A/V from the Library

Click “play” above or follow this link to watch Children for the Chaw (undated).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

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From Matthew Robinson’s The new family herbal : comprising a description and the medical virtues of British and foreign plants, founded on the works of eminent modern English and American writers on the medical properties of herbs to which is added, the botanic family physician valuable medical receipts and important directions regarding diet , clothing, bathing, air, exercise, &c., &c. (1872)

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: “The Hospital Pupil’s Guide Through London”

The hospital pupil’s guide through London, in a seres [sic] of letters : from a pupil at St. Thomas’s Hospital to his friend in the country ; recommending the best manner of a pupils employing his time, and interspersed with amusing anecdotes relative to the history and oeconomy of hospital’s [sic] (1800) claims to be a collection letters sent from a medical student in London to a friend who is planning to come to London and matriculate in the same medical school. There is no author name, although the initials “J.C.” are appended to a brief introductory letter directed to the country student’s sister. (The country student did not survive to come to London.)

J.C. (assuming those to be the initials of the author) writes an amusing and highly readable account of his time in London, discussing the student hierarchy (“The only persons more priveledged [sic] than Dressers are the Apprentices…” (11)), the order of his lectures (“…almost before I am awake, I go to the Midwifry [sic] Lecture…” (13)), and the design of London hospitals (“The entrance to Mr Guys [sic] Hospital is certainly very grand…” (34)). He describes student life, talks about his classes, and gives his friend advice over how and when to matriculate and with what professors for which subjects.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read The hospital pupil’s guide.

Guest Post: The censors of the Royal College of Physicians

If you ever visit the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London, you may notice a room in the Denys-Lasdun-designed building with an interesting name: the Censors’ Room.  This room is not, as the name may imply, a place for the coordination of censorship, rather it recognises a post in the RCP with a long history. When Thomas Linacre founded the RCP in 1518, the founding charter specified that four physicians known as censors would assist the president with standards for medical education and practice.  The censors became the examiners of the RCP, and until the 1830s, candidates were faced with a nerve-wracking oral question and answer examination in the Censors Room. Censors also protected the public and they could pursue physicians for malpractice and enforce discipline. Some well-known censors of the past include William Harvey (1578–1657), the physician who discovered the circulation of the blood, and Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), the founder of the British Museum.

Now, as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library (UK-MHL) project, the work of some 19th century censors is available online for the first time. One of those former censors was Lionel S. Beale (1828–1906). Beale had a long working relationship with the RCP as censor (1881–82), and also as curator of the museum (1876–88). His skill as a physician was recognised by the RCP with Beale becoming Baly Medallist (1871) and Lumleian lecturer (1875).

As a pioneer of microscopy Beale developed techniques for staining and fixing of cells and tissues, showing how microscopes could be used by physicians in their day-to-day work. The pyriform nerve ganglion cells are called “Beale’s Cells” in his honour. One of Beale’s best known works Disease germs: their nature and origin (1872) is now online.  In the introduction, Beale detailed how he examined tissues to try and discover the causes of disease. He concluded that it was probable that disease originated in either people or domesticated animals.  This was contrary to the work of others who argued that “external” agents were the cause of disease. This book is a must see for anyone interested in the early debates around germ theory and it includes beautifully drawn coloured plates.

Disease germs their nature and origin

“Disease germs: their nature and origin.”

Walter B. Cheadle (1835–1910) was another censor. He was an adventurer, who explored the Rocky Mountains in Canada with Lord Milton in 1862. They published a very successful book, The North-West Passage by Land (1865), about their journey. In the field of medicine Cheadle was best known for his work on childhood illnesses. In the RCP, Cheadle was a censor (1892­–93), a senior censor (1898) and a Lumleian lecturer (1900). As an early supporter of women in the medical professions, Cheadle was one of the first lecturers at the London Medical School for Women.

Child nutrition and its impact on disease was one of Cheadle’s areas of interest. His book, On the principles and exact conditions to be observed in the artificial feeding of infants (1902) detailed much of his pioneering work and practice. He connected childhood illnesses with poor nutrition and outlined how a better diet could help children recover. There are sections on uses of milk and beef teas, the benefits of sterilisation and commentaries on scurvy and rickets. It gives a fascinating insight into 19th century diets and the deficiency-based illnesses to which that children were prone.

On the principles and exact conditions to be observed in the artificial feeding of infants

“On the principles and exact conditions to be observed in the artificial feeding of infants.”

Sir William Broadbent was a physician who spent many years working with the RCP as Croonian lecturer (1887), Lumlelian lecturer (1891) and as senior censor (1895). He ran for the office of president in 1899, but he was defeated. Broadbent was a distinguished physician and among his patients he treated two Princes of Wales as physician-ordinary, and Queen Victoria as physician-extraordinary. Broadbent was also an expert in neurology. One of his contributions to the field was ‘Broadbent’s hypothesis’, an attempt to account for the distribution of paralysis in muscles and the immunity of some muscles to hemiplegia.

Cardiology was another area in which Broadbent excelled. Heart disease and aneurysm of the aorta, with special reference to prognosis and treatment (1906) was co-authored with his son John F.H. Broadbent. It grew from lectures delivered at the Harveian Society and the RCP.  Broadbent reminisced about his early days as a physician – looking back to a time when there were no systematic ways of studying or treating heart disease. In this book Broadbent imparted his knowledge, and as cardiology developed new editions were issued with this cutting-edge information. The addition of colourful images illustrating what was being described makes this book a must read for those interested in the history of cardiology.

Heart disease and aneurysm of the aorta, with special reference to prognosis and treatment

“Heart disease and aneurysm of the aorta, with special reference to prognosis and treatment.”

These are just three Censors who worked for the RCP in the 19th century, and many more will have their work included in the UK-MHL. The position of censor remains to this day and censors continue to work to improve medical education. However the RCP no longer holds examinations in the Censor’s Room; it is now used for ceremonial purposes.

Find out more about the RCP’s library, archive, and museum on our weekly blog, and follow @RCPmuseum on Twitter.

The following references were consulted along with the Munk’s Roll:

  1. M. Brockbank, ‘Cheadle, Walter Butler (1835–1910)’, rev. Anne Hardy, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32386, accessed 19 May 2015]
  2. John Poynton (1935) Dr Cheadle and infantile scurvy, Archives of Diseases in Childhood, (1935), volume 10, no.58, 219-22.

Kevin Brown, ‘Broadbent, Sir William Henry, first baronet (1835–1907)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32077, accessed 21 May 2015]

Michael Worboys, ‘Beale, Lionel Smith (1828–1906)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/30656, accessed 19 May 2015]

  1. D. Foster, ‘Lionel Smith Beale and the beginnings of clinical pathology’, Medical History, 2 (1958), 269–73.

Images from the Library

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From Matthew Robinson’s The new family herbal : comprising a description and the medical virtues of British and foreign plants, founded on the works of eminent modern English and American writers on the medical properties of herbs to which is added, the botanic family physician valuable medical receipts and important directions regarding diet , clothing, bathing, air, exercise, &c., &c. (1872)

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: News for (Alumnae) Nurses

In February of 1907, the Alumnae Association of the School for Nursing at the New York Hospital agreed upon the publication of a newsletter for their alums: “It is hoped that the paper, if continued, may help to keep the members of the association in closer touch with one another…” Eight members were appointed to “gather news.”

This inaugural issue included notes about a fund for sick nurses, and brief notes about alumnae clubs and members: “The new Club rules have been drawn up, and submitted to the nurses for approval. Mrs. Robinson is abroad for an indefinite time.”

As time went on, the newsletter included more content: news about the school, notification of upcoming meetings and events of interest to alumnae, and general pieces about the state of the nursing profession.

Click through the pages below or follow this link to read The Alumnae News.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Our apologies for going unexpectedly AWOL last week — our trip to London was so absorbing, not at lot else got done! We’ll be talking more about our great day-long meeting with the Wellcome Trust in the weeks to come. For now, though, we’d like to point out some of the latest additions to our collection. Just click on the links below to read….

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

b21461624_0031

From Matthew Robinson’s The new family herbal : comprising a description and the medical virtues of British and foreign plants, founded on the works of eminent modern English and American writers on the medical properties of herbs to which is added, the botanic family physician valuable medical receipts and important directions regarding diet , clothing, bathing, air, exercise, &c., &c. (1872)

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

b21461624_0027

From Matthew Robinson’s The new family herbal : comprising a description and the medical virtues of British and foreign plants, founded on the works of eminent modern English and American writers on the medical properties of herbs to which is added, the botanic family physician valuable medical receipts and important directions regarding diet , clothing, bathing, air, exercise, &c., &c. (1872)

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: Coram and the Foundlings

b21686464_0006The Foundling Hospital, founded in 1739 by Captain Thomas Coram in London, is the subject of John Brownlow’s 1858 The history and design of the Foundling Hospital : with a memoir of the founderAt the time of the book’s publication, the Hospital was still on its original site in in Bloomsbury. The Hospital has since transitioned into a charitable foundation, named after the founder of the Hospital: Coram.

The Hospital itself has a fascinating history, starting from the very beginning with Coram’s lengthy struggle to get a Royal patent for the hospital and Parliamentary guarantees of funding to allow more children to be taken in. Approximately ninety-two children were taken in per year in the first fifteen years of the Hospital’s operations, the only restrictions in acceptance being a transmissible disease such as smallpox or syphilis. (9)

Brownlow’s is not the only history of the hospital and the London Metropolitan Archives and the Foundling Museum curate the Hospital’s records. Brownlow records that, as time went on and it became possible either that parents would want to reclaim their children or children track down their parents, those surrendering a child were requested to leave an identifying token: “A half-crown, of the reign of Queen Anne, with a hair. An old silk purse. A silver fourpence, and an ivory fish. A stone cross, set in silver.” (18) Many of these items, being quite durable, have survived and are held by one or the other of the above institutions.

Flip through the pages of Brownlow’s book below or follow this link to read The history and design of the Foundling Hospital : with a memoir of the founder.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

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