From Flies and Filth to Food and Fever


The Florida Bureau of Health issued this broadside in 1916. It reflects the increasing awareness on the part of health institutions in the early 20th century of the microbial sources of disease, and it illustrates the efforts of state and local health agencies to combat what was seen as a primary cause of disease: unsanitary living conditions. Rendered in a style similar to the wall hangings and kitchen calendars produced for homes by advertisers, the illustrations depict the interaction between pests and food. The broadside reflects the early efforts of government agencies to translate advances in medical and biological sciences into effective health policy and higher standards of living. The tone of moral and practical instruction and the broadside’s appeal to the lessons of recent history are typical of its period.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Record Co., St. Augustine, Florida


Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 sheet : illustrated ; 54 x 29 centimeters


  • Printed on cloth; text in red within etched illustrated border. First lines: "The State Board of Health of Florida asks you to carefully and attentively read this card; Then put the question directly to yourself, whether flies should not be destroyed, or, at least, an effort be made to keep from pollution food prepared for you to eat." Last lines: "Look at the marginal illustrations. They are disgusting, it is true. So are flies. The disgust that your stomach receives through your eye is as nothing, however, to the probable and possible benefit which you will receive by giving due heed to the warnings suggested by the etchings."

Last updated: October 17, 2011