The legal history of epidemics - selected primary sources

(Secondary sources here)

Updated 14 July 2020


Sherston Baker, The laws relating to quarantine of Her Majesty’s dominions at home and abroad, and of the principal foreign states : including the sections of the Public Health Act, 1875, which bear upon measures of prevention (London, 1879)

W.P. Prentice, Police Powers Arising Under the Law of Overruling Necessity (New York, 1894) (chap. VI: Health and Quarantine Laws)

L. L. Boyce, The Health Officers Manual and Public Health Law of the State Of New York (Albany, 1902)

Ernst Freund, Administrative Powers Over Persons and Property, A Comparative Survey (Chicago, 1928) (Chapter XXV: Administrative Powers Under Health Legislation).

Henry Bixby Hemenway, Legal Principles of Public Health Administration (Chicago, 1914)

James A. Tobey, Public Health Law. 3rd ed. (New York, 1947)


Judicial Decisions

R v Harris, 4 TR 2022 Leach 549 (England, KB, 1791)


Miquel Parets, A Journal of the Plague Year : The Diary of the Barcelona Tanner Miquel Parets, 1651 (James S. Amelang, ed. & transl., Oxford UP, 1991).

René-Nicolas Dufriche, baron Desgenettes, "Notice sur un livre fort rare de Saint-Nazaire de Ripa, publié en 1522, sur la peste." Journal complémentaire du dictionnaire des sciences médicales, vol. 25 (1826): 149-157.

Arthur T. Holroyd, The quarantine laws : their abuses and inconsistencies : a letter addressed to the Rt. Hon. Sir John Cam Hobhouse, bart. ... London, 1839.

W.N. Spong & [George William] Lyttleton, "The Compulsory Vaccination Act." The Lancet, 24 December 1853, 613.

Alexander F. Vaché, Letters on yellow fever, the cholera, and quarantine: addressed to the Legislature of the state of New York, with an appendix containing correlative correspondence, and an act of the Legislature of the state, relative to the public health,with suggested amendments. New York, 1854.

Edwin M. Snow, Measures proposed for the prevention of Asiatic cholera in the city of Providence: a report to the Board of Aldermen. Providence, R.I., 1865.

Dorman B. Eaton, Sanitary legislation in England and New-York: being a paper read before the Association, December 8, 1872. New York, 1872.

H. Rey, "Les Quarantaines", pt. II. Archives de médecine navale, vol. 22 (1874): 124-136.

R. Thorne Thorne, "On Sea-Borne Cholera: British Measures of Prevention v. European Measures of Restriction." British Medical Journal, 13 August 1887, 339-340.

Protocoles et procès-verbaux de la Conférence sanitaire internationale de Venise, inaugurée le 5 janvier 1892.

Conférence sanitaire internationale de Paris, 10 octobre-3 décembre 1903 :procès-verbaux.

Conférence sanitaire internationale de Paris, 7 février-3 avril 1894 :procès-verbaux.

"The International Sanitary Convention of Paris." The Lancet, 7 April 1894, 898-899.

Research Guide

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