Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the story of Mary Mallon, the Irish-born cook in... read more

Susan Campbell Bartoletti tells the story of Mary Mallon, the Irish-born cook in America who was found to be a typhoid carrier—a fact she refused to believe—and was held on Brother’s Island in New York City without charge and against her will for years. Bartolleti delves into the personalities of key players in Mallon’s fate, notably epidemiologist George Soper and health department doctor Sara Josephine Baker. She also focuses on the civil rights implications of Mary’s imprisonment. Mary Mallon was a strong, independent woman of the lower classes. Bartoletti conjectures how sexism and classism may have impacted how she was perceived and treated by Soper and Baker (who was a feminist and seemed to ultimately have more respect for Mary), as well as the media, which played a huge role in shaping public perception of Mary. Photographs, a timeline, and ample notes conclude the volume that offers rich possibilities for discussing point of view. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2016

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