Death in Chicago

Play "Death in Chicago"

"Death in Chicago" explores the history of public health in Chicago in three different eras of the city's history, 1860-1890, 1890-1920, and 1920-1950. But there's a twist! You get to explore these "ways to die in Chicago" through a choose-your-own-adventure-style game. 

Using stories written by students in anthropologist Holly Swyers's Fall 2015 "Medical Anthropology" course, this illustrated game relies on information the students found over the course of their research. Students gathered images and historical data about fatal public health crises in Chicago in the different eras, and wrote stories featuring some of the possible outcomes for a child or an adult in three different time periods.

Will you die of diphtheria or tuberculosis, or perhaps in Chicago's infamous Dunning mental institute? Or in a back alley as a victim of alcohol poisoning? Or will be one of the hundreds who lost their lives in the Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903?

Can you find the one way to survive? 

A word of warning: the following storylines describe various dangerous situations, illnesses, and medical conditions in some detail. Although most of these are verbal descriptions, some scenes do have accompanying images of these adverse situations.