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Job Opportunity: Curator for the Visual Arts

November 9, 2022 - 10:44am by Melissa Grafe

Join the Historical Library team as our new Curator for the Visual Arts, Medical Library! The Curator for the Visual Arts, Medical Library develops, interprets, and supports a robust collection of prints, posters, drawings, photography, and other visual materials. Primary responsibilities include teaching, collection development and stewardship, and research support. Reporting to the Head of the Medical Historical Library, this position helps lead the exhibition program, which includes several physical spaces and online exhibitions. The curator will also assist in the interpretation of the Cushing Center, home of the Cushing Tumor Registry, a museum space and collection with over 10,000 glass plate negatives and other types of photography. APPLY HERE Essential Duties 1. Support Teaching and Research: The curator will foster the use of the collection by Yale faculty, students, as well as local, national, and international researchers. The curator is expected to forge strong associations with Yale faculty to encourage the use of the collections in Yale-related teaching and research. The curator will also present materials to classes and to other groups who visit the library, collaborate with colleagues to respond to general reference and instruction requests, and participate in the library’s fellowship selection committee. 2. Activate and Interpret the Collections: The curator is responsible for interpreting the holdings of the collection for both the medical community and the broader public. The curator will help lead the Library’s exhibition program; conceive and organize exhibitions; collaborate with faculty, students, and external scholars to organize programming; and write and edit various publications about the collection. The curator may be called upon to issue news releases, grant interviews, conduct tours, and make presentations. 3. Collection Development: Collection development responsibilities encompass active research and selection of materials across a broad range of visual formats, including prints, posters, drawings, photographs, and digital media; dealer and donor relations, including establishing fair price and market value, understanding the total cost of acquisition, drafting deeds of gift and purchase agreements, and keeping abreast of evolving legal and ethical considerations for provenance, international export guidelines, intellectual property rights, privacy, and respectful stewardship of cultural heritage materials. 4. Ongoing Collection Stewardship: The curator collaborates with colleagues in other units of the Library as well as with colleagues Yale’s cultural heritage institutions to ensure that the collections are discoverable, accurately and appropriately described, and well preserved. 5. Collaboration and Collegiality: The curator is expected to function in a collegial fashion as part of a larger team of curators and librarians sustaining a broad program of collection development, scholarly and educational outreach, description, digitization, preservation, and research in the humanities.  6. Service to the Department, University, and Profession: In addition to activities relating directly to Medical Historical Library, the curator participates in library projects, committees, policy decisions and strategic planning and may be assigned special projects relating to the overall needs of the library. The curator is also expected to participate actively in professional associations, foundations, and government agencies as appropriate. Required Education and Experience A masters degree and course of study in history, art history, or equivalent, and a commitment to ongoing intellectual and professional growth beyond the area of initial specialization. At least 2 years of professional experience in a related field, including but not limited to higher education, museums, foundations, or libraries. Required Skills and Abilities: The candidate should possess an understanding of the history of medicine or related fields. Superb analytical, creative, and communication skills in both writing and public speaking. This may be demonstrated through teaching, publications, exhibitions, public programming, or collaborative projects. Demonstrated track record of excellence in teaching. Exceptional classroom demeanor and a commitment to higher education and community outreach, including the ability to engage with diverse audiences (age, gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, profession, sexual orientation, etc.). Reading knowledge of at least one language beyond English. Excellent organizational, interpersonal and team collaboration skills Preferred Education, Experience and Skills: Ph.D. in a related field. Experience with exhibition planning/implementation; donor relations; commercial art trade; awareness of legal/ethical issues surrounding cultural heritage materials. Knowledge of archival theory, practice, technologies, and born digital material. Experience with collections in archives, library, museum, or related. Proficiency using discovery & documentation systems. Physical Requirements Ability to lift materials up to 40 lbs and push heavy book trucks.    

Mindscapes: Stories of Mental Health through Yale Collections

February 20, 2024 - 11:03am by Melissa Grafe

On view in the hallway and rotunda from February 19th – August 16th, 2024 Curated by Melissa Grafe, Ph.D. and Laura Phillips, Ph.D. Mindscapes tells a story about mental health—its visibility, classification, and treatment—through the archival and visual art collections of the Medical Historical Library. Instead of a sweeping grand narrative of medical progress, Mindscapes presents a constellation of short stories that illuminate shifting cultural attitudes and scientific approaches to mental health over time. At stake in these stories are challenging, contested topics around mental health that intersect with Yale School of Medicine’s own histories. Two additional cases in the Historical Library, curated by Erin Sommers (History of Science, Medicine and Public Health Major, class of 2025) and Krupa Hegde (History of Science, Medicine and Public Health Major, class of 2025) as part of Marco Ramos’s fall 2023 course, Race and Mental Health in New Haven, discuss the Connecticut Mental Health Center’s connections to community and care. All items on display are from scrapbooks in the newly cataloged Connecticut Mental Health Center records, part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository.   This exhibition is part of a multi-institutional effort to highlight mental health through collections and communities. It stands in dialogue with the exhibition, Munch and Kirchner: Anxiety and Expression at the Yale University Art Gallery (February 16  –  June 23, 2024), and the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) community art exhibition, Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art (foyer of the Medical Library, February 21st – August 2024), which is sponsored by the YSM Program for Art in Public Spaces. Image: Depression, 1935, lithograph  Blanche Mary Grambs, also “Miller Grambs” (1916–2010), printed by George C. Miller (1894–1965)

Work in Medicine—as Context, Disease, and Cure

January 5, 2024 - 3:48pm by Melissa Grafe

Written by Jiemin Tina Wei, Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant recipient, 2023-2024 December 29, 2023 What is the relationship between work and medicine? It may seem obvious, especially amidst this year’s wave of unionization of medical residents, that medicine is a form of work. But just as medicine can be work, work can be (and has been, in certain historical moments) medicine. My dissertation and book in progress, “Ameliorating Fatigue at Work: Workplace-Management, Mind-Body Medicine, and Self-Help for Industrial Fatigue in the U.S., 1900-1950,” investigates the history of attempts to ameliorate workplace fatigue in the first half of the twentieth century. It traces how scientists from industrial medicine, occupational health, physiology, ergonomics, industrial psychology, psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and economics struggled to and succeeded in making work and workers into objects of scientific study. For the scientists I study, labor dynamics gave context to their discoveries—providing the backdrop, for instance, to their gendered division of labor, as well as their differential compensation and recognition of work done by women. Focusing on the labor dynamics implicit in the production of science resonates with recent calls by scholars to study “a labor history of science.” A group of historical subjects that I study, clustered around the social networks of physician E.E. Southard, first Director of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital prior to his death in 1920, was interested in this problem in its inverse—looking not at how labor can yield insights into science, but how at how science can yield insights into labor. These psychiatrists and psychiatric social workers collected data and biological material from their mental hospital patients to study the neurological and psychopathic roots of myriad workplace dysfunction, such as refusal to work and tendency to unionize. Oriented, as many of them were, around the eugenics movement, they aimed to socially rehabilitate patients they classified variously as feebleminded, insane, nervous, and psychopathic. Refitting as many individuals as possible to productive work, they sought to resolve the growing social problem of their time, militant labor uprisings. In their medical practice, work was part of disease and cure. Through the generous support of the Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant, my dissertation took me to the Medical Historical Library in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University. My visit focused on the collections of the esteemed neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, a namesake of the Library. Cushing and his colleague and assistant, pathologist Louise Eisenhardt, were collaborators of Southard and his colleague and assistant, pathologist M.M. Canavan. Due to limitations of surviving materials about Southard and Canavan, Cushing and Eisenhardt’s repositories provide a crucial point of contrast and help populate modern scholarship with details about the social-professional world of these physicians. The gems of this collection give material reality to this cohort’s medical work. Cushing, a draftsman in addition to a surgeon, littered his Harvard Medical School lecture notebooks with drawings, leaving behind a kind of illustrated textbook of early-twentieth-century medical education. See for instance, his sketches for a lecture on the kidney.­ Left: Harvey Williams Cushing Papers, Histology and Embryology, 1891-92, H.M.S., pp 13a-b. The Robert Bogdan Disability Collection also held striking visual material documenting the life of workers and patients at state mental hospitals and related institutions. Among the collection’s fifteen enormous three-ringed photo albums, Book 6 features postcards and other images from "Institutions: Insane, Feeble minded, Epileptic, Deaf, Blind, ca. 1900-1930." At the State Hospital in Gowanda, N.Y., for instance, postcards show the kitchen, laundry, operating room, superintendent’s residence, staff house, and nurses house.   Above: Assorted photos from State Hospital, Gowanda, N.Y. From the Bogdan Disability Collection, Book 6. Other photos showed “Breaking of Ground for Assembly Building” at the New Jersey State Village for Epileptics at Skillman; Field Day at State Hospital in Willard, NY; and dining rooms in the Massachusetts Hospital in Palmer, MA, and at the State Hospital in North Warren, PA. Above: Assorted photos from the Bogdan Disability Collection, Book 6. Numerous images showed nurses in posed group photos and while recreating, such as at the Asylum in Middletown, NY, and the State Hospital in Gowanda, NY. Above: Front and back of postcard, Middletown, NY, Asylum Above: Assorted photos from the Bogdan Disability Collection, Book 6. The postcards even featured several institutions dedicated to vocational rehabilitation in the U.S. and abroad, such as the State Industrial School for Girls in Mitchellville, IA. These photos, one of which appears to be taken by “Richard the Druggist,” shows these so-called troubled girls gathering outdoors and in their orchestra. In collections such as these, the rich visual and print material at the Medical Historical Library captures the labor required to carry out medical research and care, as well as the correspondence networks of medical professionals using medicine to respond to crises of labor. Left: Jiemin Tina Wei is a PhD candidate in Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science. Her dissertation and book in progress, “Ameliorating Fatigue at Work: Workplace-Management, Mind-Body Medicine, and Self-Help for Industrial Fatigue in the U.S., 1900-1950,” investigates the history of attempts to ameliorate workplace fatigue in the first half of the twentieth century. This research has been generously supported by the Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant, and by the wonderful staff at the Medical Historical Library in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University, especially Melissa Grafe, Chris Zollo, Kathi Isham, and Christine Bailey.  

Patent Medicines, Medicine Shows, and The Secret Life of Blackface

October 12, 2023 - 3:04pm by Melissa Grafe

Written by Michael Ortiz-Castro, Harvard University Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant recipient, 2023-2024 Medicine shows were grand spectacles—among some of the first large scale, public, and free theatrical venues in the United States. The spectacles were incredibly popular in the U.S., particularly in the South and the West, from the 1870s to about the 1930s, when they were displaced by films and moving images. These shoes were designed to sell patent medicines—tonics, tinctures, and creams akin to today’s “As Seen on TV” medicines. These medications were popular throughout this era, until increased regulation in the early 20th century led to the development of properly vetted medications. Medicine shows, in their attempts to sell to customers, borrowed theatrical elements from other genres such as vaudeville and, significantly, minstrel shows. While historians of medicine who write on the history of these spectacles have noted the show’s problematic usage of images of Native peoples, not many have talked about the usage of blackface elements.[1] The collections at the Medical Historical Library in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library help historians further interrogate the usage of images of the Other in these shows, and, as I argue in my dissertation, help understand how medicine shows “performed” American identity through their linking of race, prosperity, and health. The 1930 film “The Medicine Man” tells the story of Dr. John Harvey, a traveling salesman who lands in a nameless American town and falls in love with young Mamie, who is abused, along with her siblings, by their domineering German father.  Harvey’s traveling circus attracts the attention of Young Mamie, and the film details their romance and his rescue of Mamie from her father’s plans to marry her off to a rich older German.[2] [3] The movie’s plot is lifted from the traveling show of the same name, which was used to market Pawnee Pepto—a patent medicine that promised to cure all kinds of ailments in its consumers. While the film spends more time on the romance between Dr. Harvey and young Mamie, an informed viewer will see vestiges of the original source within the film—a short scene of Harvey’s presentation in the town, and other characters’ acknowledgement of the impressive “Indian” traveling with him. Consider the film’s official movie poster, which features Jack Benny in the titular role front and center. He is flanked by a motley crew of characters—two women in Hawaiian inspired costume, a man dressed as the devil, and the “Indian”. The film poster, however, when juxtaposed with a shot of the live medicine show, reveals a critical occlusion: a blackface character, who flanks Dr. Harvey on the stage. From the scant archival record, it’s hard to say what role these characters played in the medicine show. Scholars who write on medicine shows have claimed that Native characters associated with patent medicines often served as “verification”—as symbols of unvarnished nature that could speak to the efficacy and “healthiness” of the medicine.[4] What role, then, might have the blackface character have played? Historians of the minstrel genre note that blackface characters allowed white Americans to both reinforce their racist perceptions while also allowing a comical outlet for anxieties and fears over difference and equality (given that minstrel shows became incredibly popular following the Civil War).[5] Positioned alongside the Native figure, the audience might have read the blackface character as “verifying” much like the Native chief. But what did this figure verify? Consider the context of the photo of the live show. The shot captures the climax moment—where Dr. Harvey convinces the young protagonist to run away with him. The characters flank him, like ghosts, reminding the viewer of all the medicine has given him: good health, good morality, and good prosperity. The selling point of the patent medicine was not just that it was good for you—but it could deliver proper health, proper morality, and wealth, the hallmarks of the American “good life”. Other ephemera from the Medical Historical Library’s collections allow us to see how blackface/minstrel characters figured into the cultural life of patent medicines. These advertisements for patent medicines used blackface characters to appeal to white customers’ ideas of domesticity and health. The first ad, for Beecham’s Pills, depicts a black domestic worker, jovially dancing as she holds a small tincture box. The ad’s caption—“What Am Good For De Missus Am Good For Me”—is the ad’s selling point: the black woman’s recognition of the medicine’s value, in her role as the caretaker of the home (the “Mammy” figure), is how the customer comes to understand the value and efficacy of the medicine. Though, as historians have noted, Native peoples were used as symbols of nature that could “verify” the medicine, the deployment of Black bodies as imagery here instead relies on the peculiar domestic relations developed in slavery. That is repeated in the ad on the right, where the prosperous consumer is quite literally “fed” the medicine (here, Sanford’s Ginger) by his stereotypically depicted black servant. The customer’s trust in the medicine comes from the relationship between the white character and his black servant –the servant’s duty and joviality ensure the viewer that the medicine is, indeed, reliable—like the enslaved. These images suggest that patent medicines, medicine shows, and their associated visual ephemera are best understood not merely as deceptive medical ads, but as cultural forms that, like minstrel shows and vaudeville shows, served to make clear certain cultural ideologies of difference and health operative in late 19th century U.S. Patent medicines were attractive as objects precisely because they spoke to some of the major anxieties at play: economic security, good health, and prosperity to come. Though medicine shows remain undertheorized among historians of medicine, these collections allow us to begin to uncover the genre’s relation to other problematic cultural productions active during the era. [1] Tomes, Nancy. 2005. “The Great American Medicine Show Revisited.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 79 (4): 627-63. https://doi.org/10.1353/bhm.2005.0173.; Armitage, Kevin C. 2003. “Commercial Indians: Authenticity, Nature, and Industrial Capitalism in Advertising at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.” The Michigan Historical Review 29 (2): 70–95. https://doi.org/10.2307/20174034.; Price, Jason. 2011. “'The Best Remedy Ever Offered to the Public': Representation and Resistance in the American Medicine Show.” Popular Entertainment Studies 2 (2): 21–34. [2] The Medicine Man, Directed by Scott Pembroke (Tiffany Pictures, 1930). [3] While the record trail is scant on the medicine show from which the movie derived, historian Irina Podgorny’s “‘Please, Come In’: Being a Charlatan, or the Question of Trustworthy Knowledge” speaks of the show as separate from the film, which implies the existence of the show prior to the movie. [4] Armitage, “Commercial Indians”. [5]“Blackface: The Birth of an American Stereotype.” National Museum of African American History and Culture, November 22, 2017. https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/blackface-birth-american-stereotype.        

An Intern’s Journey Through History: Extending the Past for the Future

August 17, 2023 - 9:01am by Melissa Grafe

Article by Blake Spencer – July 7, 2023 At Yale University’s Center for Preservation and Conservation, there is an air of care and fastidiousness when dealing with materials that hold irreplaceable value to multiple audiences. From arabesque covers bearing allegories relating to metaphysics to the material world of important information detailed within those covers, there is more to each item than the exterior presents at first glance. These collections carry the practical usage of research, knowledge, and spiritual life within each page. These materials deteriorate over time, whether the cause is through specific external agents of deterioration or because of internal vice, such as the acidity of the paper. As a student interning at Yale University through the HBCU Library Alliance, I learned about preservation and conservation methods used to care for multiple items in need of urgent intervention. This includes interleaving, rehousing, and other basic preservation skills I plan on taking back to my workplace, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. For my project I helped with processing and stabilizing the Michael L. Charney papers. Some of the documents being processed within this collection include: The Black Panther Newsletter Students for a Democratic Society pamphlets New Haven Mayday Newsletter One of the most intriguing parts of the collection had to be the pamphlets and newsletters relating to the New Haven Mayday protest, a rally that officially kicked off on May 1st, 1970 against the incarceration of the 9 Black Panthers charged for the death of Alex Rackley in Connecticut. At the height of COINTELPRO, a string of illegal surveillance and disruptive operations against recalcitrant American political organizations, FBI spies within subversive spaces were a common occurrence. Alex Rackley, a 19-year-old Black Panther Party member, was tortured and killed after being suspected as an informant for the FBI. With the Chairman of the Black Panther party, Bobby Seale, giving a speech the same day as Rackley’s murder, Seale – along with eight other members of the Panthers – were indicted. The imprisonment of the New Haven 9 served as the impetus for one of the most well-known trial protests in the United States, and organizations such as the Yale Strike News that published an informational newspaper relating to the Black Panther Party throughout the days leading up to the May Day protest. With seething tensions bubbling amongst Yale’s students and teaching faculty throughout the campus, demands presented by Yale’s Strike Steering Committee were placed at the administration’s doorstep. These demands not only called for Yale to make a statement demanding the "state of Connecticut end the injustice of the trial of Bobby Seale and the New Haven Panthers” but to provide support to New Haven residents with material change, such as creating the Calvin Hill Day Care Center by 1970 and allocating $5 million dollars for immediate construction of 2000 units for low and moderate income housing. The Michael L. Charney collection also holds various records from organizations dealing with the grievances shared by many medical students and medical professionals across the country, one of the most prevalent being the Medical Committee for Human Rights. One of the pamphlets I came across while processing was titled “Health Radicals: Crusade to Shift Medical Power to the People." This pamphlet talks about how MCHR as an organization has evolved into the “voice of the humanist medicine,” carrying out the “staffing (of) community-controlled free clinics to pushing back against established health-care institutions.” The MCHR developed its ideologies alongside the civil rights movement in the 1960s, including fighting for the “demystification of the medical art” and the “direct control of health institutions by health workers and the people they serve.” While working with Archivist Kathi Isham and Conservator Laura O’Brien Miller on the Michael L. Charney papers, I engaged with Charney’s work as a medical student while learning more about the processes that go into preservation. Learning how to make object mounts for exhibitions that hold these manuscripts, how to make items more accessible through photo digitization, and housing materials in protective, archival enclosures for safe handling and to extend the life of documents have been very gratifying experiences, making the arduous task of preservation worthwhile. Special thanks to Laura O’Brien-Miller and Kathi Isham, my project supervisors during my internship, and to the HBCU Library Alliance for this opportunity.  

Fellowships Awarded for Research

June 16, 2023 - 3:27pm by Melissa Grafe

We are pleased to announce awards for our first Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grants since 2019, to two recipients, Michael Ortiz (Harvard University) and Jiemin (Tina) Wei (Harvard University). Ortiz’s proposed project, “American Nature: Life and Political Community in Post-Reconstruction United States, 1877-1927,” shifts the debate on citizenship away from strictly legal and social conceptions, focusing on a new concept of biological citizenship, a consequence of developments in the life sciences, that was operationalized in everyday society. As part of his research at the Medical Historical Library, Ortiz will examine holdings that reflect the cultural life of medical knowledge, such as the Cancer “Cures” Collection and the Medical Trade Card Collection; the Bert Hansen Collection of Medicine and Public Health in Popular Graphic Art; and the William Helfand collection of medical ephemera, as well as archival collections in Sterling Library. Wei’s project,” Ameliorating Fatigue at Work: Workplace-Management, Mind-Body Medicine, and Self-Help for Industrial Fatigue in the U.S., 1910s-1940s” asks not how stress came to be, but how stress-adjacent disorders and the worker came to be subsumed as such under scientific investigation. Wei aims to rethink received notions about the relationship between work, fatigue, and its resolution, particularly focusing on the mediating role played by emergent or evolving scientific subdisciplines at the turn-of-the-century. During her research at the Library, Wei plans to examine the Harvey Cushing papers, Stanley B. Burns, M.D., historic medical photography collection, Pamphlets on public health issued by state government agencies, 1905-1942, and the Spa and Mineral Waters Collection, as well as archival collections in Sterling Library. The Medical Library also awarded its inaugural Stanley B. Burns M.D. Fellowship for the Study of Medical Photographic History to Amadeus Harte (Princeton University). Harte’s project, “How Medical Images Produce Objectivity,” investigates how historical medical images were used to designate objective ideas of "normal" and "pathological" physiology cross-culturally. Please join us in congratulating our newest cohort of fellows at the Medical Historical Library!

Apply for the Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant

March 15, 2023 - 1:45pm by Melissa Grafe

The Medical Historical Library of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University is pleased to announce its fourteenth annual Research Travel award for use of the Historical Library. The deadline is April 30th, 2023. The Ferenc Gyorgyey/Stanley Simbonis YSM’57 Research Travel Grant is available to historians, medical practitioners, and other researchers outside of Yale who wish to use the Historical collections of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. In any given year the award is up to $2,000 for one week of research.  Funds may be used for transportation, housing, food, and photographic reproductions. The award is limited to residents of the United States and Canada.  The award honors Ferenc A. Gyorgyey, former Historical Librarian, and Stanley Simbonis, M.D, a 1953 graduate of Yale College and a 1957 graduate of Yale School of Medicine, who graciously gifted an endowed fund in support of the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. For application requirements and the link to submit application materials, please refer to our fellowship page: https://library.medicine.yale.edu/historical/research/grant

Apply for the Stanley B. Burns M.D. Fellowship for the Study of Medical Photographic History

March 9, 2023 - 10:33am by Melissa Grafe

The Medical Historical Library in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University is pleased to announce its first fellowship for the study of medical photographic history.  The Stanley B. Burns M.D. Fellowship for the Study of Medical Photographic History supports the study of the history of medical photography at Yale, maximizing the research potential of the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Historic Medical Photography Collection. We welcome applications from all interested researchers, regardless of their institutional association, race, cultural background, ability, sexual orientation, gender, or socioeconomic status. Applications from scholars utilizing traditional methods of archival and bibliographic research are encouraged as are applications from individuals who wish to pursue creative, interdisciplinary, and non-traditional approaches to conducting research using the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Historic Medical Photography Collection and related visual collections at the Medical Historical Library. In any given year the award is up to $2,000 for one week of research. Funds may be used for transportation, housing, food, and photographic reproductions. The award is currently limited to residents of the United States and Canada.   The fellowship is a gift of Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS, an ophthalmologist and Research Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Professor of Medical Humanities at New York University: Langone Health. He began collecting historic photography in 1975, and over time amassed over a million images that he curated in multiple books, articles, and exhibitions. For the application requirements and the link to submit application materials, please refer to our fellowship page: https://library.medicine.yale.edu/historical/research/fellowships-grants/burns-fellowship

Killer or Cure? Poison through the Centuries

March 1, 2023 - 2:44pm by Melissa Grafe

    On display in the Cushing Rotunda, March 22 - August 13, 2023 A touchstone of murder mysteries and historical intrigue, tactical warfare and political coups, poison looms large in our cultural imagination. An invisible agent of death, it might be hiding anywhere, stashed in a secret agent’s suitcase or mixed into a murderous martini.  Less glamorously, but even more palpably, it lurks in our everyday lives as well, creeping in through garden plants and exotic pets, household cleaners and rainwater runoff, medicine cabinets and art supplies. Broadly defined as any substance which can cause serious illness or death if introduced into the body (e.g.: ingested, injected, absorbed) if it’s administered in the right quantity and conditions, a deadly poison can be just about anything.  This exhibit traces major developments in medical, legal, and public knowledge of poisons in America as they have been used for both good and ill. Looking back through the lore of classical antiquity turns up mythical poisons and their antidotes: the paralytic stare of the cockatrice; the salvific unicorn horn. Poison plants and venomous vipers found fame in the ancient world as well (Socrates was supposedly poisoned by hemlock; Cleopatra by an asp)--though illustrated 19th century herbals, early 20th century pharmaceutical guides, and even 21st century textbooks underscore how many of these same toxins can also be used in life-saving medications. Other exhibit highlights include food adulteration and household poisons, developments in forensic toxicology, and even a 19th century New Haven murder trial. From cartoons and campy tunes to labwork and legal testimony, poison is everywhere–come see! Curated by Sophia Richardson, doctoral candidate in English, Graduate School for Arts and Sciences 2022 curatorial fellow, with the assistance of Dr. Melissa Grafe and the staff at the Yale Medical Historical Library.  For a current look at poisoning today, take a look at this blog post Data Librarian Kaitlin Throgmorton developed in conjunction with the exhibition and National Poison Control Week. Image descriptions: Cover from Clarence C. Wiley’s Carbarlick Acid Rag. Printed by Jerome H. Remick & Co., 1905. Sheet music collection on medical themes. Gift of William Helfand, 2013.   “Death’s Laboratory.” Cover of Collier’s Magazine. 3 June 1905. Reproduction from Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University   Plate featuring the foxglove plant from William Withering’s An account of the foxglove, and some of its medical uses : with practical remarks on dropsy, and other diseases. Birmingham (England): Printed by M. Swinney, for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, London, 1785.   Title page from Moyse Charas's New experiments upon vipers. Containing also an exact description of all the parts of a viper, the seat of its poyson, and the several effects thereof…London: Printed for J. Martyn, 1673.

New Exhibition: The Medical Lens: Highlights from the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Historic Medical Photography Collection

January 24, 2023 - 1:20pm by Melissa Grafe

The Medical Lens: Highlights from the Stanley B. Burns, MD, Historic Medical Photography Collection January 27, 2023 - March 10, 2023 (EXTENDED TO MARCH 19TH!) Join us at the Medical Library for our newest Rotunda exhibition! Medicine is a field grounded in the visual world. Over the centuries, illustration became increasingly embedded in the medical field via textbooks, posters, and other visual medium. With the development of photography in the early nineteenth century, medicine acquired a new way of viewing the patient. Besides being integrated in medical education and training, photography became a means of creating professional identity. To the larger world, medical photography helped shape the image of medical care and the profession, promoted technological advancements, sold products, and influenced public policy. The Medical Lens explores the importance of photography in medicine through images selected from the recently acquired Stanley B. Burns, MD, Historic Medical Photography Collection at Yale University. The collection encompasses a wide variety of photographic and print techniques including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes from the earliest years of photography, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, lantern slides, photo albums and collections of prints assembled by medical practitioners, postcards, and publications.  Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS, is an ophthalmologist and Research Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Professor of Medical Humanities at New York University: Langone Health. He began collecting historic photography in 1975, and over time amassed over a million images that he curated in multiple books, articles, and exhibitions. Dr. Burns is pictured standing in front of his photo wall containing some of the most iconic images from the Burns Archive, which he established in 1977. This exhibition is curated by Katherine Isham, MLIS, and Melissa Grafe, PhD, with the valued expertise of Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS. The curators want to thank Chris Zollo, Kelly Perry, Laura O’Brien-Miller, Terry Dagradi, Dana Haugh, and Melanie Norton for their additional assistance in bringing this exhibition to life. Please see the exhibition object list to begin exploring the items on display. Click to open the object list Case 1: Introduction -F. R. Reynolds and classmate before and after receiving their medical degrees at Rush Medical College, tintypes, 1883 -Florence Nightingale photographed by H. Hering, “Photographer to the Queen,” carte de visite, circa 1856-1857 -James Samuel How (Howe), MD, dead from cholera epidemic, St. Louis, Missouri, daguerreotype with obituary notice, 1849 -Ava V. Chadwick-Herns’s Battle Creek Sanitarium pamphlet with added photographs and notations, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1906-1907 -“Synoviales de la main” (dissection of the hand to show synovial system), 1870 and “Pelvi-support contre-extenseur” (counter-tension pelvic support), 1873 from Revue Photographique des hôpitaux de Paris. Gift of Stanley B. Burns, MD, 2020. Case 2: Medical Identity and the Profession (1) Meade brothers studying medicine, Victor, New York, tintype, circa 1860-1865 To be replaced mid-February with: (1) Two medical students studying anatomy with book, bones, and dissected arm, tintype, circa 1860-1865 (2) Dental extraction staged scene, tintype circa 1855-1865 (3) Portrait of Dr. Matthew Gill, “A student of Esculapius,” photographer S. Krausz, Chicago, cabinet card, circa 1891-1892 (4) Portrait of a visiting nurse, photographer John Suchy, Chicago, cabinet card, circa 1898-1900 (5) “Dr. Gridley’s first operation,” amputation surgery staged in a photography studio, photographer W. A. Hopkins & Company, Rapid City, South Dakota, cabinet card, 1891 (6) Elderly pharmacist with bottles of medicines, hand-tinted ambrotype, circa 1860-1866 (7) Physician/pharmacist using microscope, New York, gelatin silver print, circa 1895 (8) Pharmacist and assistant in a pharmacy, gelatin silver print, circa 1900 (9) Portrait of Danish nurse with red cross armband, photographer Mary Steen, Copenhagen, carte de visite, circa 1893 (10) Three nurses on the steps of the Lincoln School for Nurses, Bronx, New York, gelatin silver print, circa 1930 (11) Fordham Hospital medics with horse-drawn ambulance, gelatin silver print, circa 1892-1900 (12) Group photo of women interns at the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco, gelatin silver print, 1925-1926 Case 3: Medical Spaces and their Meanings (1) Dr. Bernstein, dentist, in his office, gelatin silver print, circa 1945 (2) Surgeon William L. Rodman’s clinic in the operating theater of the Medico Chirurgical Hospital, Philadelphia, photographer C. E. Waterman, gelatin silver print, March 26, 1902 (3) Exterior view of Mount Sinai Hospital from series “Views in New York City and Vicinity,” stereoview card, 1893 (4) Operation taking place in a Bellevue ward circa 1880s-1890s, gelatin silver copy print, 1948 (5) Operation led by female surgeon, gelatin silver print, circa 1905-1920 (6) Receiving wards, from George Pfaler E.M.D.’s Old Blockley Hospital photo album, Philadelphia, gelatin silver print, 1900-1901 (7) Boston City Hospital Ward P, gelatin silver print, Christmas 1912 Case 4: The Boom of Medical Innovation and Technology (1) Man in bed with leg in an early traction device, tintype in thermoplastic case, circa 1860-1870 (2) “Artificial sunlight for children,” showing a child receiving a “light bath” treatment at New York Nursery and Child’s Hospital, Keystone View Company, Inc., gelatin silver print, circa 1920-1935 (3) “Making ‘movies’ of the heart,” Kymograph machine combining X-ray and moving picture technology built by Dr. Wendell G. Scott and Dr. Sherwood Moore of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, International News Photo, gelatin silver print, 1936 (4) “New electron microscope has great range,” Dr. Gordon Scott of Washington University Medical School using an electron microscope, Acme Chicago Bureau, gelatin silver print, 1940 (5) “Machine will act as heart or lung,” created by J. Jongbloed of Holland for use during surgery, shown at conference of surgeons at the Sorbonne, Paris International News Photos, gelatin silver print, 1951 (6) “Skin resistance to sun measured,” Dr. Robert C. Burt of Pasadena, CA demonstrating his device for measuring how long one may be exposed to sunlight without injury, gelatin silver print, circa 1920-1930 (7) “La formule ideale de sang artificiel” (the ideal formula for artificial blood), Dr. Gottendenker of Vienna with his new invention: artificial human blood, Agence Trampus, gelatin silver print, 1937 (8) The “Headshrinker” positron detector invented by James S. Robertson at Brookhaven National Laboratory, a direct forerunner of positron emission tomography scanning, photographer unknown, gelatin silver print, 1961 (9) “Une nouvelle methode de traitement pour le cancere” (a new way to treat cancer), radiation sphere invented by Anton Zeeman and Doctor Erwin Fuhrer for the treatment of cancer, Agence Trampus, gelatin silver print, 1938 Case 5: Diseases, Vaccines, and Treatments (1) Child with smallpox, New York City, gelatin silver print, 1881 (2) Scenes from pneumonic plague in China, gelatin silver prints, 1911. Pictured are four doctors with thick face masks standing in front of a train; a doctor being sprayed with disinfectant; a doctor and medical assistants with horse-drawn carts for living and dead plague victims; and a doctor and military personnel standing outside an infected building that’s being burned down to stop the spread of disease. (3) Hookworm Disease Commission in Jamaica, gelatin silver prints, circa 1918 In these images from a larger album, medical personnel are using microscopes to examine samples and encouraging local people to see the hookworm eggs under the microscope as part of a health demonstration. (4) Elizabeth Kenny demonstrating physical therapy treatment on a young polio patient for nurses at General Hospital, Minneapolis, gelatin silver print, circa 1940 (5) Female scientists preparing vaccines in the Pasteur Institute toxins and antitoxins department, Photograph Trampus, Paris, gelatin silver print, 1943 (6) Adding formalin to transform toxin into antitoxin at the Pasteur Institute, Photograph Trampus, Paris, gelatin silver print, 1943 (7) U.S. Army Captain Daniel Staples administering typhoid vaccine to a young refugee from a flood area, Forrest City, Arkansas, International Newsreel, gelatin silver print, 1927 (8) Man being vaccinated at Pasteur Institute, photo postcard published by Neurdein et Cie, Paris, 1916 (9) Catholic missionary staff administering vaccines, photo postcard published by La Propagation de la Foi, Paris/Lyon, circa 1920 Case 6: War and Medicine (1) Civil War contract surgeon in his tent with books, medications, and medical bag, tintype, circa 1862-1865 (2) Surgical scene in front of a tent at Camp Letterman, Gettysburg, partial stereoview card, July 1863. Gift of Stanley B. Burns, MD, 2022 (3) American Women’s Hospital ambulance driver with her vehicle, photographer E. Belval, France, gelatin silver print, circa 1918 (4) World War I military doctor treating soldier with leg wound in multi-patient clinic, gelatin silver print, circa 1914-1918 (5) Back view of World War I soldier with severe chest injury recovering at Walter Reed Hospital, gelatin silver print, circa 1917-1920 (6) Wounded soldiers posing after recovery with wax models of their facial wounds from Kriegszahnklinik der IV. Armee in Lublin, a German army maxillofacial surgery album, 1916 (7) French World War I veteran photographed with his leg prosthesis from Considérations sur la Rééducation Professionelle Dans les Industries du Bâtiment (Considerations on vocational retraining in the construction industries), one of the first state-funded veteran rehabilitation programs, Charles Vallee, MD, France, 1917 (8) World War II medics administering plasma to battle casualty “on the run” to an L-5 plane for evacuation, Mindanao, Philippines, U.S. Army photograph, gelatin silver print, circa 1941-1942 (9) American Army surgeon operating on wounded soldier in underground surgery, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, U.S. Army photograph, gelatin silver print, 1943 Case 7: Patient Photography and Diagnostics (1) Civil war veteran receiving morphine injection from a physician, photographer B. Perry, Chamberlain, South Dakota, cabinet card, circa 1865-1866 (2) Nurse taking the pulse of female patient in a wheelchair, photographed by Altman and Edelman, Battle Creek, Michigan, cabinet card, circa 1894-1895 (3) Portrait of an obese man with edema of leg, tintype, circa 1865-1875 (4) Portrait of man with facial and neck tumor, photographer J. G. Ellinwood, Manchester, New Hampshire, carte de visite, circa 1871-1910 (5) Photograph documenting the spinal alignment of a young woman from Berkeley Gymnasium log book on student posture, photographer M. K. Wallin, MD, gelatin silver print, circa 1904-1909 (6) “Tubercular sylphide (on a woman’s back). From the collection of photographs of skin diseases of Dr. George Henry Fox,” page from The Medical Record: Weekly Journal of Medicine and Surgery, December 31, 1887 (7) Man with carcinoma of neck before and after treatment and with his family, Allentown, Pennsylvania, gelatin silver prints attached with surgical tape, circa 1915 (8) Lantern slides of a woman with fractured arm: x-rays and with her arm splinted, circa 1920-1930 (9) “Dr. Bordiu, marquis of Villa Verde, studies X rays during operation performed on Spanish child born with heart ailment,” photographer Jose Maria Lara, Pix Incorporated, New York City, gelatin silver print, circa 1950-1969 (10) Microscopic photography by Carlos Finlay, MD, from his research on yellow fever in Havana, Cuba: “Yellow fever blood, first day, fatal case x1450” and “Yellow fever blood, 5th day, fatal case x1450,” cabinet cards, 1879 Case 8: Teaching Medicine -Cartes de visite documenting Civil War veterans’ wounds and recovery, compiled by Dr. Reed Bontecou, Surgeon-in-Charge of Harewood U.S. Army General Hospital, Washington DC, circa 1863-1864, and donated to Army Medical Museum. Gift of Stanley B. Burns, MD, 2022. AND -Annotated teaching prints of injured Civil War soldiers: James Middleton with gunshot wound through the left shoulder and unidentified soldier with wound on left thigh, Dr. Reed Bontecou, enlargements of albumin prints, circa 1864-1865. Gift of Stanley B. Burns, MD, 2020. -Stereo prints from Lernt helfen (Learn to help), a 3D first aid guide for lay helpers that was packaged with a small folding stereoscope viewer, Germany, 1952 -Lantern slides created by Dr. Cutler using pre-made mats from William Garrison Reed, Boston, circa 1890             - On view are slides on “Purpurra haemorrhagica on leg” and “Herpes zoster on eye.” -To be replaced mid-February with slides on “Purpura rheumatica” and “Tinea Versicolor.” -“Tying the artery after the anastomosis is made” stereoview photograph from Transfusion of Blood by G. W. Crile, from Howard Kelly’s Stereo-clinic series, 1913 AND -“Closing the wound. Drainage.” stereoview photograph from Thyroidectomy for Exophthalmic Goiter by A. H. Ferguson, from Howard Kelly’s Stereo-clinic series, 1911. With stereoscope, circa 1890-1915   Opening Tour and Special Program: Thursday, February 9th 4:15pm – 4:45pm - Meet the curators and Dr. Burns and explore The Medical Lens through a short opening tour. Light refreshments will be served.  Cushing Rotunda, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library 5pm – 6pm - “Medical Photography and the Humanities: Connecting History to Practice,” a session with Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS and Chitra Ramalingam, PhD. Co-sponsored by The Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Room 115, just off the Cushing Rotunda, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. The recording of the session is now available online through The Program for Humanities in Medicine website. Stay tuned for additional tour announcements for this limited time exhibition!
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