How did Typhoid Mary get a clean bill of health?
Viking Theatre, Clontarf, Dublin accept the necessity for cleanliness, and resisted giving urine and faecal samples for analysis, which had to be taken forcibly. She was released from isolation in 1910 when she gave an undertaking not to work as a cook. She broke her word, changed her name, and as Mary Brown got a job as cook in a maternity hospital in 1915, where again typhoid broke out.
Typhoid Mary was identified, and again taken into an isolation hospital, where she died more than 20 years later, still refusing to take responsibility for what had happened.
While it is easy to feel pity for her unhappy life, it’s entirely reasonable to accept the duty of the authorities to prevent the woman’s wilful stupidity from creating further havoc within the NY public health system.
So while Charlotte Bradley’s performance as Mary in the Viking Theatre production is appealing under Bairbre Ni Chaoimh’s always imaginative and empathetic direction, it’s at odds with the known facts, and very much in tune with the Irish penchant for claiming blameless victimhood.
‘It is easy to feel pity for her unhappy life’
Charlotte Bradley in ‘Typhoid Mary’