Images from the History of Medicine (IHM), we encourage you to take a look. The database contains over 70,000 images from the National Library of Medicine's historical collections. Researchers can browse through the database or search by keyword.
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The image above most likely was taken about 1914, when a bubonic plague scare in New Orleans triggered the passage of ordinances aimed at widespread rat extermination. These largely focused on rat-proofing buildings, and local architects subsequently received commissions through property management companies to assess structures for compliance. One such architect was Martin Shepard (1875-1962), whose records are housed in the Southeastern Architectural Archive.
Photograph credit: Bird's Eye View of a Shantytown, New Orleans, Louisiana, c. 1914. Images from the History of Medicine, National Library of Medicine. As viewed 14 May 2013.