From Farmer’s Daughter to Physician: The Advocacy, Activism, and Legacy of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter and her Contemporaries

Portrait photograph of Mary B. Ritter.

Mary Bennett Ritter.

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

The Archives for Women in Medicine is pleased to present a talk by Dr. Gesa Kirsch who will discuss Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter, an early 20th-century woman physician, her cohort of Western women physicians, and the role of the Woman’s Medical Journal in creating and sustaining a large professional network of early women physicians. This lecture will speak directly to Dr. Ritter’s life and leadership and why this story is worthy of restoring to medical and women’s history. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

New to the MHL!

Lots of state medical journals, that’s what’s new around here!

Check out:

And we also have a ton of new monographs:

And as always, check out our full collection for more!

Digital Highlights: Remedial Hypnotism

Now might be about the time in the fall semester when a little remedial something-or-other starts to sound like a pretty good idea — particularly remedial sleep.

Or perhaps you could just use the techniques in The remedial uses of hypnotism to convince yourself you have had more sleep and were ready to go all over again! (If you try that and it works, please do let me know.)

Page through below or follow this link to read Frederic Henry Gerrish’s 1892 The remedial uses of hypnotism.

Digital Highlights: “Letters From a Mourning City”

If you’re a fan of the personal narrative, as I am, then any new one you find is an immediate treasure be it a collection of letters, autobiography, diary, or whatever.

The 1887 Letters from a Mourning City, originally written in Swedish by the traveller Axel Munthe and translated into English by Maude V. White, is a fascinating travelogue of Munthe’s trip to Naples in 1884 during an outbreak of cholera in the city.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read Letters from a Mourning City (Naples. Autumn 1884).

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

Digital Highlights: Getting Ready for All Hallows

Halloween is only a week away, so in preparation, here are some of the texts we can offer on the ghostly and ghastly.

Did we miss out on your favorite? tell us in the comments!

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

Lectures and Conferences, and Panels, Oh My!

I’m seeing lots of announcements for great events going by recently. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Have we missed hearing about something you’re doing? Are you using MHL materials for a talk or a class or a conference panel? Please get in touch and let us know!

Guest Post: Women and the Tropics

troptrialsAs the summer winds down, I’m sure many of us are packing for a last vacation trip. The woman traveler can pick up some 19th century women’s travel and health tips from Tropical trials. A hand-book for women in the tropics.

With a cover featuring a gilded umbrella, palm trees, pyramids, and a list of the many tropical places one could travel in the late 19th century, including China, Burmah [sic], India, Melanesia, and Egypt, Tropical trials is a definitive travel guide for English women heading to exotic destinations.

While my travel essentials include sunscreen, a bathing suit, and a book, ladies in 1883 had exhaustive suggestions for traveling in comfort. Essentials include mosquito curtains, punkahs, an umbrella –silk with a cotton cover– and goggles to fight glare, dust and even “eye-flies.”

Tropical trials also includes remarks on diets (how to make a water filter), domestic economy (how to navigate a bazaar and hire a native chef), and how to treat simple maladies (including giddiness, nervousness, and sea-sickness). Trials particularly shows colonialist bias through its suggestions for the management and rearing of children in the tropics (including its warning against children acquiring Native Habits).

If you’re feeling up to traveling 1883-style, peruse the many suggestions, anecdotes, hints, and general remarks of Major Hunt below or follow this link to read Tropical trials. A hand-book for women in the tropics.

If you’re looking for the man’s guide to the tropics, Major S. Leigh Hunt and Alexander S. Kenny wrote On Duty under a Tropical Sun, also available via the Medial Heritage Library. The authors suggest that while each book are complete travel guides, On Duty especially addresses men’s issues while Tropical Trials is best suited for women.

Flip through the pages of Tropical trials below!

Digital Highlights: CSI (circa 1905)

Police procedurals — such as the popular CSI series and its spin-offs and imitators — were not the cultural presence in turn of the century America that they are today. The development of the detective story and the crime novel are fascinating topics in and of themselves, but so is the development of “legal medicine” — what we might now call “forensic pathology.”

Frank W. Draper was one of the original practitioners of legal medicine in Massachusetts. He held positions at Harvard University, first in 1877 as a lecturer in legal medicine under Professor Walter Channing and then in 1884 as a professor of the same subject. When the Office of the Massachusetts Medical Examiner was created in 1877 to replace the officer of the coroner, Draper was appointed as the first ME for the Commonwealth.

Draper wrote one of the original North American texts on legal medicine, A text-book of legal medicine in 1905 — as with many professors since his appointment, he had to create the textbook for the classes he taught.

Flip through the pages below or visit A text-book of legal medicine to read Draper’s full text.

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