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THE WATER-SUPPLY OF Towns. By Wu. Ripley Nichols, Professor of General Chemistry in the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology. This paper presents the results of chemical examinations made at various times during the year 1873, in pursuance of the inquiry begun the previous year, into the present condition of the running streams of the State.

The streams which were selected as the subject of the present investigation are the Merrimack, Blackstone, Charles, Sudbury and Concord. The Merrimack is an example of a stream of very considerable size, on the banks of which are large manufacturing towns; the Blackstone is an example of a stream receiving a large amount of town-sewage besides manufacturing refuse; the Charles and Sudbury are rivers of rather different character, the investigation of whose condition possesses additional interest from the fact that they have been proposed as sources of water-supply for Boston and neighboring cities.

The condition of the water-supply afforded by Lake Cochituate and by Mystic Lake is considered at some length, and attention is called to the danger which threatens these reservoirs from the influx of foul materials. An investigation has also been made of the character of the water supplied to the cities of Waltham and Lowell,-Waltham being supplied from Charles River by means of a filter-basin, and Lowell from the Merrimack by means of a filtering gallery.

Attention is further called to general considerations touching the effect upon the water-courses of the discharge of sewage into them, and to danger arising from " the joint use of water-courses for sewers and as sources of supply for domestic use.

We believe that the information presented by Prof. Nichols will be found to be of great value to the legislature and to the people of the State.

The present condition of some of our chief rivers is here placed on record for future use and comparison.

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By J. F. A. ADAMS, M. D., of Pittsfield. This is a paper for the farmers to read if they would improve the health and prolong the lives of themselves and of their families. In it are treated many topics, among which may be cited the following: over-labor and worry of the farmers and of their families; the economy of health, compared with the parsimony that begets disease; of the proper site for a homestead, and of the importance of cleanliness around it; of drainage ; of pure water; of food; of the earth-closet as an invaluable preventer of disease; and, finally, the whole is supplemented by a witty and wise paper on farm-life by one who knows whereof she writes.


By J. BAXTER UPHAM, M. D., of Boston. This document, prepared with great labor by Dr. Upham, presents a view of the prevalence of the disease in Massachusetts during the past year. It rests upon a correspondence with physicians throughout the State, and its deductions are drawn from more than five hundred cases. It is a most valuable record of a terrible disease, and although its special cause seems to be not yet unravelled, the author is able to draw very important deductions as to the necessity not merely for general cleanliness in a town, but on the part of every citizen in regard to many things under his own control.


By GEORGE DERBY, M. D., Secretary of the Board. The object of this paper is to show what influence hospitals may have upon public health, to point out in what respects they have often failed to carry out the benevolent intent of their founders, and to suggest improvements in their construction and management. The plan of building hospitals of a height of only one story is recommended, and chiefly because their ventilation thus becomes simple and manageable. This is the result to which the writer is led by an extensive experience in both civil and military hospitals.


BY EDWARD JARVIS, M. D., of Dorchester. The studies of Dr. Jarvis, through a long term of years, enable him to bring to the review of the " Political Economy of Health " a fund of special information and stores of learning which few persons possess. His opinions will have great weight. The subject is one, however, upon which on certain points as wide a difference of judgment may be honestly entertained as in the consideration of questions of finance. The Board presents this paper as one which will be found of great value not only in the expression of the opinions of the author, and in the numerous authorities cited by him in their support, but as bringing up a question of infinite importance, and capable of being viewed in many lights.

SCHOOL HYGIENE. By FREDERICK WINSOR, M. D., of Winchester, Mass. This paper contains many points of interest, among which we cite the following :-co-education of the sexes; care to be taken in the education of girls, especially at certain periods ; the influences of our high schools on girls ; on badly constructed seats and desks as causes of various distortions of the body; on overstudy as influencing eye-sight; study out of school; the influence of appeals to emulation and to vanity and the differences of their effects on boys and girls; on" worry” of teachers and pupils ; on school workshops, and

“ very interesting statements on the Half-Time Schools of England; on ventilation and site of school-houses. Dr. Winsor makes also some important suggestions in regard to the propriety of recording the causes of, as well as the facts of, the absences from school.

In the last report of this Board it was earnestly recommended, that every local board of health should have a physician as one of its members. Our special reporter on the Hygiene of Schools recommends that such medical officer should also have charge of the schools in so far as may enable him to prevent the occurrence or the spread of disease, to watch the modes of warming and ventilating school-houses, to observe the wants of the children as regards light, exercise and position, and to give such special advice on these and similar points as may be needful.


By W. E. BOARDMAN, M. D., of Boston. The question of the safety of using zinced iron for the purposes above named has of late been much discussed in Massachusetts.

The fact that such water contained zinc in some form was well known, but whether or no it was harmful was disputed.

Dr. Boardman (having no preconceived ideas on the subject) was requested to obtain all the information possible, and report to the Board. This he has faithfully and carefully done in the accompanying paper. His own conclusions will no doubt be those of many of our readers, but while presenting the evidence, the Board is not prepared to give a positive opinion, or to declare that zinced iron is under all circumstances, and with all persons, harmless.


By AZEL AMES, M. D., of Wakefield. This article will afford valuable aid to the boards of health of towns. It describes the powers and duties devolving on such boards, and we recommend its careful perusal by all health officers and town authorities in this Commonwealth.

HEALTH OF TOWNS. Under this head is presented as much information as we have been able to collect concerning the condition of public health in all parts of the State.

Many interesting letters from our regular correspondents are here given, and many suggestions concerning sanitary affairs, which will be found of general application. The need of efficient health boards in cities and towns is expressed on all sides. It is for the people to apply the remedy.

Special investigations have been made in several towns by direction of this Board, and by physicians skilled in the discovery of the causes of disease.

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Attention is called to many instances of disease directly caused by impurities of air and of water, which were entirely removable. It will be seen that " trichina disease” has again been recognized—this time in the town of Becket—and is reported to us by a physician in Lee.

The thanks of the Board are presented to our correspondents for the instructive facts they have reported to us.

We desire to express our thanks to the registrars and city clerks of the most populous places in Massachusetts for their politeness in furnishing the information which has enabled us to make a report of mortality in the " Boston Journal,” every Wednesday morning.

All of which is respectfully submitted,


Members of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts.

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