National Endowment for the Humanities Awards New York Academy of Medicine Library with Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant

Interactive digital “Biography of a Book” project brings to life the creation, use and collection of key historic texts in the Academy Library’s rare book collections

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded The New York Academy of Medicine Library $30,000 through its Humanities Digital Projects for the Public Discovery Grant program to support the development of its interactive digital “Biography of a Book” project. This innovative project aims to tell the individual and collective stories of books, ranging from the survival of one of only two extant medieval copies of an ancient Roman cookbook, to a twentieth century re-imagining of a classic work of Renaissance anatomy.

“We are extremely pleased to have the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities for our growing digital program,” said Academy President Jo Ivey Boufford, MD. “Exploring the intersections of medicine, humanities and the arts is a core priority for the Academy. This prestigious planning grant will allow us to bring some of our world-class Library’s treasures to broad public audiences.”

The Academy Library, which holds one of the most extensive rare book collections in the United States, has selected and digitized 12 rare books and manuscripts from its collection for the project, including the two earliest manuscripts: Apicius de re culinaria, a collection of recipes attributed to the second century Roman gourmand by the same name; and Guy de Chauliac’s Chirurgia Magna, or “great surgery,” a fourteenth-century illuminated manuscript and authoritative text on surgery through the seventeenth century. The goal of the project is to produce an innovative, interactive exhibit that will make these books more accessible to a broad audience through the use of timelines, side by side technologies, and digital interactives that illuminate how they were created, who used them, and who collected them.

The main goal of the “Biography of a Book” discovery phase, to be conducted between January and December 2017, is to develop a robust design document that will help to inform the prototype and implementation phases of the project.

The grant supports the convening an advisory committee comprising experts in the areas of history of medicine, history of the book, digital humanities, user research and technology. The committee will provide feedback both on content and on user experience.

“The distinguished group of scholars in the humanities and information science who have volunteered their time to help take the project forward indicates the importance of the work the Academy Library is doing to bring interdisciplinary communities together,” said Robin Naughton, PhD, Head of Digital at the Academy Library.

 

Advisory Committee Members

Denise Agosto, Professor, College of Computing & Informatics, Drexel University

Carin Berkowitz, Director, Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Janet Golden, Professor of History, Department of History, Rutgers University-Camden

Anthony Grafton, Professor, Department of History, Princeton University

Heidi Knoblauch, Independent scholar (formerly Bard College)

Craig MacDonald, Assistant Professor, School of Information, Pratt Institute

Mike Sappol, EURIAS Senior Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala

Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History, Columbia University

Nick Wilding, Associate Professor, Department of History, Georgia State University

About The New York Academy of Medicine

The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide.

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world’s rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy, and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.

New Exhibit at the Countway Library Commemorates Harvard Medical School’s Relief Efforts during World War I

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

This post courtesy Jack Eckert, Public Services Librarian at the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Harvard Medical School.

Although the United States did not enter World War I until April 1917, American medical personnel were active in war relief efforts from nearly the beginning of the conflict. Harvard Medical School—its faculty and its graduates—played a key role in this relief work by providing staff for French and English hospitals and military units, and these early endeavors provided invaluable experience once America came into the war and the need to organize and staff base and mobile hospitals for the U.S. Army became critical to the war effort.

Noble Work for a Worthy End, a new exhibit at the Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine, charts Harvard’s participation in this medical relief work and experiences in military medicine and surgery through the wealth of first-hand documentation preserved by the men and women who volunteered their time and labor, sometimes at great sacrifice, to helping the sick and wounded of the First World War. Highlights of the display include records of the Harvard University Service organized by Harvey Cushing at the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris.  This unit’s brief sojourn in the spring of 1915 is documented through photographs and postcards, publications, and a copy of Elliott Carr Cutler’s daily journal of his experiences.

The Medical School’s most enduring contribution to the war effort was the Harvard Surgical Unit, which first arrived in Europe in July 1915.  Inspired by Sir William Osler, the unit provided physicians, surgeons, dentists, and nurses to staff the British Expeditionary Force’s No. 22 General Hospital at Camiers, France. The exhibit includes photograph albums, letters, drawings, newsclippings, Paul Dudley White’s diary account of a case of shell shock, medical field cards and case notes, and unusual ephemera, including an armband worn by members of the Unit and an enamel pin presented by the Harvard Corporation to the unit’s nurses, along with a testimonial of gratitude from King George V.

Final Inspection of the Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Final Inspection of the Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Once the United States entered the European conflict, Harvard faculty and students became involved with staffing base hospitals for the Army. The exhibit also chronicles the work and experiences at Base Hospital No. 5, a unit formed from Harvard and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital personnel.  Base Hospital No. 5, one of the first units to reach France, remained on loan to the British Expeditionary Force for the duration of the war, at which point it had treated some 45,000 soldiers, and, notably, sustained casualties from an air raid bombing on September 4, 1917. Photographs, a letter from Harvey Cushing describing the air raid, and records of Walter B. Cannon’s research on surgical shock are all included.

Noble Work for a Worthy End: Harvard Medical School in the First World War is on display on the first floor of the Countway Library of Medicine and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. A companion online exhibit is also available here .

Yale Medicine Goes to War, 1917

A new exhibition from Medical Heritage Library partner Yale University entitled “Yale Medicine Goes to War, 1917″ commemorates America’s entry into the war at the local level. From mobilizing a “first of its kind” Mobile Hospital Unit, No. 39, to research on the effects of chemical warfare, this exhibition explores the many ways that Yale Medical School faculty, researchers, and students contributed to the war effort at home and abroad. The war diaries of Harvey Cushing, a pioneering neurosurgeon and Sterling Professor of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine (1932–1939), are also on view, documenting the trials and trauma of war, particularly brain damage arising from shell fragments, shrapnel, and gunshot wounds.

 

Harvey Cushing in uniform.

Harvey Cushing in uniform.

We cannot talk about Yale’s involvement in the Great War without mentioning Dr. Harvey Cushing. While he was teaching at the Harvard Medical School, Cushing, who graduated from Yale in 1891 and would later become Sterling Professor of Neurology in the Yale School of Medicine, directed a French hospital at the war front. He meticulously recorded his experience in a set of diaries, currently located in Medical Historical Library, Yale University. In 1936, Cushing published a single volume on his war experiences, derived from his diaries, entitled From A Surgeon’s Journal, 1915-1918.

During the war, Cushing operated on head injuries that contained shrapnel. He developed, with his colleagues, a surgical magnet that could help him reach shrapnel pieces without killing the patient. In From a Surgeon’s Journal, Cushing discusses a difficult removal, and the refitting of the magnet using a wire nail to finally grab an elusive fragment of steel embedded in his patient’s brain. Cushing, who was also an artist, drew a rough sketch of the scene.

Image of Harvey Cushing removing shrapnel from a soldier’s brain using a magnet.

Image of Harvey Cushing removing shrapnel from a soldier’s brain using a magnet.

Other materials in the Medical Heritage Library on Cushing and the Harvard Unit’s experiences in the war include The story of U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 5, authored by Cushing and published in 1919, and a letter from Cushing published in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin on the bombing of the Harvard Base Hospital in 1917.

The Medical Heritage Library is currently working on a multi-institutional online exhibition that will encompass a larger history of medicine in World War 1. Look for in the coming months!

NHPRC awarded a grant to UCSF Archives and Special Collections

~This post courtesy of Polina Ilieva, Head of USCF Archives & Special Collections

UCSF Archives and Special Collections (A&SC) is pleased to announce it has been awarded a 2016 National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) grant from the National Archives in support of the project, Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections, an expansion of the AIDS History Project (AHP).

Dr. Selma Dritz, ca. 1982. MSS 2001-04.

Dr. Selma Dritz, ca. 1982. MSS 2001-04.

The project will greatly expand the historical record of San Francisco’s broad-based response to the AIDS public health crisis, and make discoverable and accessible by a wide audience a new corpus of materials related to the evolution of that response. These collections reveal breakthroughs in containing the AIDS epidemic and treating AIDS patients that were made possible by the collaborative efforts of educators, researchers, clinicians, and community advocates. The collections included in this grant are interconnected and form a unique body of research materials.

The $86,258 award will aid in creating and making accessible detailed finding aids for seven recently acquired collections comprising a total of 373 linear feet. These collections range from the research files of science writer Laurie Garrett and the papers of Drs. Don Francis and John Greenspan of UCSF and Selma Dritz of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, to the records of two UCSF entities, the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and the AIDS Health Project, and files from the early and pioneering publication AIDS Treatment News, produced by community activist John James. Diverse audiences will benefit from having access to the archival collections comprising this new project. They include scholars and students in disciplines such as history, literature, medicine, jurisprudence, journalism, and sociology,and members of the general public pursuing individual areas of interest, especially younger members of the GLBT community who seek a better understanding of this important period in history.

Page from the UCSF AIDS Health Project records, AR 2007–14.

Page from the UCSF AIDS Health Project records, AR 2007–14.

A small portion of the collections will be digitized and made accessible online. This 18-month project will commence on March 1, 2017.

A&SC would like to thank the National Historical Publications & Records Commission, the UCSF AIDS Research Institute, the California Historical Records Advisory Board, and other supporters for their help with this proposal.

About UCSF Archives & Special Collections
The mission of the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is to identify, collect, organize, interpret, and maintain rare and unique material to support research and teaching of the health sciences and medical humanities and to preserve institutional memory.

Please contact Polina Ilieva, Head of UCSF Archives & Special Collections with questions about this award.

UCSF Archives Talk: What Will It Take to End AIDS?

Join UCSF Archives & Special Collections for an afternoon talk Wednesday, January 11 at 12:30 – 1:45 pm in the N-217 Auditorium at 513 Parnassus Avenue with the Pulitzer Center supported journalists Jon Cohen, Amy Maxmen and Misha Friedman as they discuss their reporting on HIV/AIDS around the globe featured in the ebook, To End AIDS.

Each journalist illuminates previously under-covered areas of HIV/AIDS reporting and aims to help us think critically.  In this panel discussion we explore just what it will take to end AIDS.

Light refreshments provided while supply lasts. Free and open to the public.

The Battle Creek Sanitarium: Deliverance Through Diet

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has launched a new digital exhibit. Founded in 1866 and rebuilt after a fire in 1903, the Battle Creek Sanitarium of Battle Creek, Michigan was a health resort which employed holistic methods based on principles promoted by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. This mini-exhibition highlights some of the materials held at the Historical Medical Library that were produced by J.H. Kellogg, founder of The Sanitarium, including official Sanitarium publications, as well as those published by The Sanitarium Food Co. It is the first in a series of digital exhibits taken from physical exhibitions the Historical Medical Library curates for display on site in the historic headquarters of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, home of the Mütter Museum.

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Hopkins and the Great War

“Junior Class Hullabaloo Board,” Exhibits: The Sheridan Libraries and Museums, Johns Hopkins University

“Junior Class Hullabaloo Board,” Exhibits: The Sheridan Libraries and Museums, Johns Hopkins University

Chemistry professors recruited to do research in chemical warfare. Surgeons developing revolutionary new techniques to deal with gruesome war injuries. Nurses stepping into unprecedented new leadership roles at home and on the warfront. Student soldiers living in engineering classrooms converted to barracks. All these things and more were experienced by the Johns Hopkins community during World War I. Continue reading

History of the New York Academy of Medicine

Academy’s First Permanent Home: In 1875, the Academy purchased and moved into its first permanent home at 12 west 31st Street. This image of the Academy’s first building will take you back to a different time.

Academy’s First Permanent Home: In 1875, the Academy purchased and moved into its first permanent home at 12 west 31st Street.

The New York Academy of Medicine Library began in 1847 with the intention of serving the Academy fellows, but in 1878, after the collection had expanded to include over 6,000 volumes, Academy President Samuel Purple and the Council voted to open the Library to the public.  It continues to serve both the Academy fellows and the general public, providing an unprecedented level of access to a private medical collection.  Today, the Academy Library is one of the most significant historical libraries in the history of medicine and public health in the world. Continue reading

A 500 Year History of Teaching and Learning Anatomy: Online Exhibit from the College of Physicians

Modern knowledge of human anatomy has its foundation in the work of Galen of Pergamon, a Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher who was born in 130 CE.  Galen’s knowledge of the human body was based on two distinct sets of observations, one derived from his work as physician to gladiators in Pergamon, and the other derived from his dissection of anatomical surrogates, such as pigs and monkeys. Continue reading