Skip to Content
ublogo print

University at Buffalo Libraries

Pan-American Exposition of 1901

Health Care and Medical Technology

This portion of the exhibit, Illuminations: Revisiting the Buffalo Pan-American Exposition of 1901, provides a fascinating glimpse into the general state of health care and medical technology available at the turn of the century. What could attendees at the Exposition expect in terms of hygiene and health care? Were restroom facilities provided, and were they kept clean? Were doctors and medical equipment available on the grounds? Who drove the ambulance that carried the wounded President McKinley?

These pages contain some interesting and less well-known facts about maladies that befell Pan-Am goers, what attendees could expect in terms of health-care and hygiene, the medical equipment available at the time, the caregivers who tended to visitors, and information about other health-related events that occurred on the Exposition grounds.


  • Lavatory facilities at the Exposition

    Public comfort and the sanitary conditions of lavatory facilities were a major concern of an exposition that expected to draw close to ten million visitors.

  • Dr. Roswell Park

    The enormous task of overseeing daily medical care and disease prevention at the Pan-Am fell to Dr. Roswell Park, Medical Director of the Exposition.

  • Medical Exhibits

    Medical exhibits were scattered throughout the grounds and displayed the technical advances of the time. Visitors could find exhibitors showing medical devices ranging from prosthetic limbs for amputees to the pocket sized "Pan-Am Microscope." Discussed in this portion of Illuminations will be:

  • The Emergency Hospital

    The staff at the Exposition's hospital treated everything from daily cases of diarrhea to President McKinley's gunshot wound, and staff made sure the numerous food vendors adhered to hygienic practices and monitored the lavatory facilities.

  • The Exposition Ambulance

    The Exposition's ambulance, driven by F. T. Ellis, was most famously used to ferry President William McKinley from the Temple of Music to the Exposition hospital after he was shot by Leon Czolgosz September 6, 1901.

  • International Nursing Conventions

    Buffalo nurses played a prominent role at nursing conventions being held at the Exposition featuring speakers such as Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee and Lavinia Dock.