World War I: Reflections at the Centennial

~Post courtesy Emily Gustainis, Deputy Director, Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine of Harvard Medical School.

The Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, in partnership with its co-sponsors theHarvard Medical School Civilian-Military Collaborative and the Ackerman Program on Medicine & Culture, is pleased to announce the upcoming event World War I: Reflections at the Centennial with speakers James A. Schafer, Ph.D., and Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D.

James A. Schafer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Houston, will present “The Mobilization of American Medicine for the First World War,” an examination of the causes and effects of the rapid recruitment of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel (such as volunteer ambulance drivers) during the War. Drawing from Harvard University and other Boston area examples, Professor Schafer will measure the scope and scale of medical mobilization, explain the motivations for doctors, nurses and medical personnel to mobilize, and explore the immediate effects of mobilization on the careers and lives of American doctors, nurses, and medical personnel.

Jeffrey S. Reznick, Ph.D., Chief of the History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health, will present “A Prisoner of the Great War and his Songs in Captivity,” an exploration of the period when Rudolf Helmut Sauter (1895-1977)—the artist, writer, and nephew of the novelist John Galsworthy—was an internee in Alexandra Palace camp, north London, and Frith Hill, Surrey. Drawing on collections of the NLM, Imperial War Museum, and University of Birmingham, among other archives and libraries, Dr. Reznick will reveal how Sauter’s experiences open a unique window onto the history of the Great War both as Sauter experienced it and as he subsequently sought to forget it like so many other surviving members of the “generation of 1914.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 in the Minot Room, Countway Library, from 5:00-6:30.Registration is required.  Please visit our EventBrite page to register.

A Conversation About Graphic Medicine

~Post courtesy Stephen Greenberg, Section Head, Rare Books and Early Manuscripts History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine.

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Thursday, March 1, from 2:00pm until 3:30pm in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD. NLM Director Patricia Brennan, RN, PhD will host “A Conversation About Graphic Medicine” with pioneers from this emerging genre of literature that combines the art of comics and the personal illness narrative.


Dr. Brennan will be joined in conversation by Ellen Forney, cartoonist, educator, author of the New York Times bestselling graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me, and guest curator of the new NLM exhibition, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn!; MK Czerwiec, RN, MA, Artist-in-Residence at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, author of Taking Turns: Stories from HIV-AIDS Care Unit 371, and co-manager of; and Michael Green, MD, physician, bioethicist, and professor at Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and co-author with MK Czerwiec and others, of The Graphic Medicine Manifesto.


“A Conversation About Graphic Medicine” will address the place of graphic medicine within medical literature and the landscape of personal health communication in the 21st century. This special public program is in conjunction with the new NLM exhibition, Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn! on display in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room on the first floor of the NLM, Building 38 and online here:


This lecture, like all NLM History of Medicine Lectures, will be free, open to the public, live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting. All are welcome to attend onsite and remotely:


The specific live-stream URL for this talk is here:


Sign language interpretation is provided for all lectures. Individuals with disabilities who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Erika Mills at 301-594-1947,, or via the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).


Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

In addition, we warmly welcome you to visit our blog, Circulating Now, where you can learn more about the collections and related programs of the NLM’s History of Medicine Division, and watch for interviews with guest participants in the upcoming Conversation about Graphic Medicine:

Here also you can read interviews with previous lecturers:


Sponsored by:

NLM’s History of Medicine Division

Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief


Event contact:

Erika Mills


Call for Program Proposals Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences/Medical Museum Association Annual Meeting

~This post courtesy Polina Ilieva.

The Local Arrangements and Program Committees are busy preparing for the upcoming joint ALHHS/MeMA meeting in Los Angeles, May 9-10, 2018.


Our conference brings together archivists, librarians, museum professionals, educators, historians and representatives of allied professions and it is the place for our community to engage, network, and learn from each other’s experiences. The advent of social media, big data, and digital environments is changing the nature of the records we collect, their dissemination, as well as educational practices. The impact of this shift challenges some theoretical and methodological paradigms of our professions. The goal of this meeting is to examine critical issues in documenting, preserving, accessing, and teaching with health sciences collections in the newly emerging landscape.


Keynote Address: Miriam Posner, Assistant Professor of Information Studies and Digital Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)


The Program Committee welcomes your help in making this a thought provoking and stimulating conference. We are especially interested in proposals that feature:

  • Digital medical humanities
  • Role of health sciences collections in scholarly research
  • Changing role of health sciences libraries/archives/museums
  • How can digital methods and resources be used to engage users?
  • Collaborating with donors, students, area studies, and community archives
  • Sensitive materials and social justice — what impacts do concepts such as radical   empathy have on how material is represented in digital collections or exhibitions
  • Collecting and contextualizing social media, email, hardware, and software
  • Collections as data


Session Formats: The Program Committee encourages submission of proposals that may include, but are not limited to, the following formats:


  • Individual papers: Speakers should expect to give a presentation of no more than 15 minutes followed by 10 minutes of discussion. Individual papers will be combined into panels.
  • Panel Discussion: Open session with a panel of three (3) to four (4) individuals informally discussing a variety of theories or perspectives on the given topic(s). Please confirm participation with all panelists before submitting the panel proposal.
  • Traditional: Open session with two to three fully prepared papers of fifteen (15) minutes each and a comment and discussion period after the papers.
  • Special Focus Session: 50-minute session designed to highlight innovative archives or museum programs, new techniques, and research projects. Audience participation is encouraged.


Please submit your proposal (no more than 350 words) through the Session/Program Proposal Form:


The deadline for submitting session proposals is Friday, December 1th, 2017. Decisions about acceptance will be made by December 15th, 2017.


If you have any questions please contact Polina Ilieva via phone (415) 476-1024 or email


We are looking forward to seeing you in Los Angeles!


Your Program Committee:

Polina Ilieva, University of California, San Francisco (chair)

Beth Lander, College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Jennifer Nieves, Case Western Reserve University

John Rees, National Library of Medicine (History of Medicine Division)

Upcoming Lecture: Weill Cornell Medicine: a “Brief” History of Cornell’s Medical School

~Post courtesy Lisa Mix, Head, Medical Center Archives Weill Cornell Medicine.

The lecture will be followed by a reception and book-signing at the Samuel J. Wood Medical Library, 1300 York Avenue.  The Cornell Store in the Library will offer a 20% discount on purchases of Dr. Gotto’s book, Weill Cornell Medicine.

Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., MD, DPhil, is Dean Emeritus of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Provost for Medical Affairs Emeritus of Cornell University. From 1997-2011, Dr. Gotto was the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean at Weill Cornell and Provost for Medical Affairs at Cornell University.  During his tenure, the Medical College saw an overhaul of its curriculum; record-setting fundraising campaigns; a renaming in honor of foremost benefactors Joan and Sanford Weill; the establishment of a branch campus in Qatar and of a medical school in Tanzania; affiliation with the Houston Methodist Hospital; and the development of state-of-the-art facilities including the Weill Greenberg Center and the Belfer Research Building.

Dr. Gotto’s postgraduate work included doctoral studies at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.  Dr. Gotto has played a leading role in several landmark clinical trials demonstrating that cholesterol-lowering drug treatment can reduce the risk for heart disease.  A lifelong supporter of educational efforts aimed at cardiovascular risk reduction, Dr. Gotto has been National President of the American Heart Association and President of the International Atherosclerosis Society. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Gotto has contributed more than 500 scholarly articles and books to the medical literature, and is coauthor of the Living Heart series of books that explain the origins and treatment of cardiovascular disease to the general public.  His latest book is Weill Cornell Medicine: a History of Cornell’s Medical School.

The Heberden Society, which seeks to promote an interest in the history of medicine, was founded at the medical center in 1975.  With funding from the WCMC Office of the Dean, the society sponsors a series of lectures during each academic year.

Please join us for Dr. Gotto’s lecture and the book-signing reception:

Thursday, September 28, 5:00 p.m.

Belfer Research Building, Weill Cornell Medicine

413 East 69th Street (between York and First Avenues)

New York, NY 10065

Room 204 A-C

Freud, Reich, and Radical Politics: 1927-1933 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

Thursday, September 14, 2017 – 4:00pm

Philip W. Bennett, Ph.D.: Retired Professor, Fairfield University

Sponsored by the Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The first in a series of four lectures given as the 2017 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

Lahey Room, Fifth Floor
Countway Library
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA

Free and open to the public. For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail

Embroidering Medicine Workshop

~This post courtesy Emily Miranker, MA, Events & Projects Manager, Library and Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health.


September 14 through October 5, 2017

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

This four-week workshop explores The New York Academy of Medicine Library’s historical collections, examining relationships between medicine, needlework, and gender. We will focus on the areas of the collection invoking the ideals of femininity and domesticity, as well as needlework (in the form of ligatures, sutures, and stitching of the body). Participants will learn hands-on embroidery skills and basic stitches, selecting and transferring images to make embroidered pieces inspired by images in the collection. collection. All levels of needlework experience are welcome. Materials will be provided.

Each class starts with an exploration of books about medicine, surgery, natural history, homemaking, or textiles, in the Academy’s Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room.

Through graphic narratives, teaching, and needlework, Academy Library artist-in-residence Kriota Willberg explores the intersection between body sciences and creative practice. She teaches anatomy for artists at a variety of institutions including the New York Academy of Medicine Library, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and the Society of Illustrators.


$290 General Public

$250 Friends, Fellows, Members, Seniors and Students with ID

Advance registration required:


The New York Academy of Medicine

1216 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10029


Kriota Willberg

The New York Academy of Medicine Library artist-in-residence.

The Center for the History of Medicine Presents: From Riding Breeches to Harvard

~This post courtesy Andra Pham, Records Management Assistant, Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library.

Join us for an evening discussion on the life and career of Linda Francis James Benitt, the first female graduate of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The presentation will begin by briefly exploring the context of women at Harvard at the turn of century, as well as Linda James’ life in Boston as a young student. Next, Bernice Ende, Linda’s great-niece, will share her personal insights on Linda’s life, as well how she inspired her toward ultimately becoming a “lady long rider”.

Linda Frances James was the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-M.I.T. School for Health Officers (predecessor of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), receiving her C.P.H. in 1917. As a young public health professional in Boston, Linda worked as a Medical Social Worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as the Director of the After-Care Division at the Harvard Infantile Paralysis Commission. Her professional life shifted in 1922 when she married William A. Benitt, a young attorney from Goodhue, Minnesota. The couple decided to leave their careers and become farmers on Apple Acres—a 200-acre farm in South Washington County, Minnesota. In addition to life on the farm, James remained an active advocate for education, public health, and community. A two-part blog series on Linda is available here.

Bernice Ende was raised on a Minnesota dairy farm where riding was always an integral part of her life. After pursuing a career teaching classical ballet on the west coast, Ende moved to Trego, Montana, a remote part of North West Montana where she continued teaching ballet. Her retirement in 2003 brought not a lack of activity, but rather a change in focus. Drawn back to riding, Bernice felt the pull of the open road and adventure inherent in serious riding. Her first ride in 2005 has continued into the present. Now thirteen years later, having acquired nearly 30,000 equestrian miles, she inspires and encourages female leadership with her travels. For more information on Ende, visit her website:


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Light refreshments will be served.

Minot Room, 5th Floor
Countway Library
Harvard Medical School

10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at

Teaching #HistSex with the MHL

~This post courtesy Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Reference Librarian, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Photo is by Kathleen J. Barker. Used with permission.

Each summer, the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Center for Teaching History hosts a series of workshops for K-12 teachers seeking to incorporate primary sources and contemporary historical scholarship into their curriculum. For the first time this year, the Center offered a three-day workshop in teaching LGBT History. As one of the Society’s reference librarians, with some background in history of sexuality research, I volunteered to spend a morning with the group sharing topic-specific research strategies. In addition to talking about the Society’s own catalog and collections, we discussed the challenges of historically-specific terminology. I introduced them to the Homosaurus, a controlled vocabulary of terms related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives, and we talked about the genres of material that might contain information about human sexuality: personal and family papers, visual materials, legal records, religious tracts, and medical literature.


After my presentation and a tour of the Society’s library, showcasing our own collections, the final third of the morning was spent on a research exercise in which I invited the sixteen workshop participants to search three different access tools: the Massachusetts Historical Society’s online catalog, the Digital Transgender Archive, and finally the Medical Heritage Library’s collections via the MHL’s full text search tool. My instructions were to


  1. Think of a research question or topic related to the history of sexuality.
  2. Brainstorm a handful of search terms (up to a dozen) related to your topic.
  3. Use these search terms in each of the three access tools.


To take the example search I performed for the group as a whole, we began with the question, “How did teenagers learn/think about sex in the 19th century?” Then, we brainstormed possible search terms, including:


  • Sex education
  • Teenager
  • Adolescent
  • Puberty
  • Family life
  • Marriage preparation
  • Premarital sex


Then, we performed a search in each of the three search tools listed above: the MHS catalog, the Digital Transgender Archive, and the Medical Heritage Library’s full-text search. For the Medical Heritage Library’s full-text search, we began with a broad search for “sex education” in literature published between 1800 and 1900. Because the MHL provides a full-text search, however preliminary, the search results were much different from the results in the DTA and MHS catalog and prompted fruitful conversation about how both the content of a collection and its access tools shape our approaches to finding materials.


The goal of this exercise was to prompt our workshop participants to think about how different types of tools produce different search results depending upon the controlled vocabularies used, the contents of the archive, and the type of search being conducted. These questions may seem basic to archivists and librarians who spend their workdays developing and using different types of search tools, but for many of our participants the discussion of historical terms and controlled vocabularies prompted them to think in entirely new ways about how to locate materials related to the history of sexuality in archival repositories and digital collections.


The Center for Teaching History plans to run this workshop again next summer and I look forward to expanding on this exercise, hopefully giving our participants a chance to delve into the actual items their searches uncover.

UNC’s Bullitt History of Medicine Club Lectures

~This post courtesy Dawne Lucas, Special Collections Librarian Health Sciences Library University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Fall semester schedule is below. All meetings will be held at noon, in HSL 527. For more information about the Bullitt History of Medicine Club, please visit
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Travis Alexander, Mellon Graduate Fellow, Department of English and Comparative Literature, UNC-Chapel Hill
“AIDS and the Americans with Disabilities Act at Quarter Century”
This talk will discuss the political motivations behind the Americans with Disabilities Act’s inclusion of HIV/AIDS under the banner of “disability.”
Travis Alexander is a Mellon Graduate Fellow at UNC-Chapel Hill. His research focuses on critical race studies, queer theory, and psychoanalysis. His writing has been published, and is forthcoming in Boundary 2 and Symploke.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Noemi Tousignant, Guest lecturer, Université de Montréal
“Globalizing Measles in 1960s West Africa”
Is measles a single, universal disease, or many, highly localized pathologies? This is a question for historical investigation, not only into epidemiological trends but also into the politics and practices of measles research and prevention during the “vaccine era” – that is, from the end of the 1950s. I will describe in particular one of the first episodes of this history, during which West Africa was at the heart of transnational debates about the value of the new measles vaccines. Some of the first trials and mass uses of these vaccines happened in West African places, which had just acquired political independence and where measles was recently “discovered” to be a major cause of infant and child mortality. I will identify a few reasons for this, and reflect on the consequences not only for West African immunity, but also for the emergence of new ways of framing the value of African life, the severity and preventability of measles, and responsibility – at the family, state and international level – for vaccinating children.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Craig Miller, Head, Department of Vascular Services, Pardee UNC Hospital
“A Time for All Things: The Life of Michael E. DeBakey”

Lung Tissue Talk

On Tues., Aug. 22, from 6-7 p.m., the National Museum of Health and Medicine will host a presentation by Prof. Robin Cookie, an Australian pathologist, who has reviewed preserved lung specimens from casualties of gas poisoning during World War I. Prof. Cooke will talk about how microscopic examination of 100-year-old lung tissue may help inform today’s military medical researchers prepare to treat chemical warfare casualties in the future. Free. Open to the public.

Web link to more info:

Or call (301) 319-3349 or email