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The Kansas Government Information (KGI) Online Library
Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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Sep 27

Samuel Crumbine's Campaign Against the Housefly, 1919

Posted on September 27, 2019 at 12:23 PM by Bill Sowers

Samuel J. Crumbine gained national recognition as a public health official while serving as Secretary of the Kansas State Board of Health back in the early 1900s. He campaigned for public hygiene with slogans such as "Swat that fly!" and a drive to eliminate shared drinking glasses, replacing them with disposable cups.

We have an example of the anti-fly campaign in the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library for you in this week's KGI Blog. The State Board of Health issued monthly bulletins for many years which contained vital statistics, communicable disease reports, and other information for public health officers and medical professionals. The bulletins also included popular articles, cartoons, poetry and chatty tales for the general public on hygiene, disease prevention and other health related topics. In a way these Bulletins were the web blogs of their day, read and passed around by people across the state and nation.

We've pulled out a short series of articles and cartoons from the March 1919 Bulletin of the Kansas State Board of Health on "our ancient enemy, the fly," for your perusal. Actually that entire March 1919 Bulletin concerns itself with the effect of flies on human health and how people can prevent fly-borne diseases in their communities but we're giving you a sampling.

You can read the articles in KGI here:

A Selection of Articles on Controlling Flies
from the March 1919 issues of the Kansas State Board of Health Bulletin

If you'd like to look through the entire March 1919 Bulletin of the Kansas State Board of Health it's available here:

(Click on "1919-03" for the issue on flies)

The Kansas Historical Society has a short biography on Samuel J. Crumbine on their "Kansapedia" website:

For more in depth research you can view primary sources online on Samuel J. Crumbine at the Kansas Historical Society's "Kansas Memory" website: