Skip Navigation Bar
NLM logo

NLM Launches a New Banner Exhibition

January 2, 2019

Special Display and Online Exhibition Open January 11

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton’s America, a banner exhibition with a companion special display and an online adaptation. The exhibition opens January 11, 2019 to commemorate what would have been Alexander Hamilton’s 249th birthday.

In 1793, yellow fever ravaged Philadelphia, killing thousands and devastating the city’s infrastructure. Philadelphians confronted the outbreak in the absence of an effective cure or consensus about the origins of the disease. Medical professionals, early political parties, and private citizens seized on the epidemic to advance their respective agendas. As a result, Philadelphia’s sick and dying received care informed as much by public debate as by medical knowledge. Politics of Yellow Fever presents the story of how Philadelphia’s sick, anxious residents responded to the epidemic using an uneasy blend of science and politics. The companion special display traces the history of the disease from the 18th-century urban epidemics to Walter Reed’s discovery that mosquitos transmit the disease in 1900 and the advent of an effective vaccine.

The special display will be open to the public from January 11 to May 22, 2019 in the NLM History of Medicine Division (HMD) Reading Room on the first floor of the National Library of Medicine, Building 38 on the Bethesda, Maryland campus of the National Institutes of Health.

The online adaptation of Politics of Yellow Fever includes an education component featuring a K-12 lesson plan and a university module.

Visitor Information

Located on the Bethesda, Maryland, campus of the NIH, the U.S. National Library of Medicine is open Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission to all onsite NLM exhibitions is free. For more information, visit: To arrange a group tour, call 301.827-6479.


Alexander Hamilton

Engraved portrait of Alexander Hamilton, undated

Courtesy Bureau of Engraving and Printing


Yellow Fever Progression

Four illustrations showing the progress of yellow fever in Observations sur la fièvre jaune, faites à Cadix, en 1819, Etienne Pariset and André Mazet, Paris, 1820

Courtesy U.S. National Library of Medicine


Soldier blowing mosquito larvicide

Soldier operating a hand rotary-blower to apply mosquito larvicide, 1945

Courtesy U.S. National library of Medicine



Aedes aegypti mosquito in the biting position

Courtesy U.S. National Library of Medicine



The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: January 2, 2019