1898 Typhoid Epidemic

In 1898, four hundred members of the Fifteenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry were hospitalized with typhoid after camping at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. U.S. Army surgeons decided the epidemic's source was the public water of Minneapolis.

Artificial Limb Industry in Minneapolis

The milling, logging, farming, and railroad industries that made Minneapolis a prosperous town in the late nineteenth century also cost many men their limbs, if not their lives. Minneapolis entrepreneurs, many of them amputees themselves, built on the local need and made the city one of the leading producers of artificial limbs in the United States.

Boynton, Ruth Evelyn (1896 - 1977)

Ruth Boynton was a physician, researcher, and administrator who spent almost her entire career at the University of Minnesota (U of M). She worked in public health and student health services. At that time there were few women in any of these fields. She was Director of the University Student Health Service from 1936 to 1961. It was renamed the Boynton Health Service in her honor in 1975.

C. Walton Lillehei and the Origins of Open-Heart Surgery

Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was a world-famous professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota and an innovator in the field of open-heart surgery. He participated in the world's first successful open-heart operation, developed techniques and devices that made open-heart surgery more successful, and pioneered the use of pacemakers and artificial heart valves.

Citizens League

Since 1952, the Citizens League has had a major impact on public policies in Minnesota. A group of civic leaders had the idea of inviting leaders from different parts of the community to the table to solve big policy issues. This meant bringing together lawmakers, union leaders, heads of Minnesota companies, and experts from universities and industries. As a group, these experts and leaders would study an issue and then write a research paper they could all agree on. Then they would do the political work required to make their conclusions a reality.

Crispus Attucks Home, St. Paul

In 1910 there were over sixty orphanages and homes for the aged operated by and for African Americans in the United States. Minnesota had one of them: St. Paul's Crispus Attucks Home. The home was named for the African American patriot killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770. It served the community for six decades, beginning in 1906 during the Jim Crow era and ending in 1966 at the peak of the civil rights movement.

Fergus Falls State Hospital

When the Fergus Falls State Hospital opened its doors on July 29, 1890, it became the first state institution in northern Minnesota for patients considered insane. The hospital had a sprawling campus and large stately buildings, built according to the influential asylum plan developed by Philadelphia physician Thomas Kirkbride in the 1850s.

Homicide at Rochester State Hospital, 1889

The 1889 death of inmate Taylor Combs led to a scandal, and then major reforms, at the Rochester State Hospital for the Insane.

J.R. Watkins Medical Company

"If not fully satisfied, your money cheerfully refunded." We take statements like this for granted today, but when twenty-eight-year-old entrepreneur Joseph Ray (J.R.) Watkins of Plainview, Minnesota, put that message on a bottle of his Red Liniment, he was a trailblazer.

Mayo Clinic

The name of Dr. William Worrall Mayo is synonymous today with high-quality, compassionate health care. Dr. Mayo and his sons, William and Charles, helped put Minnesota on the map when they founded Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children

The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children operated from 1886 to 1947. The campus is one of the most intact examples of a state cottage school standing in the United States, and is significant on a national level.

Minnesota State Sanatorium for Consumptives, Cass County

In 1906, construction began for the Minnesota State Sanatorium for Consumptives, or Ah-Gwah-Ching, about three miles south of Walker in Cass County. Overlooking Shingobee Bay on the south shore of Leech Lake, the hospital evolved into a massive complex of distinctive buildings.

Northeast Neighborhood House, Minneapolis

Constructed in Minneapolis in 1919, the Northeast Neighborhood House (NENH) served both as a portal into American society for newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe and as an advocate for the neighborhood's underprivileged. It is a notable example of a social institution created solely for the betterment of the disadvantaged.

How Health and Medicine Have Shaped the State

Progressive Public Health, Innovative Medical Enterprise, and More

Expert Essay: Jennifer Gunn, Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, touches on more than 300 years of state history to explain what has made Minnesota a medical mecca.

Ripley, Martha George (1843–1912)

Dr. Martha Ripley was an early advocate for women's health and welfare. She and her family moved to Minneapolis in 1883, just after she completed medical training at Boston University School of Medicine.

Seminary Fen Scientific and Natural Area

Seminary Fen is located between the cities of Chaska and Chanhassen, just across the river from Shakopee. In the twenty-first century, the site is a rare wetland, but the site was used long before the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) took control in 2008.

Sister Kenny Institute

The Sister Kenny Institute, opened in 1942, was a world-renowned center for polio treatment. Founded by Australian nurse Elizabeth Kenny, it was an early leader in the field of rehabilitation medicine and remains a prominent center for rehabilitation treatment and research.

State Board of Health Established, March 4, 1872

During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.

The Children's Blizzard of 1888

The winter of 1887-1888 was ferocious and unrelenting. But nothing prepared southwestern Minnesota for the January storm that came to be known as the Children's Blizzard.

The Smallpox Epidemic of 1924–1925

Minnesota's worst known encounter with smallpox came in 1924 and 1925. Five hundred people died—four hundred of them in the Twin Cities. Almost 90 percent of the Twin Cities deaths took place in Minneapolis.

The Starvation Experiment of Dr. Ancel Keys, 1944–1945

From November 1944 to late October 1945, Dr. Ancel Keys paid close attention to hunger. He supervised thirty-six young male volunteers in a "starvation experiment," funded by the U.S. Army. This landmark effort at the University of Minnesota led to broad new understandings of nutrition and health.