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Film still: Pair of feet with leprosy.Leprosy in India
ca. 1931 / 12:00
School of Tropical Medicine [Hochschule für Tropenmedizin], Hamburg, Germany
Silent, black-and-white.



Burnet, Étienne. Report on the Study Tour of the Secretary of the Leprosy Commission in Europe, South America and the Far East. January 1929–June 1930. League of Nations Health Organisation. Geneva, 1930.

LNHO-C.H. 1042. League of Nations Health Organisation, Leprosy Commission. Note on an enquiry concerning leprosy. Geneva, June 4, 1931. League of Nations Health Organisation Archives, Box. 29098.

Further reading

British Empire Leprosy Relief Association. Annual report of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association. London, 1927–35. 9 vols. NLM Unique ID: 8003703

Buckingham, Jane. Leprosy in Colonial South India. Medicine and Confinement. Palgrave. London. 2002.

Gould, Tony. Don’t fence me in. From curse to cure: Leprosy in modern times. Bloomsbury Publishing. London. 2005.

Gussow, Zachary. Leprosy, Racism, and Public Health: Social Policy in Chronic Disease Control. Westview Press. Boulder/London. 1989.

Joseph, D.G. “‘Essentially Christian, eminently philanthropic’: The Mission to Lepers in British India.” Hist Cienc Saude Manguinhos 10 (2003) (Suppl 1): 247-75.

Kakar, Sanjiv. “Leprosy in British India, 1860–1940: Colonial politics and missionary medicine.” Medical History. 40.2 (1996): 215-30.

Moran, Michelle T. Colonizing Leprosy: Imperialism and the Politics of Public Health in the United States. University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill. 2007.

Obituary, “Ernest Muir.” Lancet 16 Nov 1974 2 (7890):1215.

Parascandola, John. “Chaulmoogra Oil and the Treatment of Leprosy.” Pharmacy in History 45.2 (2003): 47-57.

Robertson, Jo. “The Leprosy Asylum in India: 1886–1947.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 64.4 (2009): 474-517.

Stein, Stanley. Alone no longer: The story of a man who refused to be one of the living dead. Funk & Wagnalls Co. New York. 1963.

Vollset, Magnus. Globalizing Leprosy: A Transnational History of Production and Circulation of Medical Knowledge, 1850s–1930s. PhD-Dissertation, AHKR, University of Bergen. 2013.

Worboys, Michael. “The colonial world as mission and mandate: Leprosy and empire, 1900–1940.” Osiris 15 (2000): 207-18.

Films and videos on Hansen’s Disease/Leprosy at the National Library of Medicine

The Story of the Bibanga Leper Camp (Variant title: Song After Sorrow)
Director: E. R. Kellersberger
Producer: United States: American Mission to Lepers. A cooperative project of the American Presbyterian Congo Mission, the American Mission to Lepers, and the Belgian Colonial Government; produced by the 1938 Africa Motion Picture Project.
Date: 1938
Summary: This film shows Bibanga Leper Camp, a leper colony in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and shows that the patients become self-supporting during treatment. The film captures lepers learning to build their own houses, learning trades, and tending their gardens. The film also describes the making of chaulmoogra oil from the fruit of the hydrocarpus tree for use in the treatment of the disease. Scenes include: Christian church at the leper colony; patients weaving, tailoring, making pottery, blacksmithing, and building houses; children at play; crop cultivation; making medicine from their crop; injection of medicine; and church services.
NLM Unique ID: 8700113A

The Happy Village
Producer: New York, NY: American Mission to Lepers
Date: 1939
Summary: Portrays the daily life and activities among the lepers at the Chandkhuri mission in India. Shots include: street scene in Calcutta, India with lepers begging; Chandkhuri village (mission) for lepers, including fellowship, giving tests for leprosy diagnosis, medical treatment of injections of chaulmoogra oil, nursing, lepers working at typical household tasks, outdoors at a stone quarry, building, road repair, well-digging, farming, and making clothing, including dyeing, weaving, sewing. Shots also include: the ceremony of eating new rice, church attendance, and graduation from the colony.
Terms of Use: This item may be under copyright protection. Please ask copyright owner for permission before publishing.
NLM Unique ID: 8800477A

The Healing of M’Vondo
Producer: United States: The American Mission to Lepers Incorporated
Date: ca. 1939
Summary: With scenes of natural beauty and village life in the African countryside, this film tells the story of an African child named M’Vondo in Cameroon who contracted leprosy and was cured. We also see the varied, busy life of the missionary leprosy village where the child’s cure was effected. Shots include: exterior of mission hospital; leprosy lesions on M’Vondo; the leper colony (United Presbyterian Mission); the boy being injected at the mission dispensary; surgery in the mission’s operating room; woodworking, brick making, and building with bricks and mortar, all by mission patients; the more seriously afflicted doing basketry and weaving, metal work and pottery; lepers going to church, attending school classes, and at recreation, playing ball, cartwheels, races and leapfrog; being entertained by musicians and acrobats; and the final physical examination before dismissal.
Terms of Use: This item may be under copyright protection. Please ask copyright owner for permission before publishing.
NLM Unique ID: 8800150A

Purulia Pilgrimage
Director: Miller, Marjorie A.M.
Producer: United States: American Leprosy Missions
Date: 1952
Summary: Dr. Marjorie A.M. Miller made a cinematographic record of her visit to the largest missionary home and hospital for lepers in India, at Purulia in Bihar. Footage includes scenes of a man and his little daughter arriving at the compound and being examined by staff, of patients making baskets, spinning and carding fiber, knitting, and crushing bricks. A blacksmith patient is shown making gardening tools. Patients dress the grave of Dr. Edward David Landeman. Patients are photographed making sandals from discarded rubber tires. Non-leprous children of leprous parents are shown in the Healthy Children’s Home playing and eating. The lepers are seen being given a meal in metal dishes on the ground outdoors. A new patient is given a haircut, then takes a bath in a fishing pool. Patients are seen working in the gardens, working the irrigation channels, and exhibiting their vegetable produce. The treatment for leprosy used in this hospital is chaulmoogra oil by injection. A patient is shown being injected. Little boy patients are seen working in their garden, and celebrating because one of the boys has been healed and moves to the Healthy Boys’ Home. The male patients harvest rice and thresh it, and the women winnow it. A harvest festival, the distribution of weekly cash and rice, and Christmas celebrations are shown. The Christian foundation of the home and hospital is stressed throughout the film. A plea is made at the end of the film for contributions to be made to the American Leprosy Missions.
Terms of Use: This item may be under copyright protection. Please ask copyright owner for permission before publishing.
NLM Unique ID: 8800958A

Recognition of leprosy
Producer: Atlanta, GA: Communicable Disease Center, Public Health Service. Division of Hospitals.
Date: 1959
Summary: This film is designed to assist the physician in diagnosing leprosy. Lesions are shown. Patients with leprosy are shown. Diagrams illustrate the location of leprosy outbreaks worldwide and a second diagram shows where the outbreaks are located in the United States. The film explains the difference between lepromatous and tuberculoid leprosy. Evidence of lepromatous leprosy is found on the skin, mucous membranes, but there is little nerve involvement. In contrast, tuberculoid leprosy has nerve involvement. Examples of lesions found on the face, body, and feet are shown. The film also shows how to take a skin sample. Finally, the film provides a list of questions which assist in diagnosis.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101261601

Examination and preparation of skin smears for leprosy bacilli
Producer: Carville, LA.: Public Health Service Hospital Date: 1966
Summary: In this film skin samples are taken from the ear and arm of two leprosy patients. The film shows how these samples are processed chemically, how slides are stained, and how the slides are used for research.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101262116

The Girl from Rainbow Beach
Producer: Los Angeles, CA: American Broadcasting Company with the cooperation of the American Academy of General Practice.
Date: ca. 1970
Actors: Young, Robert; Brolin, James; Verdugo, Elena,
Related Title: Marcus Welby, M.D. (television program)
Summary: This episode from the television show Marcus Welby, M.D. concerns the diagnosis of a young woman with tuberculoid leprosy. Ellen Nielsen comes into Dr. Welby’s office with concern about a spot on her hand. When pressured, Dr. Welby tells her he thinks it’s Hansen’s bacillus. He says she probably contracted the illness while living in the Philippines as the child of a missionary. When the doctor is out of the office, Ellen looks in a medical dictionary and finds out that Hansen’s bacillus causes leprosy. She becomes very depressed partly because she is engaged to be married and she is unsure how her fiancée will react. At first, her fiancée, Jim Tyson, says he understands, but later in Dr. Welby’s office, he says that lepers are unclean based on the Bible. Ellen overhears the conversation and then goes to the beach intending to commit suicide. Dr. Welby convinces Ellen that she has a lot to live for. The film provides a great amount of accurate information about leprosy, the degree of contagion, quality of life, and dispels some medical myths about leprosy and people with leprosy.
Terms of Use: This item may be under copyright protection. Please ask copyright owner for permission before publishing.
NLM Unique ID: 101261612

Controlling Leprosy
Producer: Wardha, Maharashtra, India: Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation.
Summary: This film, produced in India and dubbed in English, examines methods of controlling leprosy in India, where the disease is endemic in some regions. Titles in English and Hindi; narration in English; dialogue in Hindi overdubbed in English.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101643118

Differential Diagnosis in Hansen’s Disease
Producer: Carville, LA: United States Public Health Service Hospital, The Training Branch with Samuel L. Moschella.
Date: 1977
Summary: Dr. Samuel Moschella of the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts uses clinical slides to present a program that visually depicts cutaneous conditions that, by observation, simulate Hansen’s disease.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101648905

Treatment of Hansen’s disease
Producer: Public Health Service Hospital at Carville, La. Training Branch
Summary: This is the third of four installments in a series titled Hansen’s Disease: An Approach to Understanding. It focuses on uncomplicated Hansen’s Disease and addresses the most effective drug therapies and how to determine when treatment has been successful. It begins with a case study in identifying and treating tuberculoid-type leprosy in one patient who grew up in an area of Texas where leprosy is endemic.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101649855

They Came to Carville
Producer: Carville, LA.: Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare, DHC Educational Resource Center
Date: ca. 1978
Summary: This videotape showcases the 1978 meeting of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP). The purpose of ILEP is to record history, purpose, and policy among various members of the organization. John Trautman, director of Gillis W. Long National Hansen’s Disease Center at Carville, provides background into the hospital, its research, and training. Dr. Vivian Chang, Assistant Surgeon General, talks about the health services administration. After the introductions, there is an orientation and a walking tour of the Carville facility. The second day there are bilateral meetings where members discuss possible projects. The video shows evening entertainment. The conference closes with a meeting of all the delegates.
Terms of Use: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain.
NLM Unique ID: 101493624

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