Joseph Jones (1833-1896) biographical file
Biographical file includes a Tennessee Historical Quarterly biographical article by Dr. Robert W. Ikard entitled "The Short and Stormy Nashville Career of Joseph Jones, Tennessee's First Public Health Officer.'
- 1989 - 1989
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Historical or Biographical Note
Joseph Jones, Nashville's first health officer, was educated at Princeton University. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1856. A fierce proponent of secession, Jones served as a Confederate medical officer during the Civil War, principally operating as an epidemiologist in the study of camp diseases and wounds.
Jones received an appointment as Nashville's first health officer in April 1867 and joined the faculty of the University of Nashville medical college. He characterized Nashville the dirtiest place he had ever seen, a stunning comment considering his wartime knowledge of Andersonville prison. In 1868 Jones presented a scientific paper to the Tennessee Medical Society entitled "On the Use of the Thermometer in Disease." His contract with Nashville was not renewed in 1868, and his tenure as editor of the Nashville Journal of Medicine and Surgery ended as the result of a faculty squabble.
After leaving Nashville, Jones taught medicine at the University of Louisiana and became the president of the Louisiana Board of Health. He pioneered in promoting the efficacy of the germ theory concurrently with Louis Pasteur. Jones died in 1896.
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