New to the MHL!

In case you haven’t been keeping up, here are some of the latest things to come into our collection:

See more of our latest additions right here! And you can subscribe to the RSS feed of our latest additions here.

State Medical Society Journal Digitization Project Wrapping Up

Our latest digitization project, state medical society journals, is in its last months. We’re working on the final report to the National Endowment for the Humanities (#SavetheNEH, by the way!) and the last few volumes are going into the collection.

There’s more than one way you can access the material. There is, of course, the main collection page on the Internet Archive, but we’re also working on a more detailed list by state and we hope to supplement this list with links to each journal title individually.

You will automatically search the state medical journals project as part of the main MHL collection if you use the IA search box from our main collection page and you can also use our own full-text search tool. Scroll down to “collections” and select “statemedicalsocietyjournals” to use all the power of our search tool for this body of material.

New York Academy of Medicine Library Launches New Digital Collections Website

de Chauliac_watermarkThe New York Academy of Medicine Library announced
today the launch of its new digital collections and exhibits website, hosted on the open-source framework Islandora and accessible at http://digitalcollections.nyam.org/. The new site makes it easy for the public to access and explore highlights of the Library’s world-class historical collections in
the history of medicine and public health.

“The Academy is committed to enhancing access to our Library’s world-class collections through digitization,” said Academy President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD.
“With the launch of our new digital collections and exhibits website, users across
the globe will have access to an ever-growing number of important resources in the
history of medicine and public health.”

VESALIUS ICONES SUITE_010_watermark2
The website includes a glimpse into the Library’s rare and historical collections material. In one day, high-end photographer Ardon Bar-Hama, courtesy of George Blumenthal, took photos of a subset of the Library’s treasures, which are all accessible via the new website. Visitors interested in cookery can page through the Library’s Apicius manuscript with 500 Greek and Roman recipes from the 4th and 5th centuries. Other highlights includes beautiful anatomical images from Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani corporis Fabrica and striking botanicals like this skunk cabbage
(Symplocarpus Foetida) hand-colored plate from William P. C. Barton’s
Vegetable Materia Medica.

AyersHairVigor_watermarkAlso featured is The William H. Helfand Collection of Pharmaceutical Trade Cards, which contains approximately 300 colorful pharmaceutical trade cards produced in the U.S. and France between 1875 and 1895 that were used to advertise a wide range of goods in the nineteenth century. Such cards are now regarded as some of the
best source material for the study of advertising, technology and trade in the post-Civil War period.

“It is gratifying to digitize our materials and see them come to life with the launch,”
said Robin Naughton, PhD, Head of Digital for the Library. “Our digital collections and
exhibits website represent a bridge between the Academy Library’s collections and
the world as it intersects with the humanities and technology.”

The Library will continue to launch new digital collections and exhibits, including
“How to Pass Your O.W.L.’s at Hogwarts: A Prep Course,” which celebrates the 20th
anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and will be
launched on June 26. Two other upcoming digital projects focus on the history of the
book: “Facendo Il Libro/Making the Book,” funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas
Foundation, and “Biography of a Book,” funded by a National Endowment for the
Humanities Digital Projects for the Public grant.

About The New York Academy of Medicine Library
The Academy is home to one of the most significant historical libraries in medicine
and public health in the world, safeguarding the heritage of medicine to inform the
future of health. The Library is dedicated to building bridges among an
interdisciplinary community of scholars, educators, clinicians, and the general
public, and fills a unique role in the cultural and scholarly landscape of New York
City. Serving a diverse group of patrons—from historians and researchers to
documentary filmmakers to medical students and elementary school students—the
Academy collections serve to inform and inspire a variety of audiences from the
academic to the public at large.

Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship Lecture: Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – 5:30pm

Kate Grauvogel is the  2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellow, Doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington.

This lecture is sponsored by The Archives for Women in Medicine and the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation.

Kate Grauvogel is an advanced doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington. Broadly, her research interests include the history of women’s health, especially pathology and psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current research focuses on women and experimentation in medicine, particularly the history of blood clotting disorders in reproductive-age women, and how physicians perceived the whole constellation of gender, reproduction, secretions, clots, and associated diseases.

Grauvogel’s dissertation is entitled “A gendered history of pathology: blood clots, women, and hormones in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” It argues that the bodies of women—whether as obstetric patients, cadavers, or sufferers of side-effects from birth-control pills—shaped pathological theory as well as understandings of the role of secretions (later identifiable as estrogens) in health and disease. It also explores the medical and cultural functions of the Pill in the twentieth century and its impact on women and their lives. In it, she hopes to show how nineteenth-century pathologists and twentieth-century physicians observed pregnant women and women on the birth control pill and gleaned important information from them, such as the idea that fluctuations in estrogens could lead to the formation of dangerous blood clots.

The project as a whole uses primary sources from France, England, and Germany. At the Countway, Grauvogel will add an American perspective from the Boston Hospital for Women Records, 1926–1983, The Free Hospital for Women Records, 1875–1975, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, The Leona Baumgartner Papers, 1830-1979, the Janet Ward McArthur Papers, 1939-2005, and other collections. She will be looking for cases of lying-in illnesses, including blood clotting, which will shed light on how pathologists thought about dangerous blood clots in women as the result of either pregnancy or the Pill. She hopes to emerge with a better grasp of the ailments doctors observed in women, as well as and how they described and thought about such ailments.

Waterhouse Room
Gordon Hall
Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck Street, Boston MA

Reception begins at 5:00pm.

Free and open to the public. Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

“Spare Parts – Hope, Drama and Dispute: Heart Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart Implant Cases in the 1960s”

Please join us for the 13th J. Worth Estes, M.D. History of Medicine Lecture sponsored by the Boston Medical Library on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – 5:30pm. To register, contact the Boston Medical Library at BostonMedLibr@gmail.com or 617-432-5169.

With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant operation, performed by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard in December 1967, Prof. Shelley McKellar examines cardiac transplantation alongside the development of artificial hearts as replacement therapies for heart failure patients during the 1960s. Not long after Barnard, American surgeons Adrian Kantrowitz and Norman Shumway performed heart transplant operations in New York and California respectively. Within weeks, more cardiac surgeons jumped on the transplant ‘bandwagon.’

In the year 1968, more than 100 heart transplant operations were done worldwide, with Denton Cooley, Norman Shumway and Michael DeBakey performing the greatest number of cases. But patient mortality rates were appalling high due to organ rejection and infection. Still dying heart failure patients camped outside the offices of heart transplant surgeons, hoping for a life-saving procedure.

In 1969, Cooley implanted an artificial heart in a Houston man as a desperate measure to provide this. The device kept the patient alive for 64 hours until he received a donor heart, but this only sustained him for another 32 hours before the patient succumbed to pneumonia and kidney failure. The artificial heart implant case fueled the debate concerning the best cardiac replacement therapy—human or mechanical parts—to offer heart failure patients; neither produced satisfactory outcomes and many in the medical community questioned the continued pursuit of these treatments. (The 1969 implant case also severed the professional relationship of DeBakey and Cooley due to allegations of device theft and lack of authorization to perform the implant procedure.)

McKellar explores how the challenges and uncertainties experienced in heart transplant surgery augmented the standing and perceived value of artificial heart implantation as a complementary, not competing, cardiac replacement treatment in a period of ‘spare parts’ optimism in American medicine and society.

Prof. McKellar completed a PhD in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Bliss. She then worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC on a documentary history project before taking a tenure-track position in the Department of History at Western University, London, Canada in 2003. In 2012, she became the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. In teaching medical students, she aims to get them to appreciate the historical and cultural contingency of medical practice – that is – recognize that time and place matter regarding what we think we know and how we practice medicine.

Prof. McKellar’s research focuses on the history of surgery, predominantly cardiac surgery, medical technology, and the material culture of medicine. Her newest book, entitled Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology is forthcoming – this fall 2017 – with Johns Hopkins University Press. This book traces the history of an imperfect technology, situating the more-well-known events of the Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley professional fall-out after the first artificial heart implant case in 1969 as well as the 1982-83 Jarvik-7 heart implant case of Barney Clark within a larger historical trajectory that also includes the development of atomic artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices (or ‘partial’ artificial hearts.) It can be seen as a case study that speaks to questions of ‘success,’ values, expectations, limitations, and uncertainty in a high-technology medical world that grapples with end-stage disease therapies.

McKellar has also written a biography of Toronto surgeon Gordon Murray who operated on the heart in the era of closed-intracardiac operations (before open-heart surgery), built the first Canadian artificial kidney machine, and pursued research on a controversial cancer serum and a spinal cord surgical procedure to restore function in paraplegics. McKellar also co-authored a book, entitled Medicine and Technology in Canada, 1900-1950, which was commissioned by the Canada Science and Technology Museum to assist in their mandate to collect and research medical technology.

As much as possible, McKellar incorporates medical objects into her teaching and research. As curator of the Medical Artifact Collection at Western, she conducts object research, mounts displays, and runs ‘hands-on’ student workshops to spotlight the often ‘hidden’ history of medical instruments and devices.

Cannon Room, Building C
Harvard Medical School
240 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA

To register, contact the Boston Medical Library at BostonMedLibr@gmail.com or 617-432-5169.