Lesson Plans

We are eager to see researchers of all ages use the primary source records of Philadelphia’s early congregations as they seek to understand the social history of the City and our Nation. With the help of volunteers, we hope to present a series of topical lesson plans that provide thematic introductions to our records and how they illuminate the early years of Philadelphia.

Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Subjects/Courses: Social Studies, US History
Grade Level: 9th grade (may also be suitable for 8th-12th grade)
Duration: 45 min x 7 days

The Yellow Fever epidemic that occurred in Philadelphia in the summer of 1793 is one of the most severe epidemics the country has ever experienced. About 10% of the city of Philadelphia’s residents died of Yellow Fever. The epidemic also provides an illuminating examination of race relations in the early United States, as African Americans were conscripted to serve as nurses and to collect bodies, under the (incorrect) assumption that they were immune to the disease. Poverty and suffering were widespread. The early church records provide amazing insight into this very challenging period in Philadelphia’s history, and provide parallels to our recent experiences with the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Lesson Plans document provides detailed plans for each day. PowerPoint files are provided for each day’s teaching information. Worksheets to be distributed to students are provided for Day 1 and Day 6.

The Yellow Fever lesson plans were created for the project by Chen Chang as part of a capstone project for the Drexel MLIS program.