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An Iconography of Contagion was on exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences in the year 2008, and was the result of a collaboration between the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences (CPNAS) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health. The posters here, which are only a small sampling of the NLM’s collection, offer a glimpse of the visual system of iconography that was developed to communicate health concerns in the 20th century. From a historical perspective, the posters offer much more than originally intended. They are mirrors, reflecting the perceptions, biases and attitudes of the culture and era in which they were created.

J.D. Talasek, Director
Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences

Curator: Michael Sappol, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine
Contributor: Mary Elizabeth Wilson, Harvard Medical School & School of Public Health
Designer: Jonathan Ingram,
Coordinator: Alana Quinn

Eva Åhrén, American Lung Association, Douglas Atkins, Roxanne Beatty, Liping Bu, Anja Blazun, Ralph J. Cicerone, Carol M. Cicerone. William Colglazier, Roger Cooter, Rachel Core, Todd Danielson, Elizabeth Fee, Harvey V. Fineberg, Kenneth R. Fulton, Mitja Kosnik, Jan Lazarus, Patrice Legro, Joan Mathys, Ruth Peyser, Barbara Pope, Nadgy Roey, Nils Rosdahl, William Schupbach, Erika Shugart, William Skane, Cheri Smith, Thomas Söderqvist, Claudia Stein, Sandy Taylor, Terrence Higgins Trust (London, England), Paul Theerman, Dan Todes, Charles M. Vest, Saska Zdolsek

For comments, suggestions, contact Michael Sappol

An Iconography of Contagion currently exists in the form of a traveling show.
For information, booking contact Alana Quinn,

Touring Schedule

September 28, 2009 through January 29, 2010
Global Health Odyssey Museum, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road, NE at CDC Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30333

February 15, 2010 through June 1, 2010
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue, Charlottesville, VA 22908