The Ghost Map


Steven Johnson

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The Ghost Map Characters

John Snow

John Snow, along with Henry Whitehead, is the closest thing to a protagonist in the book. A brilliant, creative thinker, Snow grew up in a working-class family, and later worked his way up to… read analysis of John Snow

Henry Whitehead

Henry Whitehead is, along with John Snow, the closest thing to a protagonist in The Ghost Map. A talkative, beloved priest living in Soho, Whitehead was one of the first people in the… read analysis of Henry Whitehead

Edwin Chadwick

The founder and first president of the General Board of Health, Edwin Chadwick was an influential and controversial figure in the history of public health. Like many of his contemporaries, Chadwick believed in miasma theory—i.e… read analysis of Edwin Chadwick

Sir Benjamin Hall

Sir Benjamin Hall was the president of the General Board of Health during the 1854 cholera epidemic; he was also a firm believer in the miasma theory of disease, like his predecessor, Edwin Chadwickread analysis of Sir Benjamin Hall

William Farr

Influential demographer whose data concerning the outbreak of cholera in London in the 1840s and 1850s was crucial to the research of John Snow. Farr was a firm believer in the miasma theory of… read analysis of William Farr
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Minor Characters
Edmund Cooper
Engineer who researched the 1854 cholera epidemic using sophisticated mapping techniques.
Charles Dickens
Beloved 19th century English novelist whose novels, including Hard Times and Bleak House, confront many of same themes as The Ghost Map, including poverty, disease, and urban misery.
Susannah Eley
The elderly mother of two Soho locals, who died of cholera after her children sent her water from the Broad Street pump.
Mr. G.
A local Soho tailor who contracted cholera in 1854.
Arthur Iberall
Physicist and urban theorist noted for his elaborate theory of human behavior as it corresponds to the different states of matter.
Robert Koch
Highly influential German biologist, often credited with isolating the Vibrio cholera bacterium in the 1880s (although Italian scientists had done so forty years previously).
Thomas Latta
British doctor who, in the 1830s, determined that cholera could be cured by drinking clean water, but whose findings were tragically and bizarrely ignored.
Thomas Lewis
London police officer whose infant child is believed to have been the “index case” in the 1854 cholera epidemic.
Sarah Lewis
Wife of Thomas Lewis, whose infant child is believed to have been the “index case” in the 1854 cholera epidemic.
Karl Marx
Political philosopher who lived in London for many years, best remembered for writing Capital and co-authoring The Communist Manifesto, the two foundational texts of Communism.
William Morris
Boston dentist best remembered for being the first medical practitioner to give a public demonstration of etherized anesthesia.
Florence Nightingale
Beloved Victorian nurse and public health advocate, still celebrated for her crusades on behalf of the poor.
James Richardson
Scripture reader for St. Luke’s parish, and a good friend of Henry Whitehead.
John Rogers
One of the first medical officers to visit Soho during the 1854 cholera epidemic.