Joseph James Kinyoun
Discoverer of Bubonic Plague in America and Father of the National Institutes of Health
Available for pre-order / backorder
About the Book
In March 1900, Dr. Joseph James Kinyoun, a Surgeon with the Marine Hospital Service and student of Louis Pasteur and Dr. Robert Koch, detected bubonic plague in San Francisco, while stationed on Angel Island as a federal quarantine officer. His discovery of the plague led to an immediate outcry from California’s governor, local and state politicians, and the city’s commercial interests. The hyper-sensationalized journalism of San Francisco’s newspapers leapt at the opportunity. Kinyoun would be ridiculed in the press for over a year, leading to death threats and a $50,000 bounty on his head. Eventually, California’s quarantine caused an enormous uproar.
In time, a special plague commission was installed by the U. S. Treasury Department. After the commissioners completed their report, Supervisory Surgeon-General Walter Wyman withheld it from the public leading to charges of a coverup. In the end, Wyman released the report, which totally vindicated Kinyoun, but a deal had been brokered behind the scenes wherein Kinyoun was removed from his post. This book tells a timely story about yellow journalism, coverup, corruption, the struggle between science and politics, and the consequences of blind denial of the truth.
About the Author(s)
Joseph K. Houts, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 35 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
Book Reviews & Awards
“Joseph Kinyoun was a highly important yet tragic figure in the scientific and medical fields at the turn of the early 20th century. Today his legacy has been largely forgotten, but this biography by his great grandson brings Kinyoun’s contributions vividly to life with a fresh perspective based on extensive research in his personal papers and multiple other sources.”—William E. Parrish, Professor of History Emeritus, Mississippi State University