Tips for new students: Personal librarians, booking study rooms, and more

10 August 2016 - 4:14pm by Andy Hickner

This week the library welcomes incoming students.  We felt it was a good time to highlight a few links you might find handy as you start your studies at Yale.

First, there's our personal librarian program.  Did you know every YSM, YSN, and YSPH student has a personal librarian?  Here's a video about the program that we love, made by YSM students back in 2009:

Here are a few more links you might find useful:

Welcome!  And stay tuned for more helpful tips.

Back to School Supply Drive, August 8-August 22, 2016

9 August 2016 - 12:36pm by Andy Hickner

Yale’s diversity affinity groups are partnering to collect donations of school supplies for elementary students in New Haven’s Brennan-Rogers Magnet School.  Please consider donating new supplies, such as:
  • Binders
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Pens
  • Notebook paper
  • Erasers
  • Rulers
  • Scotch tape
  • Markers
  • Pocket folders
The Library is hosting a drop box in the lobby.  For questions, please contact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at (203) 432-9667.

Beneath the Surface: Watermarks and Flayed Figures in Cushing’s Manuscript of Jacob van der Gracht

26 July 2016 - 10:31am by Andy Hickner

(by Erin Travers*)

An image from Gracht Anatomie

Drawing after Jacob van der Gracht's Third Figure, Cushing Manuscript, Yale University. Early-18th century. Red and Black Chalk

On the back of a letter from the antiquarian and bookseller Menno Hertzberger, dated 29 March 1927, Harvey Cushing recorded his observations concerning a manuscript of Jacob van der Gracht’s printed drawing book, the Anatomy of the outer parts of the human body (The Hague, 1634; Rotterdam, 1660), which had been sent to Boston from Amsterdam. This text, prepared by the seventeenth-century Dutch painter and engraver for the use of “Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, and also Surgeons,” brought Van der Gracht renown during his life, and continues to be his most well known work today. The manuscript version contains twenty-two pages of text and illustration, including a handwritten version of Van der Gracht’s preface, a section on the bones taken from André du Laurens, fragmented comments on the muscles, and explanatory registers for the accompanying illustrations of skeletal and écorché figures that mimic those published in Andreas Vesalius’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Basel, 1543). Hopeful that the drawings may have been preparatory works for the engraved plates, on inspection, Cushing found that the use of red and black chalk to demarcate the flesh and bones of the figures, while visually pleasing, was not conducive to the medium of print. Moreover, he writes that the larger scale of the figures and the presence of the registers on the back of the illustrations, made it unlikely that these were the final cartoons from which Van der Gracht worked, though they may have been an earlier experiment by the seventeenth-century Dutch artist. Contemplating whether a previous owner may have added the text to the illustrations at a later date, Cushing noted, “The paper, however, in the original seven leaves of text bears the same watermarks as that on which the drawings are made. It would be interesting to know the date and place of this paper.”

During my time at the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University as a Ferenc Gyorgyey Travel Research Grant recipient, I have pursued Cushing’s curiosity and investigated the watermarks hidden in the paper of the Van der Gracht manuscript to determine the date and location of its production.  Using online databases, including the Memory of Paper, ( compiled by the Bernstein Consortium, my research makes use of resources that were not available to Cushing in the early twentieth century. Moreover, it is only with the relatively recent publications on Dutch watermarks, such as Theo and Frans Laurentius’s study of the Zeeland archives, or Nancy Ash, Shelley Fletcher, and Erik Hinterding’s works on Rembrandt’s prints, that this type of research is possible. Yet, despite the advances made in this field since the early twentieth century, this method for dating a work on paper should be approached with caution, as the medium is both geographically and temporally transient, and therefore should be considered as a general guide for attribution.

Fleur-de-lys watermark
Fleur-de-lys watermark

"IV" countermark
"IV" countermark

Together, watermark analysis and study of the formal properties of the drawings offers complementary evidence through which we can determine the relation of the manuscript to the published drawing book. The Cushing manuscript offers a clean and consistent watermark of a Strasbourg Bend, a shield with two diagonal bands that is mounted by a fleur-de-lis, and a countermark of the letters “IV."  Indicting the initials of the paper maker Jean Villedary (1668-1758), the countermark, design of the watermark, their size and relation to the vertical chain lines of the paper are consistent with samples dating from Amsterdam and London between 1718 and 1722, making it likely that the manuscript was produced in the first quarter of the eighteenth century (Churchill, no. 437 and Heaward, nos. 73 and 78). Given this date, the possibility that the drawings could have been executed prior to the publication of the printed text is unlikely, and visual analysis of the figures confirms this hypothesis. The process of engraving in the early modern period entailed the incision of a design into a copper plate, which was coated with ink and then pressed onto a piece of paper, transferring the image and resulting in the reversal of the initial example. Essentially, the preparatory work and final print should appear as mirror images of one another. However, in the case of the Cushing manuscript, the figures share the orientation found in the final prints. 

Carefully adhering to the model provided by the prints, the drawn figures that occupy the Cushing manuscript are copies made at a later date, and as such offer information concerning the continued engagement with and changing expectations of these types of illustrations by artists and anatomists. Questions concerning this shift are addressed in my on-going dissertation research, which examines the exchange and adaptation of pictorial knowledge between artists and anatomists in the seventeenth-century Netherlands. I am grateful to the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library for its support of my project, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to investigate an inquiry first raised by Cushing nearly one hundred years ago.

Erin Travers

*Erin Travers is a PhD candidate, history of art and architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, and a 2016 Ferenc Gyorgyey Fellow

The Library at 75: Remembering the first PC in the library

22 July 2016 - 4:22pm by Andy Hickner

The First PC in the Library : Looking back as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library from Lei Wang on Vimeo.

As part of our 75th anniversary commemorations, we recently sat down with retired Library Director Kenny Marone and Assistant Director Jan Glover to talk about some of their memories of decades past and to learn how the Library has changed over the years.  In this excerpt from their conversation, Kenny and Jan reminisce about when the first PC came to the Library.  Watch more 75th anniversary video interviews, and share your own stories, at

Spotlight on the Humanities in Medicine Collection

14 July 2016 - 6:31pm by Alyssa Grimshaw

Spotlight on the Humanities in Medicine Collection


Check out the newest book in the Humanities in Medicine Collection, Aliceheimer’s Alzheimer’s Through the Looking Glass.

Image of the cover of Aliceheimer's Alzheimer's Through the Looking Glass

Excerpt from the book cover:

“Alice was always beautiful—Armenian immigrant beautiful, with thick, curly black hair, olive skin, and big dark eyes,” writes Dana Walrath. Alice also has Alzheimer’s, and while she can remember all the songs from The Music Man, she can no longer attend to the basics of caring for herself. Alice moves to live with her daughter, Dana, in Vermont, and the story begins.

Aliceheimer’s is a series of illustrated vignettes, daily glimpses into their world with Alzheimer’s. Walrath’s time with her mother was marked by humor and clarity: “With a community of help that included pirates, good neighbors, a cast of characters from space-time travel, and my dead father hovering in the branches of the maple trees that surround our Vermont farmhouse,Aliceheimer’s let us write our own story daily—a story that, in turn, helps rewrite the dominant medical narrative of aging.”

In drawing Alice, Walrath literally enrobes her with cut-up pages from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She weaves elements from Lewis Carroll’s classic throughout her text, using evocative phrases from the novel to introduce the vignettes, such as “Disappearing Alice,” “Missing Pieces,” “Falling Slowly,” “Curiouser and Curiouser,” and “A Mad Tea Party.”

Walrath writes that creating this book allowed her not only to process her grief over her mother’s dementia, but also “to remember the magic laughter of that time.” Graphic medicine, she writes, “lets us better understand those who are hurting, feel their stories, and redraw and renegotiate those social boundaries. Most of all, it gives us a way to heal and to fly over the world as Alice does.” In the end, Aliceheimer’s is indeed strangely and utterly uplifting.

Want to know more about this book? Here is the link to the New York Times blog post by Nancy Stearns Bercaw: 

Humanities in Medicine Collection is located across from the Circulation Desk.

Access to Partek Flow for the analysis of NGS data available to Yale biomedical researchers

8 July 2016 - 2:11pm by Rolando Garcia-Milian

The Yale Medical Library is providing access to Partek Flow, a Graphical User Interface and user-friendly software for the analysis of RNA, SmallRNA, and DNA sequencing experiments. A webinar showing how to use this software will take place in SHM C-103 on August 4, 2016 (see details below).

Webinar: NGS Data Analysis in Partek Software

Registration here

Description: Why have over 5,000 scientific articles cited Partek software for turning their data into discovery? Because it empowers scientists to perform sophisticated statistical analyses with intuitive point-and-click actions, no command-line knowledge needed.

 Join us for a complimentary webinar to see how Partek Flow software can be used to analyze your RNA, SmallRNA, and DNA sequencing experiments. Using an RNA-Seq data set, we’ll demonstrate how to check read quality, align reads against a reference genome, quantify RNA transcript levels, and identify differentially expressed genes. We’ll show you how to save your analysis steps and parameters in your own start-to-finish, repeatable and shareable pipeline.

The webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session.

Flow that aligns RNA-Seq reads to a reference genome using the STAR aligner followed by quantification of reads to a transcriptome (from

Date & Time:      9:30am - 11:00am, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Location:              C-103 - SHM 333 Cedar St, New Haven CT 06520

Campus:              Medical School

Presenter:          Eric Seiser, PhD, Field Application Scientist, Partek Inc.

YaleNews article on the Library's 75th anniversary

24 June 2016 - 9:11am by Andy Hickner

We enjoyed the YaleNews' story on the Library this week in commemoration of our 75th anniversary.  In addition to outlining the history of the Library's founding, author Mike Cummings interviewed faculty members and Library Director John Gallagher to highlight some of our current priorities and activities:

“We see ourselves as partners in research,” Gallagher said, adding that the library not only assists researchers in accessing information and data but also in advising them on how to manage both — which is important because funding organizations increasingly require making the findings of sponsored research available for use by others.

(Dr Paul) Barash, who uses the library several times a week, praised the library’s willingness and ability to adapt and tailor its service to meet the needs of researchers and clinicians.

“They’ve kept up,” he said.  “You can’t necessarily say that about every institution at Yale, but the library has done a great job of adapting its resources and services.”

Check out the full article here.

2016 Journal Citation Reports released

23 June 2016 - 4:20pm by Andy Hickner

The 2016 update of the Journal Citation Reports (JCR) is now available. The JCR provide annual metrics for peer-reviewed journals, including Journal Impact Factors (JIF) and other data that can be used to evaluate a journal's impact on its field.  Click here for the full press release from JCR publisher Thomson Reuters and click here to access the JCR (you must be on the Yale network).  You can learn more about the JCR and other journal-level metrics of research impact by watching our video tutorial on the topic. 

Winners of the "Happy birthday, Harvey" Instagram contest

20 June 2016 - 9:54am by Andy Hickner

(by Melissa Grafe and Charlotte Abney Solomon)
In celebration of Harvey Cushing's birthday on April 8th and the Medical Library’s 75th Anniversary, the Medical Historical Library invited all Instagram users visiting the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale to share their best photos taken within our space. Contestants used the hashtag #HappyBirthdayHarvey and tagged our account, @yalemedhistlib. On display are the winners of the Instagram Challenge.
Jon Rolfe's photo
Brainiest Instagram: Best photo taken in the Cushing Center
@rolfoid- Jon Rolfe
Jon commented on his photograph that “The Cushing Center is a fun place for brainy Yale students.”

Anna Ziganshina
Most Studious Instagram: Best photo taken while studying in the library- Honorable mention
@annapziganshina- Anna Ziganshina
Anna tells us that "it is never too early to learn."
Diane DiFazio's photo
Judges’ Favorite Instagram: Best photo overall
@archibrarian- Diane DiFazio
What inspired Diane to take this particular photo: 
“A few things: I expected a beautiful reading space at YMHL, but I'm often drawn to the details, and the metalwork in the Library caught my attention, so I took this photo because it represented medicine (hello, rod of Asclepius!), as well as the distinctive bookcases, other Tudor-style interior details, natural lighting, and bi-level space. My background's in architecture and I'm a librarian, so it was thrilling to be in a space that was both well-designed and inspiring; the Library continues the architectural traditions of great libraries. (And, I love how Harvey Cushing's ideas were realized by his friend and former classmate, architect Grosvenor Atterbury.) I thought the balustrades around the mezzanine (in the rotunda, too) were interesting, but I didn't realize how cool Atterbury's design really was until later! I thought, "Neat, I wonder if that's wrought iron," but later read that the railings are aluminum ... with decorative steel cutouts (!), and that it was all designed to mask lighting fixtures, which is such a fantastic modern way of the architect to handle things! So good.”Kevin Nguyen's photo
Happiest Birthday Instagram: Best selfie or other photo including an image of Harvey Cushing or the words “Happy Birthday Harvey”
@kevin.a.nguyen- Kevin Nguyen
With this selfie, Kevin noted, "Biology gives you a brain, but life transforms it into a mind."
Sona Ghorashi's photo
Most Collectible Instagram: Best photo taken of an image, book, or other item in any CWML current or historical collections
@sona.ghorashi- Sona Ghorashi
Sona accompanied her photograph with this comment: "A path to the light through the shadows, at the Medical library." 
Meg Ritchey's photo
Most Studious Instagram: Best photo taken while studying in the library
@magic_meg- Megan Ritchey
Megan captioned this lovely image of the Medical Historical Library with "The whole place to myself.”

"Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange with Harvey Cushing”: Theresa Barden's National History Day project

17 June 2016 - 4:43pm by Andy Hickner

By Terry Dagradi, Cushing Center Coordinator

Theresa Barden, a 9th grade student at Coventry High School, Rhode Island, visited the Cushing Center last year with her sister Mary Barden, a 4th year Yale medical student, and in her words "was amazed." Theresa decided to participate in this year’s National History Day, with the theme "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange,” and did her project on Dr. Harvey Cushing. 

As the coordinator of the Cushing Center, I was happy to accept her request for an interview to answer questions regarding Harvey Cushing and the Cushing Tumor Registry. 

The results of her work are in!  See below, the photo of her impressive National History Day project.

Theresa Barden

"Thank you so much for your interview! I ended up placing in 1st for my division. (Senior individual exhibit). In the beginning of June, I'm going to Washington DC to compete in nationals. Thanks again!”  

Theresa Barden  - April 13, 2016

The Cushing Center is open for research!

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