Since the mid-nineteenth century, public health professionals have collected data about large populations to understand problems, and make changes that improve people's lives. A wealth of historical data on public health is found in OHSU Library, particularly its Historical Collections & Archives, which contain original studies, surveys, reports, and other records of public health in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Digitizing these archival collections makes data accessible to new generations of researchers. The records include public health surveys, early medical journals, records of the People’s Institute and Portland Free Dispensary, papers from the early career of Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy, records of state institutions, and more.
Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data provides previously hidden data in machine-readable formats for use by today's researchers. Items can be viewed and browsed from this page, or searched to find more specific materials via the search bar on the left side of the screen. While it is not currently possible to search only for files with data transcriptions, the majority of ledgers, annual reports, and public health surveys have transcriptions attached, as well as many other files. Additionally, the advanced search feature can be used to further narrow search results, however, due to the nature of this interface, restricting search results may result in not finding records that still pertain to your research. It is recommended that researchers utilize the broader search options and spend a bit more time with the materials. Future enhancements may be employed as technology options change.
For the most part, only structured data was transcribed, such as data tables, patient information ledgers, and research findings. Annual reports and similar items also often contain transcribed data regarding membership, attendance, and results of initiatives. Data transcriptions are linked directly below the download link for the record's full PDF.
Work on this project is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library. For more context, visit this narrative historical exhibit.
Medical Faculty, Willamette University
A February 1870 issue of a medical journal.