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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Harper, Cornelius Allen 1864 - 1951


physician, b. Hazel Green. He graduated from the Univ. of Wisconsin (B.S., 1889) and Columbian (now George Washington) Univ. (M.D., 1893). He began to practice medicine in Madison in 1894, and in 1902 became a member of the state board of health. A Republican, he was state assemblyman (1911-1912). Harper's major work was done in the field of public health and preventive medicine. He served on the state board of health (1902-1943), and was secretary of the board and state health officer (1904-1943). He did pioneer work in the fight against tuberculosis, and helped draft the 1907 anti-tuberculosis statute. As a state health officer, he pioneered in many health programs that raised the state's health standard to among the highest in the nation and was instrumental in expanding the scope and service of the board. He was president of the State and Provincial Health Officers of North America (1908-1909), and of the Wisconsin State Medical Society (1930-1931). He was a director of the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association and the author of an unpublished history of the state board of health. He retired from active practice in 1948. Who's Who in Amer., 17 (1932); E. B. Usher, Wis. (8 vols., Chicago, 1914); Wis. Blue Book (1927); Madison Wis. State journal, June 27, 1951; C. A. Harper Papers.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Cornelius A. Harper Papers for details. See also the Oral History Interview with Cornelius A. Harper.

[Source: Blue book]
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