An artistic illustration from an article by Ely Perlman, “Near Fatal Allergic Reactions to Bee and Wasp Stings: A Review and Report of Seven Cases,” v. 22, 1955, p. 377.
The Mount Sinai Archives of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has been fortunate the last two years to receive funding from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) to have the Internet Archive (IA) digitize items from our collections and then link them to the Medical Heritage Library. Of special note, as a part of our recent grant, we have digitized The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, initially known as the Journal of The Mount Sinai Hospital. The time frame covered is from its founding in 1934 to 2010.
The Mount Sinai Journal was one of the many hospital publications that began in the 20th century. It was first and foremost a clinical journal, with many case reports, summaries of Clinical Pathological Conferences, and articles on treatments and techniques. Through these volumes, one can see the evolution of medicine, with emphasis on those areas in which Mount Sinai has long been interested: cardiology, hematology, and gastroenterology. On these pages, the topics of sulfa drugs, penicillin, insulin, and the vitamins appear and then disappear as they are absorbed into everyday practice. After World War II, when Mount Sinai created a large Psychiatry department, newly independent from Neurology, articles on psychiatric topics begin to appear with regularity.
Sprinkled in with the clinical pieces are essays based on scientific lectures that occurred at Mount Sinai. The Hospital had endowed lectures that brought notable clinicians and scientists to its halls each year. These lectures were one of the reasons the Journal was created. The staff felt that it was important that the institution share the knowledge that was given or created at Mount Sinai with the broader community. As a result, in these pages you will find lectures by Nobel laureates such as Sir Henry Dale, Selman Waksman, Albert Einstein, and Peyton Rous, as well as other leading lights in medicine, including Macdonald Critchley, Hugh Cabot, and Homer Smith.
The Journal also attracted many foreign authors, who usually appeared in Festschrift issues honoring a Mount Sinai physician in his golden years. This speaks to the early 20th century practice of American doctors spending time abroad for post-graduate training. This was a norm for Mount Sinai’s leading physicians, and over time, strong bonds grew with physicians and scientists in Europe, particularly Vienna and Germany. These ties were particularly vital in the 1930s and 40s, as Mount Sinai doctors worked to bring colleagues to America to escape the Nazi threat.
Mount Sinai’s efforts to create a school of medicine in the 1960s are reflected in the Journal. Articles on medical education appear, followed by essays about the School itself. In October 1968, when the newly opened School held a dedication celebration, the speeches by four Nobel laureates – Beadle, Medawar, Crick and Pauling – were published in the Journal (1969, v.36). The creation of the School is what necessitated the name change from the Journal of the Hospital, to the more general Mount Sinai Journal in 1970. (You can read a history of the Journal by Niss and Aufses that was published in 2007, v. 74.)
Later issues of the Journal often revolved around specific themes and these were sometimes published as separate monographs. Theme volumes included topics such as medical ethics, social work, or other areas in which the Medical Center was particularly interested.
Of course, the most covered topic of the Mount Sinai journals has always been Mount Sinai itself. Here you find biographical pieces, reminiscences about earlier Mount Sinai days, and histories of various departments. As such it is a wonderful resource for the Mount Sinai Archives, and all people who are interested in the history of American hospitals in the 20th century.