Snow on Cholera

  • Martin Goldstein
  • Inge Goldstein


John Snow (1813–1858) was the son of a farmer in York, England. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a surgeon in Newcastle, who sent him when he was 18 to attend the victims of a major outbreak of cholera in the vicinity. In 1838 Snow passed his examination in London and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. He quickly made significant contributions to medical research: he participated in the development of an air pump for administering artificial respiration to newborn children unable to breathe and invented an instrument for performing thoracic surgery. He made major contributions to the new technique of anesthesia, becoming the leading specialist in London in the administration of ether, but switching to the easier-to-use chloroform when his own experimental studies convinced him of its practicality. He administered chloroform to Queen Victoria on the birth of her children, Prince Leopold and Princess Beatrice. His greatest achievement was his study of cholera, which he described in his monograph “On the Mode of Communication of Cholera,” one of the classics of scientific method and a fascinating story fascinatingly written. Snow died in 1858, a relatively young man, while at work on a book entitled On Chloroform and Other Anaesthetics.


Lung Cancer Stomach Cancer Yellow Fever Cancer Rate Water Company 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Doll, Richard, and Richard Peto. The Causes of Cancer: Quantitative Estimates of Avoidable Risks of Cancer in the United States Today. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.Google Scholar
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  7. Terris, Milton, ed. Goldberger on Pellagra. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Goldstein
    • 1
  • Inge Goldstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Yeshiva UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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