U.S. Public Health Service Seal Mystery
ca. 1940 U.S. Public Health Service Seal removed from a PHS cutter ship.
The seal pictured above was removed from one the smokestacks of a USPHS cutter ship...
located at the Rosebank Quarantine Station on Staten Island, and brought to Atlanta.
The seal was mounted backwards on the smokestacks but no one knows why.
When ships were subject to quarantine inspection, they flew the yellow quarantine flag and stopped in the quarantine anchorage area opposite the quarantine station. Quarantine inspectors were then taken from the quarantine station to the anchored ships aboard one of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) cutter ships. The Foreign Quarantine Service was transferred to CDC in 1967, and the maritime quarantine stations were closed in the late 1970s.
The seal pictured above was removed from one the smokestacks of a USPHS cutter ship located at the Rosebank Quarantine Station on Staten Island, and brought to Atlanta. Not much of mystery you say? Look closely look at the seal, it’s backwards.
It’s a mirror image of the Public Health Serviceexternal icon seal. If you look closely at this photograph, you can see that indeed the seal was mounted backwards on the smokestacks. The picture is not backwards. The question that begs an answer is WHY? Why would the PHS seal be mounted this way on the smoke stack? Do ships have rear view mirrors or is this just an error? If you know the answer, please e-mail us.
Take a closer look:
- Who (and where) does the U.S. Public Health Service serve? Get a visual with this interactive mapexternal icon.
- View 1950s snapshots of laboratorians at the U.S. Public Health Service Communicable Disease Center (CDC) Field Station in Savannah, Georgia:
- Check out historic images of a S. Public Health Service boat anchored in New York Harbor, as well as garages and buildings of the former Rosebank Quarantine Station in Staten Island, New York in 1967.
- Take a look at U.S. Quarantine Stations in Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Chicago, and what a quarantine card looked like in the 1960s.
From the source:
- Hear from U.S. Public Health Service officers working at CDC:
- Gabriela Ramirez-Leon, Training Specialist in the Applied Learning and Development Team (En Español)
- Neil Vora, physician and epidemiologist stationed at the New York City Health Department
- Eduardo O’Neillexternal icon, Deputy to the Senior Advisor for Laboratory Science in the Office of Infectious Diseases (En Españolexternal icon)
- Explore the five focus areas of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.
Then and now:
- The Commissioned Corps of the U.S Public Health Service originally formed to protect the health of immigrants and sailors in the late 1700s. Explore a timeline of U.S. Public Health Service historyexternal icon and public health advancements – spanning from 1798 to present day.
- Learn more about current CDC Quarantine Stations and their histories.
Give it a try:
- Explore career opportunitiesexternal icon and internships within the USPHS Commissioned Corps!
- Explore the origins of public health in the U.S. with these coloring sheets: