About this collection

The images contained in Visual Representations of the Third Plague Pandemic Photographic Database and their accompanying text should be read as a historical record of understandings of and responses to plague in the course of the third plague pandemic (1894-1959, following the established chronology of the World Health Organization). In the course of the pandemic, multiple theories about plague, its aetiology, transmission pathways, reservoirs and disease ecologies were developed, in many cases reflecting epistemic, social and/or political prejudices at the time. Portrayals of plague and of the ways of containing, treating and preventing it depicted in the images of this collection and accompanying texts do not necessarily reflect current scientific knowledge and may be biased, erroneous and/or inaccurate. Making these images available does not entail an endorsement of the social, political, moral or other views expressed by the historical producers, editors and/or annotators of these photographs.

The content of these images, and their accompanying text may be disturbing to some viewers. Particular caution is advised as regards photographs bearing the keywords “patient”, “symptom”, and “corpse”. In some cases images and their original captions or texts may express erroneous attributions of plague-related infection, involving racial, religious, gender, ethnic and/or class profiling. Individuals accessing these images should not use them in any way that may cause or incite discrimination and/or prejudice or in any way that may cause harm or distress to any person and/or the community depicted.

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