Shreveport’s yellow fever epidemic of 1873 was the area’s original public health crisis. Lasting from August 20 to November 10, 1873, the outbreak claimed at least 700 lives, with some estimates ranging to more than 1,000. Outbreaks of yellow fever were common in the south, but Shreveport’s epidemic was particularly deadly. More than half of the residents who stayed behind during the outbreak caught the virus. About 25 percent of those infected perished.

The Talbot’s collection contains original and reproduction personal effects of survivor’s, chronical records of first person accounts, haunting contemporaneous imagery, depictions of the medical remedies used to combat the fever and even the names of more than 700 victims on the outbreak’s office death list.

James Dabbs Photo & Letter


James M. Dabbs, like hundreds of others, would fall victim to yellow fever and come to the brink of death.  In a telegram from Monroe, James' wife, Olivia, would plead for a priest to give her husband the Last Rites.  James did not die.  He survived to write his wife this letter.  The letter shows a spirit of survival and hope as he promises to bring her and their infant child to join him soon now that the epidemic is over.   Their reunion would be brief.  James died three years later his health broken by the disease.

Location in Museum

Yellow Jack! Exhibit case




The Family of James and Olivia Dabbs

100 Years