Guide to the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports
1894-1983

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Seattle (Wash.). City Clerk
Title: Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports
Dates: 1894-1983 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1.6 cubic ft. ((4 boxes))
Collection Number: 1802-G6
Summary: Annual reports of the Seattle Department of Health and Sanitation and the Seattle and King County Department of Public Health. Reports include information on sanitation, infectious disease, sewer systems, slaughterhouses, inspections, condemnations, and health and mortality statistics. The 1939-1943 report is a 433-page history and survey of public health in Seattle.
Repository: Seattle Municipal Archives

PO Box 94728
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 3
Seattle, WA 98124-4728
Phone: 206/233-7807
Email: archives@seattle.gov
http://www.seattle.gov/cityarchives

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Seattle City Council created the position of Health Officer in 1877 to abate nuisances affecting the public health and to prevent the spread of contagious disease, especially samllpox. Between 1877 and 1890, ten different local doctors served as Health Officers. The Department of Sanitation, under the direction of the Board of Health, was created in 1890 under the City's first home rule Charter; the Board had authority to appoint a Health Officer. The Board of Health was imbued with authority to supervise the health and sanitation of the City. A Market Inspector, under the supervision of the Health Officer, was appointed in 1891 to regulate the sanitation of Seattle's public markets. A City Charter amendment in 1908 abolished the Board of Health, replacing it with a new Department of Health administered by a Commissioner of Health appointed by the Mayor. Researchers should see pages 77-107 in the 1939-1943 Annual Report for a detailed history of the health and sanitation department from 1877 to 1943.

The Department of Health merged with the King County Department of Health in 1951. Prior to 1981, the City of Seattle administered the department with the two jurisdictions providing funding in proportion to their populations. Reorganization in 1981 placed administrative control in the hands of the County while the City retained direct policy and funding control over the Seattle Services Division. Departmental records are managed by King County.

Content Description

Annual reports date from 1894 to 1962. Early reports include information on sewers and solid waste in the City; these were issues closely related to health conditions. There are two reports for 1896. One is the annual report of the Department of Sanitation for the first and second districts recording complaints, nuisances, inspections, and condemnations. The other 1896 report is by J.H. Swyney, Sanitary Inspector in the Department of Sanitation, on public schools and kindergartens; the report discusses plumbing and sewer systems. The 1899 report from the Department of Sanitation is for the year 1899 and is by M.E.A. McKechnie, Health Officer and Secretary of the Board of Health. The report has a lengthy narrative preceding the statistical report. The report includes a list of health-related legislation passed during the year, reasons why the Health Officer should not also act as city physician, as specified in the Charter, and a discussion of unsanitary localities and mortality statistics. This report also includes a report by the quarantine inspector and a report on slaughterhouses. Other early reports are an 1896 Plumbing and Market Inspectors report and an 1896 Market Inspectors report. The 1896 Market Inspectors report is statistical and includes numbers for complaints filed, gallons of milk inspected, and pounds of meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables condemned. The second and third reports from the Market Inspector date from 1908 and 1909. The 1908 report is a letter pleading for more space at the Pike Place Market; the 1909 report is one page in length and describes space as “adequate.”

Reports from the sanitary department from 1905 to 1910 do not contain detailed statistics but include information on contagious disease, food and plumbing inspections, care of the sick poor, and, in the 1910 report, expectoration. Reports for the years 1912 to 1916 are very detailed in both the narrative and statistical sections; in cases where both published and unpublished reports exist, both were included. The 1932-1935 report traces most statistics from 1901 to 1935. The 1939-1943 report is a 433-page history and survey of public health in Seattle and includes a brief history of the city and agency histories for the City.

Reports in the 1940s and 1950s include information on venereal disease, dog bites, and statistics on the County as well as the City. In 1942, a separate report exists for Firland Sanatorium. Combined reports for King County and Seattle exist beginning in 1947, prior to the merger. Beginning in 1983, reports are less detailed than those from earlier years. Reports date through 1983, although there is not a report for every year.

Records were originally filed with the City Clerk in the Comptroller/Clerk's Files (CFs) and were removed to create this record series. Additional copies of annual reports for the Health Department are located at the Puget Sound Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Records are open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

[Item and date], Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports, Record Series 1802-G6. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Reports are arranged chronologically by year.


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and Department of Health Annual Reports, 1894-1983
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box/Folder
1/1 Health Officer Annual Report 1894
1/1 Health Department Annual Report 1894
1/1 Health Officer Annual Report 1895
1/1 Health Department, Plumbing and Market Inspectors Annual Report 1896
1/2 Health Department, Milk, Meat, Food, and Sanitation Annual Report 1896
1/2 Health Department, Annual Report on Public Schools and Kindergartens 1896
1/2 Health Department Annual Report 1899
1/3 Health Department, Public Market Inspector Annual Report 1908
1/3 Health Department Market Inspector Annual Report 1909
1/4 Health, Board of, Annual Report 1905
1/4 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1908
1/4 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1909
1/4 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1910
1/5 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1912-1914
1/6 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1913
1/6 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1914
1/7 Health and Sanitation, Department of, Annual Report (published) 1915
1/7 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1915
2/1 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1916
2/2 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1916
? Health and Sanitation Photographs 1916
2/3 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1917
2/4 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1918
2/5 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1918-1919
2/6 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1920
2/7 Health and Sanitation Annual Report (published and unpublished) 1921
3/1 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1922
3/1 Health and Sanitation, Department of, Annual Report (published) 1923
3/1 Health and Sanitation, Department of, Annual Report (unpublished) 1923
3/1 Correspondence regarding collection of swill (includes subpoena for Mayor Hugh M. Caldwell to testify in Cornelius Cafe vs. City of Seattle and Pacific Meat and Packing Co.) 1923
3/2 Health and Sanitation, Department of Annual Report 1924
3/2 Health and Sanitation, Department of Annual Report 1925
3/2 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1929
3/2 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1930
3/3 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1931
3/4 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1932-1935
3/5 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1935
3/6 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1936-1938
3/7 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1939-1943
3/7 Health Commissioner - Firland Sanatorium Annual Report 1943
3/8 Health and Sanitation Annual Report 1944
3/9 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1945
4/1 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1946
4/2 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1947
4/2 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1947
4/3 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1948
4/4 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1949-1951
4/4 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1949
4/4 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1950
4/4 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1950
4/5 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1952-1955
4/5 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1953
4/5 Sanitation Division (introductory material for visitors) 1953
4/5 Department of Public Health Annual Report (Preliminary) 1956
4/6 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1962
4/6 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1963
4/7 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1969
4/7 Department of Public Health Annual Report 1971
4/7 Department of Public Health Annual Report ("Highlights") 1972
4/7 Department of Public Health Annual Report ("Public Health in the 80's") 1980-1983

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Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

    • Geographical Names :
    • King County (Wash.)
    • Seattle (Wash.)
    • Subject Terms :
    • Community health services--Washington (State)
    • Food adulteration and inspection--Washington (State)
    • Health boards--Washington (State)
    • Public health--Washington (State)
      • Form or Genre Terms :
      • Annual reports
      • Other Creators :
      • Seattle (Wash.). Board of Health
      • Seattle (Wash.). Dept. of Health and Sanitation
      • Seattle and King County Dept. of Public Health

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