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Sanitary Commission

Posted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:21 pm
by hsargent
I was reading an old booklet of my dad's, "The Man with no Country". I read in the introduction that the author was a member of the Sanitary Commission of the US. I looked this up and this term came for UK and it is the care for sick and wounded soldiers. This reference was for our Civil War. England's was for the Crimean War.

I did not learn when this term went out of favor. It seems a strange designation. I would guess our US version changed to the Veterans Administration.

Re: Sanitary Commission

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:21 pm
by Bobinwales
I have never heard of it either. I remember when I was a boy that the Council used to employ Sanitary Inspectors, but they are called Environmental Health Officers now.

Re: Sanitary Commission

Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:39 pm
by Erik_Kowal
A quick Google search on "Sanitary Commission" "Crimean War" led me to articles like those here and here.

It is clear from those that the original use of the term relates specifically to an initiative to improve hygiene in a Crimean military hospital, and not to an organization like the US Veterans Administration (VA), whose remit encompasses a much wider set of functions connected with the welfare of ex-military personnel.

Wikipedia's article on the United States Sanitary Commission says:
The United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief agency created by federal legislation on June 18, 1861, to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War.[1] It operated across the North, raised an estimated $25 million in Civil War era revenue (assuming 1865 dollars, $385.16 million in 2015) and in-kind contributions,[2] to support the cause, and enlisted thousands of volunteers. The president was Henry Whitney Bellows, and Frederick Law Olmsted acted as executive secretary. It was modeled on the British Sanitary Commission, set up during the Crimean War, and from the British parliamentary report published after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.[3]
As for the VA, the Wikipedia article on the VA states:
"The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the president to 'consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans' ".
In other words, the VA was set up as a generalized bureaucracy with functions that had nothing specifically to do with sanitation.

Re: Sanitary Commission

Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:44 pm
by Wizard of Oz
Erik not sure if it is mentioned in your referenced articles but,
Bostridge points out that in the early 1880s Nightingale wrote an article for a textbook in which she advocated strict precautions designed, she said, to kill germs. Nightingale's work served as an inspiration for nurses in the American Civil War. The Union government approached her for advice in organising field medicine. Although her ideas met official resistance, they inspired the volunteer body of the United States Sanitary Commission. (Source: Wikipedia)
This was good memory on my part as I had recently watched a doco on Florence N about her use of statistics to support her claims. It spoke at length about her use of diagrams to present data.

WoZ of the lamplight