NameJusino, Manuel A. (author), Pemberton, Stephen G. (chair), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Maass, Clara Louise,
United States. Army
DescriptionFrom 1900 to 1902 the U.S. Army conducted a series of yellow fever
experiments in Cuba. While some of the medical physicians involved in these
experiments have received recognition for the role they played in controlling
yellow fever, the vast majority of volunteers utilized during experimentation have fallen into obscurity. One such volunteer is Clara Louise Maass, the only woman to die in association with the army’s yellow fever experiments. Clara Maass served as a U.S. Army contract nurse in Florida, Georgia, Cuba and the Philippines during the War of 1898. While Maass’s activities are representative of contract nursing for the period, her uniqueness extends further than nursing during these years of nascent American Imperialism. In March 1901, Maass volunteered to be bitten by infected yellow fever mosquitoes at Las Animas Hospital in Havana. Three-out-of-eight volunteers utilized in this experiment died; with Maass being the third. Although these deaths were tragic, the publicity garnered by them – most notably the death of Maass as a woman and nurse – aided Havana’s sanitation department in ridding the city of yellow fever. Prior to August 1901, the majority of Havana’s population did not believe the results of Walter Reed’s yellow fever experiments produced at Camp Lazear– most notably the role of Aedes Aegypti as transmitter of yellow fever. But following the death of Maass, doubting residents better understood that mosquitoes could indeed transmit yellow fever. Maass’s death potentially serves as a significant event in the history of colonial medicine in Cuba when Havana’s population began to cooperate with the city’s sanitation officers to rid the region of Aedes Aegypti. With the success of controlling yellow fever in Havana, U.S. leaders acquired enough authority and prestige to continue forward in implementing yellow fever control efforts throughout much of Latin America. In this way, American leaders consciously utilized a war against yellow fever as an effective mechanism for making the Caribbean and Latin America viable territories for U.S. Imperialism.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Manuel A. Jusino
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.