Terrible Typhoid Mary

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Terrible Typhoid Mary

One of the few photographs of Mary shows her in Willard Parker Hospital in 1907, where typhoid bacteria was found in her stool. From 1900 to 1907, Soper found that Mallon had worked at seven jobs in which 22 people had become ill, including one young girl who died, with typhoid fever shortly after Mallon had come to work for them.After a short stay at the Willard Parker Hospital, Mary is transferred to Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island. She is kept in a private cottage on the grounds of the hospital.

Mary Mallon immigrates to New York at the age of 14 or 15. She stays for a time with an aunt and uncle in Queens. She is soon employed as a domestic servant, cooking for wealthy families in NYC. Her specialty was homemade peach ice cream.








Her real name was Mary Mallon. She was born on September 23, 1869, in Cookstown, a small village in the north of Ireland. Mallon’s hometown in County Tyrone was among one of Ireland’s poorest areas.

Mary dies at the age of 69, after a bout with pneumonia. Her remains are buried in St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

The press began publishing slanted views of Mary Mallon in the newspaper. Since Mary was the first "healthy carrier" of typhoid fever in the United States, she did not understand how someone not sick could spread disease -- so she tried to fight back. In June of 1909, Mary files a Habeas Corpus Application in her first legal attempt to be set free. Mary's appeal is denied.

After the new Health Commissioner takes office Mary is released from North Brother Island on the condition that she no longer work as a cook. Though Mary adhered to the terms of her release for a time, she eventually assumed the name Mary Brown and returned to cooking. She was discovered at the Sloane Maternity Hospital after twenty-five people came down with Typhoid Fever and two eventually died. Mary spent the remaining 24 years of her life on North Brother Island.

By: Stacie Unrau

Read All About It!

Terrible Typhoid Mary

Mary cooks for the Warren family in the summer home they rent from Mr. and Mrs. George Thompson of New York City. Six out of the eleven people in the household develop Typhoid Fever. Concerned that they will not be able to rent their home again if the source of the outbreak is not discovered, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson hire medical investigator Dr. George Soper to find the cause of the outbreak.

Dr. George Soper identifies Mary Mallon as the source of the outbreak in Oyster Bay, and discovered that typhoid outbreaks had followed her from job to job. However, he needed stool and blood samples from Mallon to scientifically prove she was the carrier. He tracks her to the home of her new employer, the Bowen family. After two attempts to convince Mary to surrender herself willingly, Mary is taken by force to the Willard Parker Hospital.

Oyster Bay

The Hospital


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