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Nicholas Chervin papers

Identifier: MSS 2/141

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of fifty-seven responses from fifty-six Philadelphia physicians to Chervin's 1821 survey concerning each physician's experiences with and beliefs regarding the contagious nature of yellow fever.


  • 1821 - 1832


Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Chervin, French physician and yellow fever researcher, was born on 6 October 1783 at St. Laurentd'Oingt. He died at Bourbonne les Bains on 14 August 1843.

Chervin received his M.D. from the University of Paris in 1812. He then studied typhus in a military hospital in Mainz and became Surgeon at the Hotel Dieu in Lyon. In 1814, Chervin travelled to Guadaloupe to study yellow fever. In pursuit of his research, he sojourned in the United States from 1818 to 1822, then went to Spain in 1823, and Cadiz and Gibraltar in 1828.

Chervin was an ardent believer in the non contagiousness of yellow fever. He wrote several monographs on the subject and campaigned for the elimination of quarantine on the basis of his research. From 1820 to 1822, Chervin wrote to physicians in most of the port cities of the East Coast of the United States, from Portland, Maine, to New Orleans, Louisiana, gathering information regarding the experiences of each physician with yellow fever and his opinion regarding the contagious or non contagious aspects of the disease. The single largest group of responses came from physicians in Philadelphia. The majority of Chervin's respondents did not believe in the contagiousness of yellow fever.


1 volume

Language of Materials


Nicholas Chervin papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States