Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1949 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
What is behind the holding of "typhoid
mary" at oak park hospital?
"See that woman wearing the blue
dress, the one leaning out of the cor
ner window that's-Typhoid Mary."
The old lady shrunk back into the
room as she overheard the remark
while the man and woman on the
street below stopped and peered up,
eager to catch a glimpse of her.
With an expression of pained pride
the old lady sat down on the couch
by the wall. For a moment she looked
blankly out of the window over the
heads of the curious ones, then she
stretched sobbing upon the couch.
The woman was Mrs. Mary Burke
of Maywood; the place, the Oak Park
hospital. She is detained there un
der orders. Whose orders? Mrs.
Burke does not know.
It has been said of Mrs. Burke that
she is responsible for the 48 cases of
typhoid that developed among peo
ple who attended the Oak Park high
school banquet June 18. The salad
served at the banquet was blamed for
causing the typhoid. It was claimed
that Mrs. Burke made the salad.
Loop newspapers have printed col
umns about "Typhoid Mary." None
of their reporters have ever seen Mrs.
Burke. An attendant of the hospital
told Mrs. Burke that orders had been
given to the hospital that newspaper
men were not to be allowed to see
"I did not make the salad," Mrs.
Burke told the Day Book reporter in
her room at the hospital Tuesday
afternoon. "I was only a dishwasher
at the high school. The evening of
the banquet I peeled some potatoes,
but they had to be boiled before they
could be used. Wouldn't boiling kill
germs if I had any? The only things
I touched were vegetables that were
A week ago a machine drew up in
front of the home of R. J. Spears,
Maywood, where she lived. Police
men put her into it and took her to
the hospital. No warrant was shown.
Mrs. Burke is not under arrest.
"Go ask Dr. Prances B. Chapman,
suggested the hospital house physi
cian when asked who ordered Mrs.
In the office of the Oak Park health
department Dr. Chapman was found
at her desk. Out loud she was read
ing a page of a great stack of copy
that lay on her desk. It appeared to
be the transcript of an interview with
one of those who had been to the
high school banquet
"Did you eat any of the salad?"
The reporter heard her read this
question from the transcript
The reporter announced who he
was. "I cannot see you. I will not"
"Is Mrs. Burke being detained un
der order of this health department?"
persisted the reporter. "Ask Dr.
Bowers there," came the reply.
"Mrs. Burke is detained by Oak
Park authority under an order is
sued by the secretary of the Illinois
State Board of Health," said Bowers.
That ended the interview. As he
went out the reporter turned In the
anteroom. The door was slammed in
"I am treated fine here," said Mrs.
Burke. "But I do not know what I
shall do if I do not soon gain my
liberty. Now they are talking of
moving me to another hospital I
will not go. I am not ill. I have not
even been given a drop of medicine.
They do not even say I have typhoid.
I know I have never had it."
Friends of the old lady she is 55
are preparing to take drastic action
unless she is soon released unless
some one corned forward with a good
reason for her being held a prisoner.
They ask, "Are Oak Park health au
thorities merely trying to establish
an alibi for letting an epidemic de-.