John M. Eyler

History of Medicine
+1 253 851 7311
Eyler sitting at a table in a library.

I am a historian of modern medicine and public health with special concern for developments in Britain and America. I did my graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the history of science completing my Ph.D. in 1971 and continuing for two years on a postdoctoral fellowship in the history of medicine. My research interests include the social and intellectual history of modern medicine particularly the history of social medicine and public health, the history of epidemiology, and the evolution of theories of disease. Problems of aggregates interest me in particular. How have we decided what causes disease; how do we change our minds about such causes; how do we decide whether an intervention is effective, how can we promote health and prevent disease, and how can we provide health care most effectively? These are all questions that involve groups of people and mass evidence. They pose special problems for health care professionals and policy makers, and they provide useful points of analysis for historians.


Selected publications:

Sir Arthur Newsholme and State Medicine, 1885-1935 (Cambridge University Press, 1997).

Victorian Social Medicine: The Ideas and Methods of William Farr (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979).

"De Kruif's Boast: Vaccine Trials and the Construction of a Virus." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 80 (2006): 409-438.

"Smallpox in History: The Birth, Death, and Impact of a Dread Disease." Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 142 (2003): 216-220.

"Scarlet Fever and Confinement: The Edwardian Debate over Isolation Hospitals." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 61 (1987): 1-24.