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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Brigitte Holt

Second Advisor

Thomas Leatherman

Third Advisor

Emily Hamilton

Subject Categories

Biological and Physical Anthropology


Tuberculosis has played a major role in the social history of human disease and the development of the human epidemiological models. The demographic and epidemiological shifts of TB mortality/morbidity rates are attributed to the rise of state-controlled improvements in hygiene legislation, early public health campaigns, nutrition, and improved air and water quality. Although these campaigns addressed diverse needs of the working class, few public health campaigns saw as considerable attention in public policy, institutionalization, and improved sanitation as TB. Research on the role of public health and TB have addressed these dynamics from a historical or biomedical perspective; consequently, direct evidence of the biological impacts of the management of women’s bodies through public health policy and TB remains understudied. This project addresses the relationships between the manifestations of TB and social identity, particularly race and gender, and its complex, synergistic relationship to social institutions, overall health, and mortality in the United States within the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This project seeks to examine these relationships with three lenses, the body, social identity, and public health institutions, in women in Cleveland, Ohio through a mixed methods approach utilizing archival records, vital statistics data, and osteological remains from the Hamman-Todd Osteological collection (HTC).

Results from this study suggest early life health experiences may not play a role in increasing TB mortality; however, the women in the HTC were under high frequencies of physiological stress across their life course. Social identity in Cleveland increased risk of TB mortality, particularly for young adults (15-31) and those of lower socioeconomic status (SES). Finally, the archival and osteological data from this study suggest that public health improvements enacted in this era may have had only limited improvements in the general population due to decreased access for Black women.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, September 01, 2024