New York City has always had a complicated relationship with the garbage it produces. From the city’s earliest days, trash was dumped in the street, thrown in the rivers, or burned.
Finally in the 1890s, a corps of sanitation men nicknamed the White Wings and led by a Civil War veteran turned “sanitary engineer” launched a war on filth—now known to be a source of many diseases.
To help combat this, a city campaign in the 1920s and 1930s aimed its message squarely at city mothers.
This open letter above, from the archives of the New York Academy of Medicine, sums…
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