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Henry Rose Carter papers

Identifier: MS-10

Scope and Contents

The Carter Papers include correspondence relating to Carter's work on yellow fever and malaria as a surgeon in the Marine Health Service (later United States Public Health Service) and notes for drafts of his Yellow Fever: An Epidemiological and Historical Study of its Place of Origin. (Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company, 1931). Included are photographs of and newspaper clippings about Carter, in addition to a small collection of reprints and publications by Carter and others. Also included is the correspondence of his daughter, Laura Armistead Carter with Frederick F. Russell and other members of the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board, Wade Hampton Frost, of Johns Hopkins University, and others concerning her collaboration with Frost in the editing and publication of Carter's book. Also included are a series of eighteenth-century to mid-nineteenth-century documents principally belonging to Carter's great-grandfather, George Mason, of Spotsylvania and Caroline Counties, Virginia and to Mary Ann Brown, sister of Carter's mother.

Special Note:This collection should be consulted in conjunction with the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, Department of Historical Collections and Services, MS 1 (and in online version:, containing a substantial complementary deposit of Henry Rose Carter papers.


  • Creation: 1775-1947

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No Restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

No Restrictions

Biographical / Historical

Henry Rose Carter was born on Clifton Plantation, Caroline County, Virginia, August 25, 1851 or 1852. He attended Aspen Hill Academy in Louisa County, Virginia, and completed studies there in 1868. After teaching in a boys school in Nelson County, Virginia, he entered the University of Virginia, where he earned proficiency certificates in Mineralogy and Geology, and in Physics, and a diploma from the School of Pure Mathematics in June of 1872. In July 1873, he earned diplomas from the Schools of General and Industrial Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Applied Mathematics, and Civil Engineering. Subsequently Carter pursued an interest in Medicine, and he recieved an M.D. degree from the University of Maryland in March of 1879. That year he joined the Marine Hospital Service (later the United States Public Health Service) and over his career ascended through the ranks to become Assistant Surgeon General in 1915.

Initial postings with the Service took him to Cairo, Illinois -- where he met and married Laura Hook, of St. Louis, Missouri, on September 29, 1880 -- Memphis, Tennessee; San Francisco, California; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Service detailed him as a quarantine officer to Ship Island, Mississippi in 1888, and here began his researches with yellow fever, which he would quickly refine to an extremely high level of expertise. Carter's thorough and methodical observations of the appearance and development of the disease proved critical to Dr. Walter Reed's landmark demonstration of the mosquito transmission of yellow fever in 1900. Assigned to Cuba in 1899, Carter's tour of duty overlapped with those of Reed and the other members of the famous United States Army Yellow Fever Commission, who were able to learn first-hand of Carter's most recent conclusions.

Carter's long and distinguished sanitary career took him to the Panama Canal Zone in 1904, where he served as Chief Quarantine Officer and Chief of Hospitals for five years. He also undertook detailed investigations and control measures of malaria in North Carolina and elsewhere in the South, and became a founder of the National Malaria Committee. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board, he undertook additional investigation and control measures for yellow fever in Central and South America. His expertise recommended him to the Peruvian government, which named Carter Sanitary Advisor in 1920-1921.

Health problems at the end of his life compelled Carter to withdraw from active fieldwork, though he remained a highly valued consultant to the Health Board and a much-beloved and respected teacher for a new generation of sanitarians. Carter closed his career researching and writing the manuscript that his daughter, Laura Armistead Carter, edited and published posthumously in 1931: Yellow Fever: An Epidemiological and Historical Study of its Place of Origin.


4.25 Linear Feet


The collection has been organized into four groups. The bulk of the documents are arranged in chronological order, following these are folders of photographs. Reprints have been arranged by author's last name, and a final grouping contains oversize items--diplomas, etc.--and artifacts.

Physical Description

5.25 linear feet


Processed by:
Historical Collections Staff
Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Finding aid by:
Henry K. Sharp

Processing Information

Transfered 15 March 1983 from Alderman Special Collections. The collection was re-processed and entered into the Department's Manuscripts database (Access) in May of 2002. Processed by Henry K. Sharp of the Historical Collections and Services Department.

A Guide to the Henry Rose Carter papers, 1775-1947
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0722 United States