer position
1873 to 1898 -- Health officer is an appointed position
1876 -- City of Dallas ordinance extends the duties of the health officer to include quarantine of communicable diseases, inspection of private premises for unsanitary conditions, and treatment of injured city employees
1880 -- City sewer system established
1882 -- Position of City Scavenger created, who was responsible for sanitary conditions and removal of garbage
1882 -- Smallpox epidemic
1886 -- City of Dallas ordinance regulating the sale of fresh meat
1887 -- Garbage and refuse of all kinds were required by law to be placed in galvanized cans or tight wooden barrels with close-fitting lids.
1888 -- First regulation of milk and inspection of dairies
1889 -- Smallpox epidemic and Meningitis outbreak
1890 to 1891 -- Health officer recommended that all dwellings be equipped with sanitary toilets and that stagnant water around the intersection of Poydras and Commerce Streets be drained.
1892 -- Cholera and Scarlet Fever epidemics
1899 -- Health officer becomes an elected official for a 2-year term. This was later changed back to an appointed position.
1906 -- City chemist position established
1906 -- Milk inspection for tuberculosis
1906 -- Pure food and drug ordinance, City of Dallas allowed the city chemist to analyze food, drugs, and drink samples, required proper labeling of foods and the inspection of dairies and registration of milk sellers
1907 -- Blanton Pure Food Bill of Texas
1907 -- Smallpox, first general compulsory vaccinations of public school children - over 700 cases of smallpox reported during this epidemic
1907 to 1909 -- Opposition to the Pure Food and Drug Ordinance caused the city ordinance to be declared invalid
1908 -- Emergency hospital opened
1911 -- Another city ordinance for the maintenance of bakeries and canneries was passed
1911 -- Bacteriology lab funded
1911 -- First reference to public health nurse on city personnel lists
1911 -- New meningitis serum developed by Dr. Soprian
1911 to 1912 -- Meningitis outbreak in December, by January, 83 reported cases with a 45% mortality rate, by January 11-12, over 190 cases with 79 deaths reported.
1912 -- City of Dallas ordinance against expectorating on sidewalks, (part of TB control)
1912 -- Dallas Mothers Council provided for a nurse stationed in the Wesley Settlement House in South Dallas
1912 -- Health department moved to City Hall
1913 -- City hospital merged with county hospital and no longer under the supervision of the Public Health Department
1915 -- Bureau of Vital Statistics created, requiring official birth and death records
1915 -- Rating food establishments and physical exams for food handlers
1915 to 1916 -- Mosquito control
1918 to 1919 -- Influenza epidemic, St. Paul's Hospital turned over to the military
1919 to 1920 -- Director of Public Health created and position filled by Mr. Charlie Saville
1919 -- Nurse was sent to instruct mothers in the care of newborns
1919 -- Smallpox epidemic
1919 to 1935 -- * Division of authority between Director of Public Health and the City Health Officer, occasionally held by the same person, a city ordinance merging the two offices was passed in 1935. *
1925, Feb. -- Measles epidemic, 4,000 cases, 18 deaths
1926 -- Influenza epidemic
1926 -- Rat control
1928, March -- Smallpox epidemic
1929 -- Nursing staff of 7 - "Keep Babies Well" - slogan
1930 -- Diphtheria epidemic
1931 -- Creation of inspection districts
1931 -- Malaria and rodents biggest problem for public health
1931 -- Swimming Pool samples taken
1931 to 1932 -- Typhoid vaccine developed
1932 to 1934 -- Major campaigns against diphtheria
1939 -- Ordinance passed regulating the licensing of nursing homes
1940 -- Assistant Director's position created
1943 -- Typhus control - "All out" attack on Typhus
1944 -- TB Control Clinic established
1953 -- Vector control division expanded
1954 -- Dallas is a pilot city for the Salk vaccine (polio)
1957, April 2 -- Tornado
1958 -- Public Health Department moves to 1936 Amelia Ave.
1960 -- Tuberculosis (TB) skin testing begins
1962 -- Dallas pilot city for measles vaccine
1962 -- Department receives spraying equipment for mosquito control
1962 -- * City reorganization placed public health under the Department of Health and Human Services *
City of Dallas Health Department Officers and Directors 1873 - 1987
1873 to 1879 -- Dr. Matt Cornelius
1879 to 1881 -- Dr. John L. Carter
1881 to 1882 -- Dr. Marshall M. Newsom
1884 to 1890 -- Dr. John L. Carter, second term, non-consecutive
1890 to 1891 -- William Reid Wilson, M.D.
1891 to 1892 -- Charles M. Rosser, M.D.
1892 to 1898 -- Velie P. Armstrong, M.D.
1898 to 1902 -- John W. Hicks Florence, M.D.
1902 to 1906 -- James H. Smart, M.D.
1906 to 1911 -- Thomas B. Fisher, M.D.
1911 to 1915 -- Albert W. Nash, M.D.
1915 to 1917 -- Charles Saville; health officer becomes director 1919
1916 to 1917 -- Edgar Webb Loomis, M.D.
1917 to 1919 -- Alva Wood Carnes, M.D., director and health officer
1919 to 1921 -- Leslie C. Frank, director
1919 to 1921 -- Lane B. Cook, M.D., health officer
1921 to 1923 -- Colonel William T. Davidson
1923 to 1924 -- Lane B. Cook, M.D., health officer
1924 to 1927 -- Noah W. Andrews, M.D.
1927 to 1929 -- Manton M. Carrick, M.D.
1929 to 1931 -- Lane B. Cook, M.D.
1931 to 1965 -- James W. Bass, M.D.
1935 -- Ends possibility of health officer and director being separate people
1942 to 1945 -- Joseph M. Dowis, M.D., Acting Director, during World War II, Dr. James Bass serving in the war
1965 to 1972 -- Dr. Jal J. Dewlett
1972 to 1981 -- Dr. E. Lowell Berry
1981 -- Joseph R. Williams, Acting Director
1982 -- Callie Scruggs, Director of Health and Human Services
1982 -- Reorganization of Public Health under the Department of Health and Human Services
1982, Feb. -- Creation of Assistant Director over Public Health with a city health officer
1987 -- Adela Gonzalez, health officer
This collection contains the notes and drafts of an unpublished history of the City of Dallas Health Department from 1870 through the mid-1970s. In addition, correspondence, annual reports, studies, and statistical information from each of the divisions within the Health Department are available. An extensive collection of photographs covering the history of the activities of each division are also included. Bound in scrapbooks are newspaper articles on the Department and various health issues. The collection as a whole illustrates the growth of public health in Dallas from an underfunded one-man operation to a large, multi-faceted organization meeting the health needs of the citizens of Dallas.