TSHA releases free eBook on the history of pandemics and medicine in Texas "From Malaise to Miracles: Health and Healing in the Lone Star State" is available to download on TSHA’s website.


April 20th, 2020

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The coronavirus pandemic has altered the lives of millions of Americans, and the response to treat and contain the spread of COVID-19 is an unprecedented event for the current generation of Texans. Yet, this is not the first time the state’s inhabitants faced a significant public health crisis. In centuries past, the people of Texas endured several pandemics, epidemics, and outbreaks, and these events can provide insight and perspective into the challenges facing the state today.

According to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas, previous generations fought against the spread of several diseases, including measles, yellow fever, the Spanish flu, polio, and even the bubonic plague. In many cases, Texas researchers and doctors fought on the front lines against these epidemics, working to save the lives of individuals across the state and country.

To offer more insight into the history of disease and medicine in Texas, TSHA recently released a new eBook, From Malaise to Miracles: Health and Healing in the Lone Star State. Interested readers can request a free download on the Association’s website at https://bit.ly/TSHA-MtM.

The eBook features selections from the Handbook of Texas, TSHA’s freely accessible online encyclopedic resource on the important people, places, and events from Texas history. The nineteen entries inside the eBook offer details on the lives of renowned Texas doctors, such as Carlos Vallbona, who researched treatments for dangerous diseases; important facilities, including the Galveston National Lab, where scientists are studying threats to public health; and historic epidemics that affected the lives of thousands of Texans.

"Texans lay claim to a storied medical history,” said Dr. Heather Green Wooten, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Texas-Medical Branch and project lead for TSHA’s eBook. “From its beginning, the state has borne witness to outbreaks of disease, the establishment of world-renowned medical institutions, the training of physicians, nurses and researchers, and the discovery and implementation of new cures, treatments and preventatives.  Looking back to past epidemics in Texas, we see parallels to our current experience with COVID-19."

Included with the eBook download is a special collection of ten articles from the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, the Association’s journal on the history of Texas and the Southwest, that further highlight the medical history of Texas. In total, the eBook and selected articles from the Quarterly offer about 300 pages of thoroughly researched material on Texas history.

For more information on TSHA, the Handbook, and the Quarterly, visit www.TSHAonline.org.

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