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The Perfect Man recently acquired by the Historical Library on view in the Cushing Rotunda Join us for an exhibit tour of selected acquisitions with curator Susan Wheeler Wednesday, February 19, at 12 noon In 1895, the original bodybuilder Eugen Sandow was proclaimed “the perfect man” by Dudley Sargent (YMS 1878). In 1827, former slave Belfast Burton was paid tribute by his patients and mentor in a rare broadside testimonial circulated in Philadelphia. In 1871, J.J. Woodward shared the first micrographs taken in sunlight with the Surgeon General. In 1891, Victor Emile Prouvé employed the most delicate coloring to render opium’s intoxicating sleep state in an art print distributed through subscription portfolio. In 1902, James Haran, British medical officer in newly founded Nairobi, attended all the victims of plague (the first of many outbreaks) leaving complete case records. In 1922, artist Käthe Kollwitz created pro bono a poster announcing public events during Anti-Alcohol Week in Schöneberg, a locality of Berlin. In 1978, Rachel Romero and the San Francisco Poster Brigade plastered the city with activist art “To Hell with their Profits: Stop Forced Drugging of Psychiatric Inmates” produced for the Mental Patients Liberation Movement. These and other acquisitions are on view through May 2, 2014. They are a small sampling of the substantial number of acquisitions through endowment made by the Historical Library, Cushing\Whitney Medical Library.
Finn the Therapy Dog - the newest member of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library's staff - was officially introduced to the Yale community at a coffee hour on Friday, January 24th at 10am. Finn, a certified therapy dog, attended the event with his friend, Krista Knudson. Finn will be here every Friday EXCEPT: February 7 April 4 April 11 The library will provide coffee and snacks.
Stephen Malawista had been associated with the Yale School of Medicine for over 50 years until his death last fall. His research bridged rheumatology, cell biology, inflammation, and infectious diseases. As a colleague Gerald Weismann said of him, “One might call him one of the most original, wide-ranging, and persistent biomedical researchers of his generation. He has made an unusually large number of original contributions, working in a rather unorthodox fashion. Rather than moving in a strictly linear fashion, his work has branched and regrouped as it progressed over many years.” Malawista is best known as the co-discover of Lyme Disease. Through the work of his team on the elucidation of all aspects of the disease and its treatment, Yale and Yale-New Haven Hospital have long been a major center for Lyme Disease research.Malawista was born in Manhattan in 1934 and graduated from Harvard and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. He first came to Yale in 1958 for residency training under Paul Beeson, but he interrupted his residency to study inflammation and gout as a clinical associate under B. N. La Du and J. E. Seegmiller at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (NIAMD). After completing his residency at Yale in 1963, he served as a special NIAMD fellow at Yale under Aaron Lerner. He became a member of the faculty at Yale in 1966 and served as Chief of Rheumatology for 21 years.Before he died, Malawista gave his manuscript papers (the Malawista Papers) to the Historical Library. The Malawista Papers contain correspondence with editors, reviewer reports, drafts of articles, photographs, and handwritten notes.
Exhibit curated by Toby AppelJanuary 23rd-May 2nd, 2014Harvey Cushing/ John Hay Whitney Medical Library foyerJoin us for an exhibit tour on Thursday, February 13 at 11:30. Meet at the entrance to the Medical Library. The tour scheduled for the 13th is cancelled due to inclement weather and will be re-scheduled for a later date. Celebrating a new collection of recently donated medically themed sheet music, this exhibit highlights music on medical providers, purveyors of remedies, ailments both real and imagined, cures for all purposes (especially for lovesickness), health songs for children, and music advertising patent medicines. Most of the music was written for public entertainment, whether in London music halls, Parisian theaters, or American vaudeville and early musicals. Later songs in the collection were aired on the radio, featured in movies, recorded on record labels, or served as themes for TV shows on doctors and hospitals. Songs range from “The Cork Leg,” a traditional Irish song about a self-propelling prosthetic cork leg, to Loretta Lynn singing about the advantages of “The Pill.” The engraved and lithographed covers of the music provide striking images of medicine and popular culture.The collection with over 1,000 items was donated to the Medical Historical Library by William H. Helfand. Discover the entire collection through the finding aid: sheet music collection.
eNeurosurgery is a library of neurosurgical e-books from Thieme Publishers. It also includes a collection of illustrated procedures as well as images and videos. The product has the capability to search the Thieme e-journals and the PubMed database. To find eNeurosurgery, go to the Resources list on the home page, or use Orbis or the e-books database to look it up by title.
Finn the Therapy Dog - the newest member of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library's staff - will be officially introduced to the Yale community at a coffee hour on Friday, January 24th at 10am. Finn, a certified therapy dog, will attend the event with his friend, Krista Knudson. Finn will be in the Medical Library most Fridays for anyone in need of a furry friend. Come join us on most Fridays!
We have a secret! Blog post on an item in the Books of Secrets exhibit, by student curator Nell Meosky Levinus Lemnius (1505-1568) was a Dutch physician who served the community of Manhuissatraat for nearly fourty years, traveled throughout Western Europe, and was highly regarded for his work during epidemics in 1529, 1532, and 1537. Late in life and after his wife’s death, Lemnius went to seminary and became a priest, a transition which informs much of his most well-known book, De Occultis Naturae, which was first published in 1564. Nearly a century after Lemnius’s death, De Occultis Naturae (literally, “The Hidden Nature”) was translated into English by an unknown translator, and given the title The Secret Miracles of Nature. Later, the work would be combined with a German manual on midwifery to produce Aristotle’s Masterpieces. Upon first glance, The Secret Miracles of Nature is an imposing book, much larger than other books of secrets of its day at approximately 11” by 7”. This is likely a sign that the printer was able to invest significantly in creating an impressive image for the book, supported by the robustness of the paper and binding that were used to construct it. Thanks to the reputation of Lemnius, who is described on the title page as “that great physician” and is acknowledged by scholars as well-respected, the printer was probably able to expect good sales of the book to higher class readers. The size of the book allows for more generous margins, which a reader could use to take notes on the recipes recorded within. The font of the text is somewhat larger than that of contemporary books of secrets, but not to scale with the size of the book, creating a formidable amount of reading to be done to reach the end of its 300-some pages. It does not appear, though, that the book was necessarily meant to be read from cover to cover in one setting, as it is made of up discrete recipes. The cover is worn and the edges of the pages, particularly at the very front and back of the book, appear almost charred, very brittle and dark. This suggests that the book was in fact used frequently, and the uneven staining of the pages hints that some of the sections may have been used more often than others. Although no readers’ names are recorded in the book, it seems to have been last owned by an individual around 1911, 250 years after its debut. Lemnius (or the translator) organized the volume into four discrete books: the soul and its immortality; plants and living creatures; diseases, their symptoms and cures; and other rarities. There is also a “bonus book” at the end, containing rules for how a man should lead his life. This book is particularly interesting because of Lemnius’s late-life career as a priest, and it begs the question of whether the four books were penned previously, with the fifth being added once Lemnius completed seminary. Within these books are many chapters, which are named quite descriptively and leave little room to imagine what is discussed on the pages indicated. This organization, and the abstract-like titles of chapters, makes it very easy to find the particular question that you are looking for an answer to – in fact, the titles could serve as something of an executive summary for those who do not wish to read the entire text. However, despite the clear organization of the books in their titles, their content overlaps. In book 1 (on the immortality of the soul), chapter V, Lemnius writes “of the strange longing of women with child, and their insatiable desire of things; And if they cannot get them they are in danger of life.” This chapter, while tangentially related to the soul because of the generation of a new soul through pregnancy, does not seem to quite fit the theme of the rest of the chapters of that book. However, after paging through the rest of the chapter, a logical flow begins to emerge: Lemnius begins with relationships between men and women, then to pregnancy and determination of gender (…the chapter on driving pests away from corn not withstanding). In content, The Secret Miracles of Nature is highly comprehensive, blending natural knowledge with philosophy.The language of the forward is difficult and arcane, but the language of the chapters is often easy to follow and engaging, and Lemnius addresses the book to “those that practice physic, and all others that desire to search into the hidden secrets of NATURE for the increase of Knowledge.” Lemnius often makes references to Hippocrates when explaining his medical decisions, and in book 2 includes disease knowledge from the rare and mystical to the most mundane: on physical phenomena, unnatural vs. natural death, the virulence of epidemics, and drunkenness. These medical portions are interesting in their blending of observation and experience with belief and religious texts; for example, on pg. 108 in Book II Chapter X: Every filthy smell is not hurtfull to Man, Lemnius observes of smells that “for some of these will difusse contagions, and resist corrupt diseases. By the way, whence came the Proverb, that horns are burnt there.” Lemnius was an author of great medical and spiritual prowess, and does not shy away from sharing his wisdom of both kinds in this, his greatest work. PC Molhysen and PJ Block,New Netherland biographical dictionary. Part 8. AW Sijthoff, Leiden 1930. Accessed Oct 27, 2013 https://www.dbnl.org/tekst/molh003nieu08_01/molh003nieu08_01_1789.php 2 Charlotte F. Otten, Hamlet and the Secret Miracles of Nature. Notes and Queries (1994) 41 (1):38-41. https://academic.oup.com/nq/article-abstract/41/1/38/4593545  Ibid.
The Historical Library of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University is pleased to announce its seventh annual Ferenc Gyorgyey Research Travel Award for use of the Historical Library. The Medical Historical Library, located in New Haven, Connecticut, holds one of the country’s largest collections of rare medical books, journals, prints, photographs, and pamphlets. Special strengths are the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Vesalius, Boyle, Harvey, Culpeper, Priestley, and S. Weir Mitchell, and works on anesthesia, and smallpox inoculation and vaccination. The Library owns over fifty medieval and renaissance manuscripts, Arabic and Persian manuscripts, and over 300 medical incunabula. The notable Clements C. Fry Collection of Prints and Drawings has over 2,500 fine prints, drawings, and posters from the 15th century to the present on medical subjects. The library also holds a great collection of tobacco advertisements, patent medicine ephemera, and a large group of materials from Harvey Cushing, one of the founding fathers of neurosurgery. The 2014-2015 travel grant is available to historians, medical practitioners, and other researchers who wish to use the collections of the Medical Historical Library. There is a single award of up to $1,500 for one week of research during the academic fiscal year July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015. Funds may be used for transportation, housing, food, and photographic reproductions. The award is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. Applicants should send a curriculum vitae and a description of the project including the relevance of the collections of the Historical Library to the project, and two references attesting to the particular project. Preference will be given to applicants beyond commuting distance to the Historical Library. This award is for use of Medical Historical special collections and is not intended for primary use of special collections in other libraries at Yale. Applications are due by Sunday, APRIL 27th, 2014. They will be considered by a committee and the candidates will be informed by JUNE 6th, 2014. An application form can be found on our website. Applications and requests for further information should be sent to: Melissa Grafe, Ph.D John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library Yale University P.O. Box 208014 New Haven, CT 06520-8014 Telephone: 203- 785-4354 Fax: 203-785-5636 E-mail: email@example.com
We have a secret! Blog post on an item in the Books of Secrets exhibit, by student curator Jarrell Ng Something that has both puzzled and fascinated me throughout this course is how the professors of secrets and their books became so authoritative even though many of their recipes were fantastical, and probably never worked. The charlatans especially - as depicted in Jan van de Velde’s print “The Quack: Populus vult decipi” (1603-1641) - were blatant in their fraudulence, performing songs, comedy and cheap carnival tricks to attract crowds, “appropria[ting] recipes from earlier books of secrets”, and of course fabricating secrets of their own. How could people have been so enthralled by such falsities, and why was such a market of lies so sustainable? A common narrative advanced is that the theatricality of their displays - “the mountebanks put on a slapstick comedy, using the characters, devices and gigs of what would later be called the commedia dell’arte” - made the ciarlatania beloved source of entertainment for European publics. Sure, this may account for their popularity, but it fails to explain why people took the further step of actually spending moneyto purchase their phony remedies. Van de Velde’s print seems to acknowledge this; it de-emphasizes the theatricality of the charlatan’s display - he stands back with his arms on his waist, allowing his nostrums to speak for themselves - subtly hinting at the possibility that people were actually drawn to the mountebank’s secrets themselves, and not just beguiled by his diversions. Perhaps then, those who purchased these false secrets were simply gullible; naive or desperate enough to be convinced of their authenticity. Yet, given the farcical methods that charlatans used to ‘prove’ their remedies, to merely conclude that all their customers were foolish seems unsatisfying. Even the professors of secrets, who made a more deliberate effort to establish legitimacy than the ciaralatani- and were therefore less obviously unreliable - should, conceivably, have lost their credibility once people tested out the recipes in their books and discovered that many were ineffective. Thus, unless one believes that European publics at the time were truly that half-witted, gullibility offers a painfully inadequate explanation for why commercialized secrets sustained such popularity; as we know, no less than 104 editions of Alessio Piemontese’s work were published from 1555 to 1699. Van de Velde’s simple yet sophisticated proposition however, that people want to be deceived (populus vult decipi),is very compelling. As we know, the invention of print did not result in the universalspread of knowledge, or a complete shift away from esotericism. Many constituencies still jealously guarded their secrets from ‘vulgar’, common folk - the Church for instance fought to maintain control of occult forces, while alchemists used decknamenand allegory to obscure the truth of their ‘divine revelations’. Thus, when the professors of secrets published their discoveries in step-by-step recipes within inexpensive books, and the charlatans sold magical remedies in the piazza at affordable prices, they gave the masses a sense of empowerment that went above and beyond the actual utility of the secrets traded. The effectiveness of the recipes or potions was ultimately of little consequence, because what customers in the marketplace were searching for were perhaps not pharmaceutical, alchemical or agricultural recipes per se, but the delightful delusion that it was within their reach to manipulate Nature and control the world around them. The spread of cheap, tradable secrets took power away from traditional authorities such as the Church, and gave those deemed unworthy of such higher pursuits the opportunity to partake in the fashionable hunt for the secrets of nature - the ‘swines’ now had access to the ‘pearls’, and the powerful symbolism of this transition made the question of the pearls’ authenticity largely inconsequential. There is something thoroughly romantic about this narrative - certainly much more romantic than the suggestion that people were simply too stupid to realize they were being deceived - and it is perhaps the same romanticism that drives our enduring obsession with the books of secrets today.Eamon, W. (1994). Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Princeton University Press. p.243.Ibid., p.238.