International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Cora Turney Burgess

    Status Other
    Country USA


    Cora Louise Livingston Turney Burgess (6 July 1910-10 June 1962) worked for many years in leprosy organisations and fundraising efforts alongside her husband, Perry Burgess.

    Before meeting Perry, Cora had been married twice and worked as a model. The two met when they sat next to one another on a flight to New York. Cora quickly came to share Perry's devotion to the fight against leprosy. They married in 1937 and spent their honeymoon on a trip around the world to visit leprosy institutions. Perry legally adopted Cora's two children from a previous marriage, Coralyn and John (who was renamed Perry Jr).

    Burgess prepared fundraising appeals for the Leonard Wood Memorial, of which her husband was president. The couple frequently travelled together to leprosaria and leprosy conferences around the world, while their children attended boarding schools. Cora Burgess was also skilled as a photographer; her photographs documented conditions in the places they visited and were used in the Leonard Wood Memorial's fundraising efforts.

    The Burgesses attended the International Congresses of Leprology in Cairo (1938), Havana (1948), and Madrid (1953). At the Havana Congress, Cora Burgess received a commendation for her clinical photography exhibition.

    She was appointed executive secretary of the Leonard Wood Memorial in 1957.

    Cora Burgess died in 1962, at the age of 51. Her husband outlived her by three months.


    ‘Obituary: Cora Turney Burgess.’ International Journal of Leprosy Vol 30, No 3. 1962. 369.

    International Journal of Leprosy, Centennial Festskrift edition, Vol 41, No 2. 1973.

    Feather, Carl. 'Author's daughter recalls life at Erie Vista.' Ashtabula Wave 30 July 2015. Online.

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