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New Exhibition: The Enduring Appeal of “The Doctor”

10 February 2020 - 12:54pm by Katherine Isham

Curated by Katherine Isham The Medical Historical Library announces a new exhibition in our reading room: “The Enduring Appeal of ‘The Doctor’” featuring recent gifts from medical historian Bert Hansen, Ph.D. “The Doctor,” painted by Sir Luke Fildes in 1891, has been a popular and influential image in the history of medicine for more than a century. The painting of a Victorian doctor attending a sick child in a poor workman’s cottage held great appeal for the general public, who responded to the sympathetic portrayal. Members of the medical profession embraced the painting as a depiction of the ideal physician firmly rooted in the humanitarian traditions of medicine and not defined by the pristine clinical coldness of laboratory science which was redefining modern medicine at the end of the 19th century. By 1900, over one million prints of “The Doctor” were sold in the United States alone.  In the 20th century, the enduring charm of “The Doctor” was employed in advertising, merchandise, political campaigns, and publishing, making it one of the most recognized images in modern medical history. Some of the most famous uses of “The Doctor” include a life-size three-dimensional exhibition at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, a United States postage stamp, and the image for an anti-nationalized medicine lobbying campaign by the American Medical Association. The exhibition displays a variety of prints and objects dating from 1907 to 2009.

The Bert Hansen Collection of Medicine and Public Health in Popular Graphic Art

17 January 2020 - 1:56pm by Katherine Isham

The Medical Historical Library announces the availability of Ms Coll 67 The Bert Hansen Collection of Medicine and Public Health in Popular Graphic Art, which includes over 1200 images and items produced between 1850 and 2010 with additional reference materials. The collection is a gift of historian Bert Hansen, Ph.D., whose goal was to document the visual record of medical practice and research and public health in America. Over a period of thirty years, Hansen selected materials produced for the general public (not medical or public health professionals) that use medical imagery as an accompaniment to news items, for advertisements, for political satire, or for decorative items that celebrate medical history. Items in the collection include magazines, prints, posters, film publicity materials, product brochures, and promotional materials.  Hansen also donated photocopied reference materials, such as newspapers, as part of this gift. The Bert Hansen Collection of Medicine and Public Health in Popular Graphic Art includes over 600 prints, including chromolithographs and wood engravings from 19th-century magazines like Harper’s Weekly, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Puck, Judge, and Scientific American on topics including Pasteur’s treatments for rabies, cholera, diphtheria, polio, tuberculosis, vaccinations, hospitals, mental asylums, unsafe foodstuffs, and public sanitation. There are numerous illustrations using medical imagery in political satire. The collection also contains 20th-century popular magazines such as Life, which often included multiple page photographic essays featuring cutting-edge photographic techniques, Look, Saturday Evening Post, Newsweek, and Time. These magazines regularly reported on medical and scientific advancements and noted medical and public health practitioners. Topics covered in this series include polio, cancer, organ transplants, development of artificial organs, medicine in wartime, midwifery, contraception, fertility, mental health, gender, sexuality, and medical ethics. Finally, the collection includes ephemeral material such as medical history themed frameable prints, publicity materials for Hollywood films about physicians, brochures for medical devices, health department signs, calendars, and event posters.   Hansen has been teaching history at Baruch College of CUNY since 1994. He holds degrees in chemistry (Columbia) and history of science (Princeton).  Prof. Hansen has written on obstetrics teaching in the 1860s, the new medical categorization of homosexuals in the 1890s, the advocacy for public health and sanitation in political cartoons from 1860 to 1900, and the popularity of medical history heroes in children’s comic books.  His book, Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America (Rutgers University Press, 2009), was honored with an award from the Popular Culture Association and named to the “2010 Best of the Best” for Public and Secondary School Libraries by the American Library Association. All materials in The Bert Hansen Collection of Medicine and Public Health in Popular Graphic Art are available for use at the Medical Historical Library reading room. Collection items are listed and described, using information from Bert Hansen’s database, in a finding aid available through Archives at Yale.

MS COLL 64 The Martha H. Roper Papers

11 December 2019 - 1:40pm by Katherine Isham

By Michelle Peralta, Resident Archivist for Yale Special Collections Yale Class of 1974 Alumna Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, Yale University is celebrating fifty years of co-education with many events and exhibitions that demonstrate the magnitude of contributions of Yale’s women graduates in all areas of life, including politics, sports, academia, and medicine. Thus, it feels particularly fitting that the latest archival collection available at the Medical Historical Library, Ms Coll 64 The Martha H. Roper Papers, was created by an alumna of one of Yale’s earliest co-education classes. The collection contains research, publications, and subject files that document the professional career of Martha H. Roper, Yale class of 1974, and her expertise in international epidemiology. A global health authority on maternal and neonatal tetanus, Roper worked for the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).   A Lifetime of Service Martha Roper (known as Marty to most) dedicated her life to serving the underserved. A colleague wrote that Roper “fought for the uplift of those who were poor, marginalized and whose voices are rarely heard. She loved the human moments that come with being in the field, which keep us honest and true to purpose.” Roper’s service brought her across the world, traveling often to remote locations, and sometimes working in challenging conditions, but she remained committed to her cause of providing health care solutions to the most disadvantaged. This commitment was apparent early on in Roper’s career, when she worked as a research assistant at Yale Medical Center providing support for women experiencing domestic abuse in New Haven and contributing to research on battering and domestic abuse of women by their partners. Afterwards, Roper moved to the West coast and eventually worked as the medical director of Highland General Hospital’s Acute Care Clinic in Oakland, California where she was instrumental in providing support and resources for people dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, and pelvic infections. Roper continued to work for public health almost until her untimely passing from lung cancer in 2016.  Meticulous Attention to Detail Roper was known for her attention to detail, and her papers arrived at the Medical Historical Library in records cartons filled with folders arranged by topic and labeled with neat handwriting. The collection includes several notebooks filled with research notes and data, but one journal from Roper’s early career labeled “Die Naturphilosophie,” containing a few entries about Roper’s relocation to Alaska to temporarily fill in for a local doctor in his medical clinic, provides a glimpse of Roper’s personality beyond the known medical professional.  “Enough for today. Tomorrow the adventure truly begins. Tonight, I’ll retire with a book, my usual evening occupation, and thereby bridge my familiar past and unfamiliar future.”  An Emerging Field Martha Roper was an early adopter of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and her papers document howthese new technologies became important tools for the field of epidemiology in the 1990s. The collection includes workshop materials, maps, and her presentation: “Spatial Patterns of Malaria Case Distribution in Padre Cocha, Peru” from the third ever conference on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Public Health in 1998. Ms Coll 64 The Martha H. Roper Papers is open and available for research at the Harvey Cushing / John Hay Whitney Medical Historical Library at Yale University. A description and listing of collection contents is available at Archives at Yale.

New Collection: The Hall-Benedict Drug Company Logbooks and Ledgers

30 August 2019 - 3:26pm by Katherine Isham

The Medical Historical Library is pleased to announce the addition of a new collection to our archives: The Hall-Benedict Drug Company Logbooks and Ledgers (Ms Coll 66), a collection of seventy-five volumes and six boxes, that documents the history of one of the oldest independent drug stores in Connecticut. The collection includes bound prescription logbooks and bound and loose financial ledgers from the Hall-Benedict Drug Company, which was in operation from 1909 to 1998 in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut. The collection contains an almost continuous record of the pharmacy’s operations from 1909 to 1970 and is a wonderful resource for researchers interested in the history of pharmaceuticals, pharmacies in the twentieth century, and business in New Haven. The collection was a gift from Thomas F. and Helen Formichella. History The Hall-Benedict Drug Company was formed in 1909 when Alonzo Benton Hall took on Edward N. Benedict as junior partner. Both men had previous experience in the pharmacy business. Before forming the partnership, Hall operated a pharmacy on Chapel Street in New Haven and Benedict had worked as a druggist and a clerk. Following a national trend of small businesses opening in emerging neighborhoods, they opened the Hall-Benedict Drug Company at 767 Orange Street, a new three-story building located on the northern edge of development in East Rock, New Haven. The business and the business partners were well integrated with the neighborhood. Alonzo Hall and his family lived above the business and Edward Benedict and his family lived on Bishop Street, a few blocks south. The pharmacy provided a message service for local physicians, who would stop by after making house calls, had a bicycle delivery service for customers who couldn’t leave home, and the pharmacy’s soda fountain was a popular hang-out for children from nearby schools and busloads of visitors to East Rock Park. The Hall-Benedict Drug Company remained in operation at 767 Orange Street until 1998, when the business was closed. By that time, they had dispensed over a million prescriptions. During the eighty-nine years it was in operation the Hall-Benedict Drug Company was a family run business. After senior partner Alonzo Benton Hall's death in 1923, junior partner Edward N. Benedict purchased his share and became sole owner of the company and the property. In 1949, Edward N. Benedict died, and ownership of the business and property passed to his wife, M. Katherine Benedict, and after her death to the Benedict's children, Mary Benedict Killion, Frank D. Benedict, and Edward J. Benedict. In 1977 Thomas F. Formichella Jr., Edward N. Benedict’s nephew, who had been with the company since 1953, purchased the business and property and ran the pharmacy until the business was closed in 1998. He passed away in 2007 and his family retained ownership of the 767 Orange Street building until recently. You can still see the Hall-Benedict Drug Company building with the original pharmacy sign capped with the mortar and pestle emblem, ancient symbol of druggists, at the corner of Linden and Orange Streets in New Haven, CT. Prescription Logbooks The Hall-Benedict Drug Company collection includes fifty-two prescription logbooks dating from June 3, 1909 to March 14, 1970. The logbooks are organized by date and each hand-written entry includes a prescription number, the name of a medication, and a name, most likely that of the prescribing physician. In 1909, when the Hall-Benedict Drug Company opened, pharmaceutical companies were producing some medications, but most prescription medicines were made to order by local pharmacies, a process known as “compounding.” Entries in the earlier logbooks of this collection often include the formulas for compounding the medication and directions for patients, which makes them especially interesting. The pharmacists also used the blank spaces inside the book covers to write down useful information, such as formulas for non-prescription medications and products sold by the pharmacy and contact information for local vendors, or to paste in newspaper articles about new medicines or other topics of interest. These logbooks provide researchers with a wealth of details about the use and preparation of medications during a significant time in the history of medicine. Financial Ledgers The Hall-Benedict Drug Company collection also includes 22 volumes and six boxes of financial ledgers dating from May 7, 1909 to December 31, 1967 that contain hand written entries recording income and expenses for the pharmacy. Most of the financial ledgers contain daily income and expense entries with monthly totals, but there are also expense details, summaries and adjustments, balance sheets, profit and loss reports, and a payroll journal. The financial ledgers trace the growth of the business and relationships with vendors, including many local businesses, over a span of almost sixty years. Even for those unfamiliar with accounting, these ledgers provide a wonderfully detailed glimpse into the financial realities of operating a pharmacy in the twentieth century and operating a local family owned business in New Haven. See the Collection All materials in Ms Coll 66 The Hall-Benedict Drug Company Logbooks and Ledgers are open for research and may be requested through Archives at Yale. Selected materials are currently on view in the exhibition cases in the Medical Historical Library reading room through November 2019. Images from top to bottom: 1. Three pharmacists at the Hall-Benedict Drug Company look through prescription logbooks to refill an old prescription. Photo from “A Pioneer Drug Store Fills a Million Prescriptions.” New Haven Register Magazine, December 18, 1960, page 4. 2. John H. Korn, who started with the Hall-Benedict Drug Company in 1917, working at the soda fountain. Orange Street and the lower portion of the sign are visible through the front window. Photo from “A Pioneer Drug Store Fills a Million Prescriptions.” New Haven Register Magazine, December 18, 1960, page 4. 3. Hall-Benedict Drug Company building today with the original sign, East Rock Park is visible in the background. 4. Page from the first prescription logbook used by the Hall-Benedict Drug Company. Prescription entries in this logbook include formulas for compounding medicines and instructions for patients. 
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