John Mumford Swan's Sanitation Survey of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Virgin Islands
Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]
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John Mumford Swan was born on January 23rd, 1870 in Newport, R.I., and received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1893.
Swan spent his early career in Philadelphia. After completing his medical studies he was elected Resident Physician at the Presbyterian Hospital of Philadelphia from 1894 to 1895, and then Dispensary Physician at that institution from 1896 to 1908. Swan also served as Pathologist at Episcopal (1896-1897) and St. Mary’s Hospitals from 1903 to 1904, before serving as Director of the Laboratories of the American Oncologic Hospital (1908-1910). He also held several teaching positions, including Assistant Demonstrator of Anatomy from (1895-1903) and Demonstrator of Osteology (1900-1904) at the University of Pennsylvania; Instructor in Clinical Pathology and Tropical Medicine (1904-1910) at the Philadelphia Polyclinic; and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine (1910-1911) at the Medico-Chirurgical College.
Swan moved to Watkins, N.Y., to serve as Medical Director of the Glen Springs division from 1910 to 1911. He joined the U.S. Army Medical Corps (1915-1919) and served at Base Hospital no. 19 in France during World War I. After the war, Swan was sent by the Red Cross to the Dominican Republic and Haiti to conduct sanitation surveys of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Virgin Islands from 1919 to 1920. Swan finally settled in Rochester, N.Y., where he established private practice and served as Staff Physician (1921-1939) and Consulting Physician (1940-1943) to Park Avenue Hospital.
An author of many medical articles and anatomy manuals for students, Swan’s biggest literary achievement was the text, Prescription Writing & Formulary in 1910. Swan was a founding member and President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine from 1920 to 1921. He was also a member of many other professional societies, including the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the Medical Society of the State of New York. He was elected a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1900.
John Mumford Swan died on 22 Nov. 1949 in Rochester, N.Y.
The John Mumford Swan Sanitation Survey of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Virgin Islands collection documents Swan’s survey of health conditions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and sections of Virgin Islands from 1919 to 1920. The collection contains three series: “Reports,” “Correspondence,” and “Subject Files.” These series were arranged by their significance to forming Swan’s final detailed report of sanitary conditions in the Dominican region. Dates of the collection range from 1901 to 1920, though the bulk of material spans from 1919 to 1921. Researchers interested in John Mumford Swan’s career, the Red Cross involvement in early-twentieth century Dominican Republic, or of the medical components of the United State’s military occupation of the Dominican Republic and Haiti will find relevant material in this collection.
The “Reports” series contains reports produced by John Mumford Swan and others related to health conditions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands in the early twentieth-century. The series contains two subseries: “By John Mumford Swan,” and “By Others.” The series dates from 1901 to 1924.
The “By John Mumford Swan” subseries contains an annotated draft of Swan’s final detailed report on sanitary conditions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Virgin Islands. This report, which was submitted to the Executive Committee of the Red Cross in May 1920, appears first in the subseries. Also in the subseries are separated sections of the final report submitted by Swan to other organizations. These separated reports are filed under “From Detailed Report.” Swan also wrote a history of the Dominican Republic, requested by United States Bureau of Latin American Affairs. The subseries dates from 1919 to 1920, and undated.
The “By Others” subseries contains numerous reports produced by organizations such as the Red Cross, the United States Military, and Dominican Republic officials among others. These reports cover health and socioeconomic conditions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The folders are arranged alphabetically by the report’s geographic subject, and then alphabetically by the report’s title. The subseries dates from 1901 to 1924, and undated.
The “Correspondence” series contains letters exchanged between John Mumford Swan and official organizations, benevolent societies, and contemporaries in the medical field. The series contains four subseries: “Military and Government Officials,” “Red Cross,” “Other Aid Organizations,” and “General,” arranged by their significance to Swan’s sanitation survey. The series dates from 1919 to 1924.
The “Military and Government Officials” subseries contains correspondence between John Mumford Swan and United States Military officials involved in the occupation of Santo Domingo, as well as officials serving in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Swan exchanged numerous letters with Reynolds Hayden (Secretary of State for Sanitation and Beneficence in Dominican Republic) and Thomas Snowden (Military Governor of Santo Domingo), located in this subseries. The folders are arranged by correspondence subject or sender’s last name. The subseries dates from 1919 to 1921.
The “Red Cross” subseries contains correspondence sent between the Red Cross and John Mumford Swan, as well as from the Red Cross to others. Included in the subseries are numerous letters exchanged between Swan and Emmet White (Acting Manager of the Insular and Foreign Affairs). Also in the subseries are letters between Swan and Kay B. Urban, the American physician appointed to serve Seybo Hospital in the Dominican Republic. The folders are arranged by correspondence subject or sender’s last name. The subseries dates from 1919 to 1921.
The “Other Aid Organizations” subseries contains correspondence between Swan and benevolent societies involved in the Dominican Republic, including the Board for Christian Work in Santo Domingo and the Committee on Cooperation in Latin America. This subseries only contains two folders, which are arranged by the sender’s last name. The subseries dates from 1920, and 1922 to 1924.
The “General” subseries contains letters between Swan and others not directly involved in Swan’s sanitation survey. These include letters sent between Swan and medical contemporaries regarding controversial nominations to the United States Surgeon General. The letters also include letters between John Mumford Swan and F.F. Ramsey regarding a malaria antiplasma treatment that had been discredited by the medical community. The folders are arranged by sender’s last name, with the subseries dating from 1919 to 1921.
The “Subject Files” series contains written addresses, newspaper clippings, meeting minutes, photographs, and Red Cross policy material generally related to John Mumford Swan’s sanitation survey. Of significance in the series are the newspaper clippings reporting Swan’s survey, as well as a couple dozen photographs taken during Swan’s survey. Some of these photographs document physical sites while others are of Dominican residents with medical ailments. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject. The series dates from 1917 to 1922, and undated.
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Forrest Wright