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Chasing DirtThe American Pursuit of Cleanliness$
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Suellen Hoy

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195111286

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195111286.001.0001

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City Cleansing

City Cleansing

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter Three City Cleansing
Source:
Chasing Dirt
Author(s):

Suellen Hoy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195111286.003.0003

This chapter tackles the aftermath of war where crusades for cleanliness reappeared as lack of hygiene posed new threats to the health and well-being of the nation and its citizenry posed an even great danger. Recognizing that the country's welfare and health depended on cleanliness, sanitarians once again urged Americans to observe sanitation. Citing experience gained from the war, there were steps made to curtail diseases but public apathy hindered reforms and public health recommendations. The chapter also discusses the adverse effect on cleanliness of the fast-rising industrialization of American cities that brought in multitudes of new people. Although not a cause of the cholera epidemic, crowded cities combined with the filthy surroundings of the metropolis accelerated the dispersion of disease. The terrifying cause of disease, especially cholera, prompted officials to create water sewers and impose rationing of clean water. It also prompted the involvement of various people and groups to upholding a level of cleanliness. Significant were Waring whose drainage expertise helped several American cities, Ada Sweet who headed the war against the filthy streets of Chicago, and Bartlett who adapted the methods of Waring.

Keywords:   cleanliness, Waring, Sweet, Bartlett, sewer, cholera, epidemic, sanitation

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