Cover: The Germ of Laziness: Rockefeller Philanthropy and Public Health in the New South, from Harvard University PressCover: The Germ of Laziness in E-DITION

The Germ of Laziness

Rockefeller Philanthropy and Public Health in the New South

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details

E-DITION

$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674333345

Publication Date: 10/06/1981

263 pages

illustrations

World

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

This award-winning first book chronicles the formation and five-year history of the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission for the Eradication of Hookworm Disease and its fight against the debilitating parasite, “the germ of laziness,” that, by the early years of the twentieth century, afflicted nearly 40 percent of our Southern population. The Sanitary Commission was not John D. Rockefeller’s first philanthropic venture, and certainly not his most ambitious; it was, however, one of his more interesting creations, later becoming the prototype for the Rockefeller Foundation’s early public health programs around the world.

John Ettling skillfully places this medical concern in the context of the history of public health and education and against the larger backdrop of American reform in the progressive years. He offers a glimpse into the conditions of life in the rural South at the beginning of this century and shows how the Commission formed an institutional bridge between an essentially individualistic, evangelical world and a modern bureaucratic one. His insightful descriptions of the personalities and backgrounds of the handful of men responsible for the Commission’s formation and management bring to light the evangelical roots that this ostensibly scientific undertaking rested upon.

In a broader sense, this study is concerned with the peculiar interweaving of innovation and tradition that marked reform movements in the Progressive Era.

Awards & Accolades

  • 1982 Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, Texas Institute of Letters
Racism in America: A Reader, edited by Harvard University Press, with a Foreword by Annette Gordon-Reed, available for free download in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: A Brief History of Equality, by Thomas Piketty, from Harvard University Press

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Thomas Piketty’s A Brief History of Equality

In his surprising and powerful new work, A Brief History of Equality, Thomas Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality. We asked him about his impassioned new book: why he wrote it, how it’s optimistic, and what we need to do to continue making progress on creating an equitable world.