Harvey Young, 90, professor at Emory





When he was 12, historian James Harvey Young watched a medicine show performer peddle a worthless concoction meant to relieve gullible audience members of their hard-earned cash, if not their aches and pains.

"He noticed a lot of unsophisticated people paying their dollar for a bottle, and that lodged in him," said his son Harvey Galen Young of Atlanta.

He wanted to debunk the nostrum purveyors and bring rationalism to health care decisions and give people the tools they needed to analyze public health advertising."

From 1941 until his 1984 retirement, Dr. Young shared his passion for history with graduate and undergraduate students at Emory University while becoming a nationally recognized expert on health quackery, patent medicines and medical fraud.

He researched and published stacks of articles on food and drug regulation, and in two books — "The Toadstool Millionaires" and "The Medical Messiahs" — examined health quackery in American culture.

"One thing he hated was fraud, like selling you a dandruff cure that didn't," his son said.

"But it was the threat to lives that these plausible charlatans posed that really got him worked up."

Dr. Young, 90, of Decatur died of complications from a stroke Saturday at Budd Terrace at Wesley Woods. The body was cremated.

The memorial service will be 3 p.m. Sept. 16 at Emory University's Cannon Chapel. Cremation Society of the South is in charge of arrangements....


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list