HomeBlogs

Blogs

Finding Fulton in the Historical Library

14 September 2020 - 3:41pm by Melissa Grafe

While Harvey Cushing was the impetus behind the formation of Yale’s Medical Library, you can find materials on the other founders, John Fulton and Arnold Klebs, within the Historical Library’s main reading room.   John Fulton, the youngest of the three founders of the Historical Library, trained in medicine and physiology at Harvard and Oxford, and came to Yale in 1930 as professor of physiology. He was already deep into collecting books when he served as a resident and disciple of Harvey Cushing at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. The two men shared a close friendship based on both scientific and historical interests. Like Cushing, Fulton became a bibliophile, bibliographer, and historian. His special collecting interest was physiological works from the 16th to 18th century. In addition to his major texts in physiology, Fulton authored or coauthored biographies of Harvey Cushing, Benjamin Silliman, and Michael Servetus, and bibliographies of Fracastoro’s poem Syphilis, Luigi Galvani and his nephew Aldini, Richard Lower and John Mayow, Joseph Priestley, Robert Boyle, and early works on anesthesia. Fulton became the first chairman of the Department of History of Medicine at Yale in 1951 with offices across the hall from the Historical Library offices. In 1956, Fulton wrote in his diary that his wife Lucia “had been at me to have a portrait done, and since Deane Keller [who had done Harvey Cushing’s portrait] thinks I am hopeless as a sitter and has refused to persevere with the several he started some years ago, I felt free to go to Sir Gerald.”  So began a summer of sittings for the portrait of John Fulton sitting on the left side of the fire place in the Medical Historical Library.  Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, who had painted portraits of the royal family including Queen Elizabeth, met with John Fulton for 40 sittings in the summer of 1956.  The first sitting, from 2:30-6:45, involved Fulton stepping up on his platform and sitting in a “rather stiff Victorian armchairs with sundry pillows on the seat since my arm seem to be shorter than those of most of his subjects.”  Over the course of the sitting, Fulton heard stories about Kelly’s interactions with artists such as Renoir.  Fulton was “completely fascinated by the man,” and the time passed pleasantly until a series of photographs of Fulton were taken at the end of the session. “A series of loud and devastating expletives coming out from under the hood; his private photographer would have to take his vacation at this wrong time!”  However, a secretary came in, grabbed the negatives, and stated she would develop and print them for Kelly.  Fulton went home feeling that he had had “a cosmic experience.” Ensuing diary entries capture the details of sitting for the portrait, and more on Gerald Kelly, who had a variety of humorous and interesting anecdotes about various artists and prominent figures of the 20th century.  Fulton wrote that in the final portrait, he is sitting at his desk in the Historical Library, although Kelly had never seen his desk, and used photographs to fill in details.  Behind Fulton, there are representations of his books and diaries, which he wrote in from 1915-1960.  The portrait currently hangs in the back of the Medical Historical, to the left side of the fireplace.  

Medical Library Reopens on August 24

24 August 2020 - 9:48am by John Gallagher

*UPDATE: Beginning November 25, all Yale libraries will be closed to library users. We are happy to announce that we reopened the medical library on Monday, August 24. Our hours of service are: Mon-Fri:             7:30AM - 6:00PM Sat-Sun:           10:00AM – 6:00PM Building access is limited to Yale and YNHH users authorized to be on campus. Visitors will notice many changes to both our on-site services and facilities. Here's what to expect: Visiting Visitors must wear a mask at all times, maintain 6ft distance from others, and adhere to posted signage.   Seating capacity has been significantly reduced throughout the library, and the furniture layout in classrooms, meeting rooms, and study spaces has been intentionally adjusted to comply with Environmental Health and Safety recommendations and should not be moved.   Room reservations have resumed with considerably decreased seating capacities.   The Cushing Center will remain closed until further notice.   While custodial staff will be thoroughly cleaning public spaces daily, surfaces and workspaces must be disinfected by visitors before and after use with the provided cleaning materials. Using, Borrowing, and Returning Print Materials Visitors may browse and retrieve materials they wish to borrow from open stacks. Books and journals used in the library should be left in specified locations for quarantine.   To return borrowed items, please use the book depository located near the entrance of the library.   Print reserves are not available this semester but staff have worked to enhance access to content via online course reserves. Computers & Technology 20 computers are available for use throughout the library and the the 24/7 room. Visitors must clean workstations and equipment before and after use with the provided disinfectants.  Contactless printing has been enabled at printer stations for Yale ID holders. Visitors may also print directly from their laptop via Web Print or from their mobile device (instructions for iOS or Android). The Faculty Video Production Studio is available (reservations required). Special Collections Access to special collections materials is by appointment only for those authorized to be on campus. Please use this link to make an appointment. Please request items at least 2 days in advance. Digitization of materials continues for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 courses, and support for online sessions using Medical Historical Library materials. Continuing Online Research and Education Support We continue to provide many library services online including consultations, instruction, reference, and research support.   Please reach out to your personal or departmental librarian via email.  We're here to support you and we encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We're excited to welcome visitors back to the library and are relying on everyone to do their part to minimize risk for themselves and others.

Book Lending Resumes

20 August 2020 - 2:19pm by John Gallagher

We are excited to announce the resumption of several on-site library services, including book lending though a contact-free pickup system. TO BORROW BOOKS Simply select "Request for pickup at the Medical Library Entrance" in the Orbis record of the book you wish to borrow, enter your login credentials, and complete the prompts to place your order. Once submitted, the book will be checked out to your account and you'll be notified by email when it's ready for pickup. Your book will be held on a cart outside the medical library entrance for one week. If you have questions or can’t pick up your item in the allotted time, please email AskYaleMedicalLibrary@yale.edu before your pickup period expires. TO RETURN BOOKS To return materials, simply drop them in the book depository outside the medical library entrance. STAY SAFE When retrieving or returning items, please adhere to the following safety protocols: Maintain social distancing Wear a mask Move through pickup area as quickly as possible Avoid touching surfaces or materials waiting for pickup by others

Collection Budget Reduction

26 June 2020 - 4:20pm by John Gallagher

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt in many areas of the university, and the library is no exception. For fiscal year 2021, the library must reduce its general collection expenditures by around 10%. To achieve this target, we have compiled a list of journal titles and databases for cancellation. Each item on this list has been carefully assessed prior to being selected for cancellation.  Your feedback is an essential part of this process and we welcome your input. Please also let us know if the cancellation of a specific title will significantly impact your work, so that we can consider whether a different title can be cancelled in its place. See the list and learn more about our methodology here While it’s necessary to reduce our collection expenditures, we continue to offer a variety of services to minimize the impact of these cancellations on your research, teaching and practice:  Our interlibrary loan department stands ready to help you access articles in journals that we do not subscribe to, at no charge to you.  Your librarian can work with you to identify available resources that may be of interest. While we cannot commit to new subscriptions at this time, we will gladly take recommendations for potential future purchases.  The current financial situation is evolving, and the elimination of additional subscriptions may be necessary at a later time. Please let us know if you have any feedback, questions or concerns. We are here to support you in this uncertain time.

The DIY Historical Herbarium

1 June 2020 - 11:03am by Melissa Grafe

Written by Alicia Petersen, PhD student, History of Science and Medicine Program (HSHM) Herbaria, collections of dried plant specimens that were (usually) adhered to sheets of paper, were very popular in 18th-century Europe. From professional botanists exploring the Americas to amateur scientists roaming the fields near their homes, many used herbaria to store preserved plants for later study. In order to better understand how early moderns “did” science, I decided to create my own herbarium (see the page below) following the guidelines for plant collection and preservation detailed in 18th-century British manuals. The simple act of following directions ended up being a bit more challenging than I had anticipated! Sitting on my bedroom floor, surrounded by an assortment of plant cuttings, I read and re-read 18th-century botanist William Withering’s instructions for plant preservation. Withering’s famous works contain directives like the following: “… specimens may be dried tolerably well between the leaves of a large folio book, laying other books upon it to give the necessary pressure: but in all cases too much pressure must be avoided.” (A botanical arrangement of British plants…, pg. xlvi) I couldn’t help thinking: that’s it? Withering fails to give his readers any indication of how much pressure is too much, a seemingly important detail. Other ambiguities led to a variety of errors on my part, including the burnt fern specimen pictured below. What’s more, when it came time to identify the specimens I’d collected, I found myself even more perplexed. Unable to rely on photographs or iPhone apps, it quickly became that 18th-century botany was like a foreign language. I needed to be fluent, but unfortunately, I only understood about every fourth word. This made for quite the adventure. The Medical Historical Library’s collections served as an important resource as I went tromping through the past. For this project, one object was particularly stunning: an actual 18th-century herbarium, complete with plant specimens that are over 250 years old. The herbarium dates back to the 1760’s and has been attributed to Frenchman Jean Seris, who is thought to have been a student at Paris’ Académie Royal de Chirurgie. While I relied on manuals like Withering’s to guide my collecting practices, I followed Seris’ example for format and layout. Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this project was the immense amount of knowledge required to engage in 18th-century natural history. Interacting with Seris’ herbarium, an object that represents knowledge in practice, provided even greater insight. By reading this “book of nature,” I was able to see 18th-century plants both through Seris’ eyes and my own. Below: Pages from Jean Seris’s Herbarium with dried specimens, 1761

COVID-19 Medical Student Elective Course

21 April 2020 - 11:25am by Caitlin Meyer

When medical students were pulled out of clerkship rotations last month, the YSM Office of Education sought new electives for the students to take in their unexpected off time. Librarians Judy Spak, Caitlin Meyer, and Courtney Brombosz quickly developed a proposal: an intensive two-week elective where students would respond in real time to the COVID-19 pandemic by selecting a pandemic-related topic and acquiring, appraising, and synthesizing information as it becomes available. The proposal was accepted and the first cohort of students completed the class on Monday, April 13th. Over the course of two 20-hour weeks, students learned a wide range of skills that will be useful throughout their clinical and research careers including: ·      Foundations of evidence-based medicine ·      Articulating focused and answerable research questions ·      Constructing search strategies using subject headings and keywords ·      Identifying and effectively using medical and interdisciplinary academic databases ·      Finding and using research data and grey literature ·      Critically appraising evidence of all types ·      Distinguishing between review types ·      Strategies for organizing, synthesizing, and presenting information Research topics chosen by the first cohort of students included child maltreatment in times of economic uncertainty and the use of chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment. The library was also involved in another elective "COVID-19: History is Present" that featured instruction by Melissa Grafe, Bumstead Librarian for Medical History, and content about pandemics from our historical treasures.

Virtual Office Hours

8 April 2020 - 1:47pm by Nur-Taz Rahman

Do you miss using the beautiful spaces at the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library for studying, collaborating, and working? We do as well – but the good news is that we are providing all our support and services online! The library is very much open and functional. We would like to bring your attention particularly to the office hours, which are still happening regularly over Zoom. Please head over to our website https://library.medicine.yale.edu/classes to find the Zoom links for the office hour of interest. Here is a brief summary of the days/times of some office hours: Clinical librarian office hours: Alyssa Grimshaw (alyssa.grimshaw@yale.edu), Wednesdays 3-5pm Melissa Funaro (melissa.funaro@yale.edu), Tuesdays 8-10am Alexandria Brackett (alexandria.brackett@yale.edu), Fridays 11am-Noon (starting 4/17) Bioinformatics support office hours: Nur-Taz Rahman (nur-taz.rahman@yale.edu), Thursdays 11-1pm Public health librarian office hours: Kate Nyhan (kate.nyhan@yale.edu), most Thursdays 11-1pm Research and education librarian office hours: Caitlin Meyer (caitlin.meyer@yale.edu), Wednesdays 11-1pm Data services librarian: Sawyer Newman (medicaldata@yale.edu), contact for Zoom consultations   If you have any questions/comments please let us know via email.  
Subscribe to RSS - blogs