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The Tropical World of Samuel Taylor Darling

Parasites, Pathology and Philanthropy

E. Chaves-Carballo is Clinical Professor of History and Philosophy of Medicine at Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas, USA. He worked as a physician at Gorgas Hospital in Panama and has published articles on yellow fever, malaria, tuberculosis, and history of tropical medicine in Lancet, Bulletin of History of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association and Military Medicine.

Samuel Taylor Darling (1872–1925), one of the world’s leading experts in tropical diseases in the early twentieth century, investigated malaria, hookworm, amebiasis and other tropical diseases in Panama, the Far East, South Africa, Brazil and the southern United States. As a pathologist, he performed more than four-thousand autopsies among employees of the Panama Canal Company who died between 1905 and 1914. This experience gave him a singular perspective on the anatomical pathology of tropical diseases. The results of his innovative work helped him to develop new concepts about diagnosis and treatment of malaria (spleen index and species-specific mosquito control); amebic dysentery (modified life cycle using rectal inoculation of parasites in kittens); and intestinal parasitosis (improved detection and treatment); tuberculosis (epidemiology among Panama Canal workers); and other diseases common in tropical regions. Darling is also credited with discovering histoplasmosis. For his pioneering work he was named an honorary member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Andrew Balfour, first Director of the Wellcome Laboratories in Khartoum, considered him “America’s foremost tropical parasitologist and pathologist.”

This book is the first full-length biography of this remarkable scientist. Primary research was conducted at the Rockefeller Archives, National Archives, Library of Congress in the United States, and libraries in Panama and the former Canal Zone. This work is essential reading for medical historians, and those interested in the history of sanitation and public health, malaria, and yellow fever; and provides a better understanding of the Panama Canal experience, and Rockefeller philanthropy in tropical medicine and hygiene.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-183-2
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $75.00
Release Date: May 2007
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No

Illustrations and Tables
Foreword by Gerald L. Baum

Chronology of Samuel Taylor Darling
Aboard the Cristobal, 1914

Part I Formative Years, 1872–1905
1. Scottish Ancestry
2. New Century
3. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore

Part II Panama Years, 1905–1915

4. Isthmian Explorations
5. Lure of Panama
6. Ancon Hospital
7. Board of Health Laboratories
8. Rand Mines, South Africa

Part III Rockefeller Years, 1915–1925
9. Uncinariasis Commission to the Far East
10. Institute of Hygiene, São Paulo, Brazil
11. Darling’s Paralysis
12. Station for Field Studies in Malaria, Leesburg, Georgia
13. Malaria Commission, League of Nations
14. Death Near Beirut


A Bibliography of Publications by Samuel T. Darling
B Faculty, Class Schedules, Registration, and Grades, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore
C Proceedings of the Canal Zone Medical Association
D Personnel and Staff, Board of Health Laboratories
E Discovery and Pathology of Histoplasmosis
F Visitors and Workers, Field Station for Studies in Malaria, Leesburg, Georgia
G Obituaries and Condolences
H Societies, Honors, and Commemoratives
H.1 Membership in Societies, Honors, and Commemoratives
H.2 Darling Medal and Prize, League of Nations and World Health Organization
H.3 Samuel T. Darling Collection, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, and Samuel T. Darling Memorial Library, Gorgas Hospital, Canal Zone
H.4 Darling’s Liberty ship: S.S. Samuel T. Darling
H.5 Darling’s mosquito: Anopheles darlingi
H.6 Besnoitia darlingi
H.7 Darling’s spiny rat: Diplomys darlingi

Name Index
Subject Index

The failure to achieve better control of these problems is closely related not only to personal poverty but poverty of governments that cannot afford to establish effective public health systems. In addition the lack of means in a large part of the world results in the crowding and poor hygiene that foster the spread and persistence of these diseases… This biography emphasizes not only the remarkable person that was Samuel Taylor Darling but also redirects our attention to the terrible world of parasite infestation of humans. The shock comes from realizing that what Dr. Darling had to deal with almost one hundred years ago is still a major problem in a great part of the world today.
From the Foreword by Gerald L. Baum, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University

Provides a well-researched biography of a remarkable scientist.
SciTech Book News

Chaves-Carballo is to be commended for providing scholars with a thorough and well-researched study of the career of one of America’s most important medical scientists and a pioneering figure in the history of American tropical medicine. In that respect, The Tropical World of Samuel Taylor Darling is a valuable contribution to the history of American medical science.

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