Jesse Harrison Epperson papers, 1915-1959 0.25 Linear Feet — 1 box
Collection comprises correspondence, clippings, and photographs relating to the life and career of Dr. J. H. Epperson, from his appointment in 1915 to the newly-formed Durham, N.C. Department of Health to his death in 1958. Subjects in the many photocopied news clippings (1915-1958) center around Durham public health and sanitation history, including efforts by Epperson and his staff to establish regulations for the safe production of milk, and to combat typhus, polio, tuberculosis, venereal disease, and other infectious diseases among both white and African American populations in early 20th century Durham City and County.
The correspondence chiefly consists of a few congratulatory exchanges between Epperson and Wilburt C. Davidson, Dean of the Duke University Medical School, where Epperson held a teaching position, and condolence letters to Epperson's widow. There is also one personal letter written by Epperson to his daughter and son-in-law.
Also in the collection are 19 black-and-white photographs (1915-1958), chiefly 8x10 inch Durham Herald-Sun press photographs, whose subjects include early views of Durham, N.C., 1920s; interiors of the new Health Department laboratory in 1915 with Epperson and staff; portraits of Epperson in his offices and at meetings; nurses and other staff, several of whom are people of color; and meeting and conference attendees, including a group attending a conference on preventing venereal disease. A nursing staff member who appears in several photographs with Epperson is an Elizabeth O'Kelly. Of note is a large 1920s group photograph of twenty local midwives, chiefly African American or multiracial, standing with Epperson and several staff on a flight of steps outside the Durham County Courthouse, where the Health Department was located.