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Flying the Quarantine flag

THE FORGOTTEN OF ELLIS ISLAND
Deaths in Quarantine, 1909-1911

 

QUARANTINE, A NATIONAL AFFAIR

Source: The Outlook, Vol. CX, 12 May 1915, pages 55-56

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      In the United States there are only two ports whose quarantine stations are managed by local and State authorities. These are Baltimore and New York, the latter the most important port in the Western Hemisphere, and more than all others the one port in America, it would seem, in which quarantine should be the subject of National control.

      In 1892 the New York Academy of Medicine placed itself at the head of the movement to secure Federal quarantine for New York, and has been fighting with unflagging zeal for this cause since that time. Owing to the grave danger that the epidemics which are beginning to sweep over Europe will be brought to this country by the rush of immigration expected after the war, the Academy has begun to press the issue wit renewed vigor, and recently held a meeting in New York City, at which ex-President Taft was the principal speaker, in favor of transferring the New York quarantine station to Federal supervision. Other prominent Americans who urged this measure be word or letter were Major-General William C. Gorgas; Miss Julia Lathrop, Chief of the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor; Commissioner Daniels, of the Inter-State commerce Commission; President Hibben, of Princeton University; Dr. Charles W. Eliot; Dr. Harvey W. Wiley; the health commissioners of a dozen or more American cities; and the New York Republican Club, which cheerfully urges that the quarantine post, indubitably a fat political plum, be transferred from the jurisdiction of a Republican State administration to the supervision of a Democratic National Administration.

      No question has been raised concerning the qualifications of the present quarantine officer at New York, however. But, for social, administrative, and political reasons, modern maritime quarantine is a matter essentially National in character and importance.

      For instance, as Dr. E. H. Lewinski-Corwin, of the New York Academy of Medicine, points out, "when New York quarantines vessels and passengers infected with malaria, it is not protecting the citizens of New York so much as those of the South."

      The United States cannot guarantee the uniform observance of the international quarantine agreements to which it is a party unless all quarantine stations are under its control. Moreover, all the services relating to the administration of the Port of New York are under Federal control except quarantine, which is logically part of the immigration service.

      Finally, it is not fair that New York should bear alone the expense of a health protection outpost whose services benefit every State in the Union.

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Source: The Outlook, [New York, NY: The Outlook Company], Volume CX, May-August 1915, published 12 May 1915, pages 55-56. Copy found on Google Books.

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