Year One of “Expanding the Medical Heritage Library” Is Complete!

We have just submitted our first year report on our second National Endowment for the Humanities-funded grant, “Expanding the Medical Heritage Library: Preserving and Providing Online Access to Historical Medical Periodicals.” Under this grant, we have been digitizing numerous 19th century American medical journals (approximately 1,863 volumes so far!) and we’ve excerpted some of the highlights below.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The College staff were particularly excited about a number of our selections. Among the most significant contributions were 147 volumes comprising the four leading 19th‐century homeopathy journals (American homoeopathist/American homoeopath/American physicianHahnemannian monthly, Homoeopathic physician, and Homeopathic recorder). Additionally, we included the entire run of the Transactions of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, which includes a complete run of all volumes published throughout more than 200 years (volumes were published in 1793 and 1841‐2002). As the holder of the journals’ copyright, the College of Physicians agreed to release these volumes freely into the public domain for this project. The Transactions include proceedings from meetings, lists of Fellows, and detailed appendices that collectively describe how the College of Physicians shaped and engaged with emerging American medical trends.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services
Columbia digitized 71 titles, the bulk of which came from the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th. These were years when U.S. medicine came of age – from its disorganized, underfunded, and generally unscientific state in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War to a powerful, scientifically cutting‐edge, and lavishly financed medical establishment by the end of the First World War. Many of the journals Columbia chose to digitize were created by emerging specialties such as dermatology and venereology; pediatrics; and neurology/psychiatry. They also concentrated on public health and climatology journals knowing that these cover an unusually broad range of topics that appeal to researchers in a wide range of disciplines. Additionally, they included many New York City journals since their holdings of these were usually complete. These included the Brooklyn Medical Journal and its successor, the Long Island Medical Journal (1888‐1922); the long‐running and influential New York Medical Journal (1865‐1922); and two New York German‐language journals: the New Yorker Medicinische Monatsschrift (1852‐53) and the New Yorker Medizinische Presse (1885‐1888).

Yale University’s Cushing/Whitney Medical Library
The titles Yale chose represent a variety of themes, from deafness to dentistry. Yale choose the journals, in collaboration with partners, based on perceived need, as many of the titles were not fully available digitally, allowing Yale to fill in gaps. A significant title selected by Yale was the American Annals of the Deaf and Dumb, a Connecticut journal that holds importance as one of the oldest journals in English that focuses on the education of the deaf.

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