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Alexander Parry

Please join us in congratulating PhD Candidate Alex Parry on publication in the latest issue of ISIS of his article, “Delivering Bacteriology to the American Homemaker: Correspondence Education, Kitchen Experiments, and Public Health, 1890–1930.

Congrats Alex!


Over the course of the Progressive Era, revised scientific accounts of the connections between dust, germs, and disease recast debates over public health. The American School of Home Economics and other institutions affiliated with the emerging subfield of household bacteriology regarded detecting and eliminating pathogens as necessary means to achieve safer homes and communities. Although several historians have attributed the rise of early twentieth-century technocracy and the decline of grassroots health activism to germ theory, household bacteriology complicates this standard narrative. Educators like Sophronia Maria Elliott (1854–1942) rejected the command-and-control tactics of the “new” public health and instead instructed women how to culture microorganisms and to measure the risks of infection within their surrounding environments using kitchen experiments. Household bacteriologists aspired to train “sanitary citizens” with the right and the duty to test for germs with everyday equipment, to prevent disease with effective housekeeping, and to advocate for policies and infrastructure to keep society well.


Congratulations to HoM Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Antoine Johnson, who just won the 2023 Pressman-Burroughs Award from the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM)!  This well-deserved early career award recognizes Antoine’s exceptional promise!

Pressman Award

Jack D. Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development
Award in 20th Century History of Medicine or Biomedical Sciences

This award honors Jack D. Pressman, Ph.D., a distinguished historian of medicine and Associate Professor of the History of the Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco at the time of his early and unexpected death in June 1997. The award and stipend of $1,000 is given yearly for outstanding work in twentieth-century history of medicine or medical biomedical sciences, as demonstrated by the completion of the Ph.D. and a proposal to turn the dissertation into a publishable monograph.