May 18, 2022

A New Collection of Digitized Historical Films from the National Library of Medicine

From the NLM News Release:

The National Library of Medicine has produced a new digital collection, Tropical Disease Motion Pictures. The collection comprises 46 titles from the Library’s collections that illustrate the battle against tropical disease. The materials range from research documentaries, interviews with noted scientists, and public health education campaigns, to films shot on location in regions beset by cholera, dengue fever, and yellow fever, demonstrating local and international efforts to curb their devastating impact. Produced between 1927 and 2007, the online content is a component of the Library’s Digital Collections.


Among the titles presented are: 

  • Cholera Can Be Conquered (1946), produced by the US Navy. This film outlines the work of United States Navy Epidemiology Unit No. 50, which was sent to Calcutta, India, in early 1945 to determine the value of antibiotic therapy in the treatment of cholera.
  • Tropical Disease Investigations in Africa (1957), produced by the Laboratory of Tropical Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with the cooperation of the health departments of Liberia, Belgian Congo, Mozambique, Kenya, and the Liberian Institute of the American Foundation for Tropical Medicine. The films show the etiology and treatment of four major tropical diseases in Africa: malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and schistosomiasis (snail fever).
  • Lucy Graves Taliaferro (1980), from the Workers in Tropical Medicine series, produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in cooperation with the National Library of Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Dr. Taliaferro describes decades of collaboration with her husband, William Taliaferro, in the field of parasitology, studying the reactions that occur between parasites and hosts.


In addition to being found in the Library’s Digital Collections, the audiovisuals may be accessed through the Library’s online Guide to Tropical Disease Motion Pictures. That guide provides a short historical introduction and a bibliography to this collection.

Read the Complete News Release

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.