20 classic U.S. health care photos August 18 2009

1250429948300A baby is restrained for an X-ray at Provident Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. (Jack Delano, 1942)

The 20 classic U.S. health care photos are often both comical and frightening at the same time, but they all show how much medical care has improved during the past century. The photos were all pulled from the Shorpy archives. Clicking on an image will bring you to a large version.

1250430283780"Miss Hattie E. Alexander & Mrs. S.A. Carlin testing serum." July 8, 1926. Washington, D.C.

1250430542603One of the very few images in Washington-area photo archives documenting the influenza contagion of 1918-1919.

1250431581316"Dr. George Stiles. Bacteriologist at George Washington University who was supposed to have discovered a TB germ." 1912.

1250431707242"Preparing to examine an employee in the United States Treasury Department to determine the effect of work on the eyes." C. 1916.

1250431810134Drug store display in Memphis, Tennessee. C. 1940s.

1250431929136"Children's Hospital Rotary," c. 1937.

1250432164585Washington, D.C., circa 1910. "Portrait of nurses on lawn."12504322314091928. "Washington Sanitarium, Takoma Park. Operating room."

1250432309462Nurse, 1922.

1250432382682"Garfield Hospital, Washington" circa 1924.

1250432705339"Surgery, #13," 1922.

1250432784854October 1939. Farm Security Administration camp unit at Merrill, Oregon. The camp nurse introduces doctor to mother of sick baby.

1250432873014New York circa 1908. "Lying-In Hospital, Second Avenue." A peek behind the scenes at the Lying-In (or maternity) hospital, which in addition to scalpels had a number of cutting-edge medical devices.

1250433140237Washington, D.C., circa 1924. "Radio at Garfield Hospital."

1250433197089Washington, D.C., circa 1919. "S.B. Johnston, dentist, interior."

1250433272254Washington, D.C., circa 1920. "Emergency Hospital interior."1250433342381"Surgery #20," c. 1922.

1250433400196"Walter Reed physiotherapy story." Hydrotherapy in 1920 or 1921 at Walter Reed Hospital.1250433460095Dr. S.J. Jackson, an intern, is ready to go into the operating room to assist in an operation at Provident Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. 1942.