While The Knick is a work of fiction, it is based on exhaustive historical research. Below, the show’s writers share some of the true facts of the era that are depicted in this episode.
Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Harriman all put money toward eugenics research. At the turn of the Century, Eugenics was viewed as an “emerging science,” an offshoot of Darwin’s theories on evolution, and a new way to understand human beings. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.)
Syphilis spirochete is called Treponema Pallidum. It is fairly unmistakable in appearance (it looks a lot like a ramen noodle). Thackery’s understanding of a fever’s impact on syphilis is mostly due to the work of Austrian psychiatrist, Julius Wagner Jauregg (1857-1940).
Jauregg saw a woman with severe psychosis recover after a bout of Erysipelas, a bacterial skin disease that causes high fevers. He began experimenting with tuberculin-induced fevers. After several patients died under such treatment, he stopped his experiment, only to start up again after 1900. Then in the post-WWI era, Jaurgegg switched to using Malaria to try and cure patients with Neurosyphilis. He went on to win a Nobel Prize in 1927 for his work. (Image courtesy of the Burns Archive.)
In 1900 Mount Sinai Hospital purchased an X-Ray Machine and set it up in their synagogue. )
Huber’s Palace was an establishment that housed stages for performances, exotic animals, and “freak acts” like “The Dog-Faced Boy.” Huber’s motto was “A dollar show for ten cents.”