One of the reasons I started the Southwestern States Mission series was to motivate myself to analyze missionary health. I had been putting it off for a while and have continued to do so because it’s a big, daunting topic. It’s time to bite the bullet. I’ve started coding diary entries for health status by month.  Below is a summary of my first-draft results for July 1900 and 1901. I have included only the five travelling missionaries.
For each entry I looked at the health of three ‘people’: the diarist, their companion, and anybody else. I categorized the cause (illness, injury, insect bite, etc) and ranked the degree of influence on the diarist’s work that day from 1 – no impact, to 4 – severe impact.  Below is a table summarizing how often the missionaries reported some type of medical incident.
The big culprits were malaria(-like fevers) and boils/abscesses. I hope to produce more detailed analyses later, but for now, my first impression is: missionary health was a big deal, at least in July.
The “Southwestern States Mission” series (homepage) examines mission life in (mostly) Texas around 1900.
 The big difficulty in coding diaries is the soul-destroying drudgery of it all. There is, however, nothing I can do about it and still learn everything I want to learn from the texts. The second biggest difficulty is consistency—making sure that Elder Brooks’s cold on the first day get’s coded according to the same criteria as Elder Jones’s on the last day. Also: there is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, that you cannot get the categories and criteria clarified until you’ve done at least a third of the original coding, at which point you have to start over. There is also no guarantee that you still won’t have blind spots. It’s almost always messy and subjective and frustrating. I generally aim for “reproducible” rather than “satisfyingly accurate and precise” and then try to combine the code analysis with other forms of analysis. Hopefully performing multiple types of analysis reduces the size of the blind spots.
 The categories: s: sick, infectious disease; i: injury; h: sunburn, heat exhaustion, etc; e: boil, insect bite, etc; f: fatigue; m: mental illness. The degrees of influence: 0: no health related info; 1: regular work despite discomfort; 2: reduced work; 3: no work, but not wiped-out sick; 4: no work, wiped-out sick. I also noted other related occurrences like: n: nap; d: drugs; a: administered; p: prayed. If I ever catch one of them going to a doctor, I’ll have to add a category for that.