In days past, the term ‘paperhanging’ had a very different connotation than what comes to mind in 2013. The last time a contagious disease sign was hung in the front window of a Bexley home was in 1952. A measles sign was ‘paperhung’ at a home on Stanwood Ave by the Bexley Board of Health.
These placards were to be a warning to any who might be entering the home that an infectious disease was present. By the early 1950s, 37 states had eliminated this practice.
Since these signs were placed by boards of health, that necessitated visits from public health nurses and also the need for an official to remove the sign. That is what created the furor in Bexley and most likely led to the end of ‘paperhanging’ in Franklin County.
The children at the Stanwood Ave home recovered from the measles but the health department forgot about the sign. Then a newspaper ran the story about the delinquent sign that remained six weeks after the children recovered.
City Health Commissioner Ollie M. Goodloe declared these placards old-fashioned and needless. Consequently, this practice ended in Franklin County.
He also said that new drugs and more scientific information about how diseases are spread has tended to lessen the need for strict quarantines.
From an article in “The Citizen” by Edwin L. McCoy: June 15, 1954
Originally published in Historical Herald, Fall 2013
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