Call for Artifacts!

The New York Academy of Medicine is working with the Museum of the City of New York and Wellcome Collection on an exhibition based around epidemic disease in NYC for September 2018. “Germ City: Microbes, Migration, and the Metropolis” will use specific sites of disease outbreaks, and responses to contagious disease, to explore New York City’s public health history.
 
Artifacts with a New York connection are of particular interest, as are artifacts that reflect individual stories and experiences, as well as those relating to clinical and public health responses to disease.
 
We would be grateful for information about specific artifacts and/or details of relevant catalogs or collections. Thanks to those who have already responded to our call, and I look forward to discovering other relevant materials.

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.

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. Continue reading

The John K. Lattimer Lecture: “The Marrow of Tragedy: Disease and Diversity in Civil War Medicine”

Please join The New York Academy of Medicine (1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029) on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 6:00PM-7:30PM for Margaret Humphreys’ John K. Lattimer Lecture.

Health care in the U.S. Civil War is often depicted as gruesome, with amputations (sans anesthesia) as the centerpiece of horror. In actuality, hospitals could be sites of healing, although there were significant differences between North and South. In this lecture, Margaret Humphreys highlights the variations among medical loci during the war, an analysis that illustrates the aspects of “good health care” that made a difference in the survival of Civil War patients. Continue reading

Blood Transfusion: 350 Years

Richard Lower (1631–1691), anatomist. Oil painting by Jacob Huysmans. Iconographic Collections, Wellcome Library, London, accessed through Wellcome Images, https://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0007626.html.

Richard Lower (1631–1691), anatomist. Oil painting by Jacob Huysmans.

Three hundred and fifty years ago, on December 17, 1666, the Philosophical Transactions published the first account of blood transfusion, in the form of a letter from physician Richard Lower to chemist Robert Boyle.i Lower’s experiments transfused blood from one dog to another. The article provided his methods, specifying where the arteries and veins were to be cut, how the quill was to be inserted that formed the blood’s conduit between animals, and many other details of the operation. Continue reading

Cartes-de-Visite Collection: A Glimpse into the Data

Carte-de-visite of Emily Blackwell (1826-1910), English born physician. Photograph by W. Kurtz.

Carte-de-visite of Emily Blackwell (1826-1910), English-born physician. Photograph by W. Kurtz.

The New York Academy of Medicine Library  has digitized our collection of cartes de visite, small inexpensive photographs mounted on cards that became popular during the second part of the 19th century, through the Metropolitan New York Library Council’s (METRO) Culture in Transit: Digitizing and Democratizing New York’s Cultural Heritage grant.  The grant allows METRO to send a mobile scanning unit to libraries and cultural institutions around the city to digitize small collections and make them available through METRO’s digital portal  and the Digital Public Library of America .

Our collection consists of 223 late 19th– and early 20th-century photographs of national and international figures in medicine and public health.  This collection contains portraits both of lesser-known individuals and of famous New York physicians, such as Abraham Jacobi, Lewis Albert Sayre, Willard Parker, Stephen Smith, Emily Blackwell, and Valentine Mott. It also includes many with international reputations: Robert Koch, Louis Pasteur, Hermann von Helmholtz, Rudolf Virchow, and others.

 

Names of Subjects in Collection

Names of Subjects in Collection

Exploring the metadata of the collection provides a glimpse into the richness and surprises of the collection.  We identified most of the subjects, but there are three subjects that we only have the last name and one subject that is completely unknown. You can learn more about these subjects on our blog.

The majority of the subjects are physicians, but there is one lawyer and politician, John Van Buren, an American. There is also a carte of Celine B. (Mrs. Alexander) Hosack, widow of Dr. Alexander Eddy Hosack.  The auditorium at the Academy is named for Dr. Hosack to commemorate her generous bequest to the Academy’s finances in the 1880s.  There are only four women in the collection:

The subjects of the collection represented countries in Europe and North America.  Five of the most frequent are:

  • American 32% (71 cartes de visite)
  • German 25% (55 cartes de visite)
  • English/British 9% (20 cartes de visite)
  • Austrian 8% (18 cartes de visite)
  • French 6%) (13 cartes de visite)

There are also Bavarian, Canadian, Czech, Hungarian, Irish, Prussian, Scottish and Swiss subjects in the collection.

A majority of the subjects were photographed in America and Germany. Thirty-six percent of the photographs were taken in New York, 10% in Berlin, 10% in Vienna, and 9% in London to round out the top studio locations.  The most frequent photographers in the collection were:

  • Barraud & Jerrard 23% (17 cartes de visite)
  • Rockwood & Co. 21% (16 cartes de visite)
  • Falk 21% (16 cartes de visite)
  • Mora 20% (15 cartes de visite)
  • Kurtz 15% (11 cartes de visite)

 

Photographers or Studio Names in the Collection

Photographers or Studio Names in the Collection

We are still exploring the data of the collection, but wanted to provide a quick glimpse into what we’ve found thus far.  We are thrilled to share our entire collection on the Digital Culture website. You can view the front and back of each carte, and find out brief information about the physicians and scientists pictured. View all of the Academy Library’s digitized collections.

This post was co-authored with Arlene Shaner, MA, MLS. She is Historical Collections Librarian in the Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room of the New York Academy of Medicine Library, where she has been on the staff since January of 2001.

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!

Medical Heritage Library Awarded NEH Grant for Digitization of State Medical Society Journals, 1900 – 2000

The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital resource on the history of medicine and health developed by an international consortium of cultural heritage repositories, has received funding in the amount of $275,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its proposal “Medicine at Ground Level: State Medical Societies, State Medical Journals, and the Development of American Medicine and Society.“ Additional funding has been provided by the Harvard Library.

The project, led by the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine, will create a substantial digital collection of American state medical society journals, digitizing 117 titles from 46 states, from 1900 to 2000, comprising 2,500,369 pages in 3,579 volumes. State medical society journal publishers agreed to provide free and open access to journal content currently under copyright. Once digitized, journals will join the more than 75,000 monographs, serials, pamphlets, and films now freely available in the MHL collection in the Internet Archive.  State medical society journals will provide additional context for the rare and historical American medical periodicals digitized during the recently completed NEH project, Expanding the Medical Heritage Library: Preserving and Providing Online Access to Historical Medical Periodicals. Full text search is available through the MHL website. MHL holdings can also be accessed through DPLA (dp.la), and the Wellcome Library’s UK-MHL.

Five preeminent medical libraries, including three founding members of the MHL, are collaborating on this project: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University; the Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health at The New York Academy of Medicine; the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, the Founding Campus (UMB); and the Library and Center for Knowledge Management at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).

State medical society journals document the transformation of American medicine in the twentieth century at both the local and national level. The journals have served as sites not only for scientific articles, but for medical talks (and, often, accounts of discussions following the talks), local news regarding sites of medical care and the medical profession, advertisements, and unexpurgated musings on medicine and society throughout the 20th century. When digitized and searchable as a single, comprehensive body of material, this collection will be a known universe, able to support a limitless array of historical queries, including those framed geographically and/or temporally, offering new ways to examine and depict the evolution of medicine and the relationship between medicine and society.

Project supporter and former president of the American Association for the History of Medicine, Professor of History Nancy J. Tomes, Stony Brook University, notes, “the value of this collection lies precisely in the insights state journals provide on issues of great contemporary interest. They shed light on questions at the heart of today’s policy debates: why do physicians treat specific diseases so differently in different parts of the country? Why is it such a challenge to develop and implement professional policies at the national level? How do state level developments in health insurance influence federal policy and vice versa? How do factors such as race, class, gender, and ethnicity affect therapeutic decision making? How have methods of promoting new therapies and technologies changed over time? These are issues of interest not only to historians but to political scientists, sociologists, and economists.

Not only will the state journals be of great use to researchers, but they also will be a great boon to teachers. I can easily imagine using the collection to engage medical students, residents, and practicing physicians in the conduct of historical research.”

Digitization will begin in August 2015; the project will be completed in April 2017.

About the Medical Heritage Library:

The MHL (www.medicalheritage.org) is a content centered digital community supporting research, education, and dialog that enables the history of medicine to contribute to a deeper understanding of human health and society. It serves as the point of access to a valuable body of quality curated digital materials and to the broader digital and nondigital holdings of its members. It was established in 2010 with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to digitize 30,000 medical rare books. For more about the Medical Heritage Library, its holdings, projects, advisors, and collaborators, and how you can participate, see http://www.medicalheritage.org/.

About the NEH/Digital Humanities Program:

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. For more on the NEH Office of Digital Humanities visit http://www.neh.gov/odh/.