A flattened lead ball mounted in a case under glass. April 16

The Lincoln Autopsy

By Jill L. Newmark and Roxanne Beatty This week, Circulating Now marks a pivotal event in American history with a short series of posts. 150 years ago on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in a crowded theater in Washington DC. On April 15th he died and an autopsy was performed. Several doctors supported […]

AN engraving of a wallpapered room in which people stand and sit around the bed where the President lays. April 15

Lincoln’s Last Hours

By Jill L. Newmark This week, Circulating Now marks a pivotal event in American history with a short series of posts. 150 years ago on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in a crowded theater in Washington DC. On April 15th he died and an autopsy was performed. Several doctors supported Lincoln in his […]

President Lincoln lying in bed at the Petersen house surrounded by physicians. April 14

A Day that Changed American History

By Roxanne Beatty and Jill L. Newmark This week, Circulating Now marks a pivotal event in American history with a short series of posts. 150 years ago on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in a crowded theater in Washington DC. On April 15th he died and an autopsy was performed. Several doctors supported […]

Two white men take blood from a young black youth outside a building, other black adults and youths look on. April 07

D. Carleton Gajdusek and Kuru in New Guinea

By John Rees A new archival collection, The D. Carleton Gajdusek Papers, 1918–2000, is now available at the National Library of Medicine for those interested in virology and the ethnography and anthropology of Melanesia and Micronesia. Gajdusek was a pediatrician, virologist, and chemist whose research focused on growth, development, and disease in primitive and isolated populations […]

A large, diverse group of people, many in lab coats, fit on the steps of a large building. March 30

Cancer: Researching the History of a Malady

By Rebecca Warlow Almost every individual has been touched by a cancer diagnosis, whether as a patient, or as a family member or friend of a patient.  A new documentary based on Siddhartha Mukherjee’s 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, accepts this fact as one point of […]

Obama stands in a lab listening to Dr. Nancy Sullivan explain. March 26

Ebola at One Year

By Elizabeth Mullen and Christie Moffatt This week marks one year since the World Health Organization announced that the deadly outbreak in Guinea was Ebola. To date, the outbreak has claimed over 10,000 lives, the largest Ebola epidemic since its discovery in 1976. The National Library of Medicine’s role has been to provide information resources […]

Tuberculosis notice listing danger signs. March 24

World Tuberculosis Day

By Ginny A. Roth On March 24, 1882, a medical milestone was achieved. Dr. Robert Koch reported his discovery that Mycobacterium tuberculosis was the cause of a disease that was responsible for the deaths of one out of every seven people living in the United States and Europe. This was a critical step towards the effective […]

A banner reading "UUU are Great Marshall" hung in a hallway. March 20

A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg—David Serlin

On March 17, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special event, “A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg,” the first of a “triplet” of events at NIH being held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. View the event here. The program included presentations from his wife, Dr. Myrna Weissman, scholars, […]

A screenshot from the turning the pages interactive shown highlighting the UUU cell on the chart. March 19

A Tribute to Nirenberg—George Thoma

On March 17, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special event, “A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg,” the first of a “triplet” of events at NIH being held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. View the event here. The program included presentations from his wife, Dr. Myrna Weissman, scholars, and […]

A group of about 20 people pose for a photograph outside. March 18

A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg—Myrna Weissman

On March 17, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special event, “A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg,” the first of a “triplet” of events at NIH being held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. View the event here. The program included presentations from his wife, Dr. Myrna Weissman, scholars, and […]

At an elegant gathering Marshal Nirenberg is handed the Nobel Prize and Certificate by the King of Sweden. March 17

A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg—Frank Portugal

Today, March 17, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special event, “A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg,” the first of a “triplet” of events at NIH being held to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. View the event here. The program included presentations from his wife, Dr. Myrna Weissman, scholars, and […]

Nirenberg, ina lab coat, sitsin his office by a blackboard and a cart of molecule models. March 16

A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg

Tomorrow, March 17, 2015 the National Library of Medicine (NLM) will host the first of a “triplet” of events at the National Institutes of Health celebrating the legacy of Marshall Nirenberg and the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. The program, A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg, will include presentations from his wife, […]

A man in a lab coat gives a tour outside on the NIH campus to a group of people. March 12

Hosting the Ambassador of Belgium

By Jeffrey S. Reznick Belgium—founding member of the European Union and a country whose heritage is rich in so many ways, and especially in the history of medicine. Recently, we were honored to host a visit of Belgium’s ambassador to the United States, Johan Verbeke. Joining him was Kaat Wils, Professor of Modern European Cultural […]

A card with two side by side images meant to be viewed through a sterioscope for 3D effect, a young child covered in a find spotted red rash. March 10

Measles

Circulating Now welcomes guest blogger David Morens, Senior Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Morens is an epidemiologist with a long-standing interest in emerging infectious diseases, virology, tropical medicine, and medical history. Since mid-December […]

Lindberg speaks at a podium in front of the entrance to the Against the Odds exhibition at the National Library of Medicine. March 05

Donald Lindberg: A Leadership Legacy for the Future

By Jeffrey S. Reznick At the end of this month, Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the National Library of Medicine since 1984, will retire from his position and leave a tremendous legacy that generations of the Library’s patrons will value for years to come. His progressive, future-oriented leadership, grounded by his understanding and respect […]

A dentist puts his hand on a boy’s shoulder. March 03

“Come with me, into the visual instruction room”

By Michael Sappol A dentist invites a young boy: “Come with me, into the visual instruction room.” And with this, Ask Your Dentist, a silent dental film from around 1930 and a recent addition to NLM’s Medical Movies on Web, stages a cinematic revue of instructional techniques and tactics. In the course of 13 minutes […]

Two figures in white uniforms and on skis, carry an injured patient on a strectcher through the snow covered landscape. February 24

Winter Wounds, Paper Dressing

By Sarah Eilers It’s a black and white film, but it’s the white that overwhelms. A carpet of snow beneath Nordic pines, white uniforms head-to-toe, white planks used to construct a horse-drawn ambulance sleigh. Soon enough, an explosion, and the rising of white-clad figures from snow-covered foxholes, rifles at the ready. What is this? With […]

A group of people, black and white, men and women, in suits and dresses march under a banner reading Medical Committee for Civil Rights February 18

The History of Race in Randomized Controlled Trials

Laura E. Bothwell spoke today at the National Library of Medicine in recognition of African American History Month on “The History of Race in Randomized Controlled Trials: Ethical and Policy Considerations.”  Dr. Bothwell is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Circulating Now interviewed her about her work. Circulating Now: Tell […]

A Valentine Message February 13

A Valentine Message

By Elizabeth A. Mullen Valentine’s Day has a complex and debated history.  A Valentine as a term of endearment has been traced back to Chaucer’s time in the Middle Ages while our current tradition of giving printed paper Valentines began in 18th century England.  By the Victorian era it was a wildly popular practice and […]

Mother and child, Nepal February 11

Global Healing

By Ginny A. Roth “I have always been drawn to people and have sought to see them compassionately and with understanding through the lens of my eyes, my heart and soul as well as the lens of my camera.” – Patricia Gallinek Serving in many roles such as caregiver, decision maker, patient advocate, and teacher, […]

Detail of the Hippocratic Oath in Greek characters. February 06

Aldus Manutius and Early Medical Humanist Publishing

By Michael North Today marks the 500th anniversary of the death of one of the most important figures in the printing of early Humanist texts in Greek and Latin: Aldus Manutius (1449 or 1450–February 6, 1515). His press in Venice produced many of the first and most important editions of ancient texts in an easily […]

An illustration of the anatomy of the face done in several translucent colored layers. January 28

The Apotheosis of the Dissected Plate

Michael Sappol spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “The Apotheosis of the Dissected Plate: Spectacles of Layering and Transparency in 19th- and 20th-Century Anatomy.” Dr. Sappol is a historian in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine and editor of NLM’s Hidden Treasure and Dream Anatomy. Circulating Now […]

A young man in a lab coat and plastic gloves holds up a glass tube in a laboratory. January 21

Deciphering the Genetic Code: A 50 Year Anniversary

By Christie Moffatt Fifty years ago, on January 18, 1965, Dr. Marshall W. Nirenberg (1927–2010) completed his first summary of the genetic code—one of the most significant documents in the history of twentieth-century science—a painstaking, handwritten chart of the discovery of how sequences of DNA, known as “triplets,” direct the assembly of amino acids into […]

A photograph of a nurse wearing a surgical mask and a list of tips "to prevent influenza" January 15

Influenza Precautions, Then and Now

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Tom Ewing, Professor of History and Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  Professor Ewing offers a comparison of health recommendations during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 and today.      On October 18, 1918, the Illustrated Current […]

A hand colored illustration of a stork holding a snake in its beak. January 08

Early Studies of Animals

By Michael J. North Some of the oldest materials in the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine are on the subject of natural history and describe the vast diversity of plant and animal life. These natural history texts document the development of thought and investigation into the biological sciences, which contributed significantly to […]

Document headed by a cartoon of a man in a breathing mask kicking a black robed skeleton. January 06

John F. Fulton’s Aeromedical Research

By James Labosier A new archival collection, The John F. Fulton papers (1929–1953),  is now available at the National Library of Medicine for those interested in World War II military and aviation history and particularly the effects of flight on health. John F. Fulton (1899–1960), born in St. Paul, Minnesota, was an internationally renowned physiologist, specializing with […]

Woodcut vesalius portrait with confetti December 31

Happy Birthday, Andreas Vesalius!

By Michael J. North Today we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius (December 31, 1514–October 15, 1564), one of the most celebrated physicians of the early modern era. Over the past year in a series of posts, we have looked at many facets of his life, death, publishing, and the way […]

Christmas-Dinner_feature December 27

Christmas in Wartime: a formal dinner in cap and apron

By Jeffrey S. Reznick One-hundred years ago this week, Mary Dexter wrote to her mother, Emily Loud Sanford, about her experiences as a volunteer with the British Red Cross at the American Women’s War Relief Hospital in Paignton, South Devon. Christmas was approaching as Dexter and the other staff of the hospital braced themselves for […]

American Women's War Relief Hospital, Oldway, Paignton, a large columned building with a large paved courtyard. December 25

Christmas in Wartime: You should have heard the shouts

By Jeffrey S. Reznick One-hundred years ago this week, Mary Dexter wrote to her mother, Emily Loud Sanford, about her experiences as a volunteer with the British Red Cross at the American Women’s War Relief Hospital in Paignton, South Devon. Christmas was approaching as Dexter and the other staff of the hospital braced themselves for […]

1937 Christmas Seals December 24

Season’s Greetings

By Ginny A. Roth   The name Emily Bissell may not strike a chord with most people, but you can thank her for introducing colorful and festive Christmas Seals to the United States that have been produced every year since 1907. This Christmas Seal from 1937 marked the 30th year that the seals were produced, […]

Arrival-of-Wounded-at-Paddington-Station_feature December 23

Christmas in Wartime: gauze stockings for 200 men

By Jeffrey S. Reznick One-hundred years ago this week, Mary Dexter wrote to her mother, Emily Loud Sanford, about her experiences as a volunteer with the British Red Cross at the American Women’s War Relief Hospital in Paignton, South Devon. Christmas was approaching as Dexter and the other staff of the hospital braced themselves for […]

Mary Dexter in a nurses uniform posing in a columned portico. December 22

Christmas in Wartime: Mary Dexter and the Great War

By Jeffrey S. Reznick One-hundred years ago this week, Mary Dexter wrote to her mother, Emily Loud Sanford, about her experiences as a volunteer with the British Red Cross at the American Women’s War Relief Hospital in Paignton, South Devon. Christmas was approaching as Dexter and the other staff of the hospital braced themselves for […]

A group of men sit talking in a reserved section at the front of an auditorium holding programs. December 18

Thomas C. Chalmers: Clinical Research Pragmatist

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Laura E. Bothwell, a postdoctoral fellow in Health Policy, Law, and Ethics in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Harvard Medical School.  Recently, Laura’s research brought her to NLM to consult the Thomas C. Chalmers’ Papers held in the archives of the Library’s History of Medicine Division, for details about Dr. Chalmers’ role […]

Faint signatures. December 16

NLM’s Unique De Fabrica

By Michael J. North and Laura Hartman This year we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) who is best known for changing how we do medical research with his groundbreaking book, De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (Seven Chapters on the Structure of the Human Body), published in 1543 and […]

A cross sectional drawing of a house showing its sanitation systems. December 11

Dangers to Health in Our Own Home, 1877

NLM historian Michael Sappol was a recent guest blogger at The Ultimate History Project.   The post explores a whimsically illustrated and persuasive Victorian era pamphlet, Dangers to Health in Our Own Home (1877), by T. Pridgin Teale (1831–1923), an eminent British surgeon. Sappol explains: “Teale sought to educate ‘the public in the details of […]

Insulin now part of the plasmid is returned to the bacteria. December 09

Partners in Illuminating Science

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Aline Lin,  co-founder and principal of Link Studio, an interactive design and medical illustration company.  Aline worked with the Exhibition Program to bring our recent exhibition, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, to the web. Collaboration with the Exhibition Program at the National Library of Medicine […]

A simple bar graph style chart titled American War Deaths and ranking deaths from various wars in comparison to AIDS deaths, with AIDS at 319,849 (through 1995) and World War Two at 291,557. December 01

Surviving and Thriving: The Making of an Exhibition

Dr. Jennifer Brier spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Surviving and Thriving: The Making of an Exhibition.” Dr. Brier is director of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Circulating Now interviewed her about her work. Circulating Now: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? […]

A cartoon of a man lying in a bed labeled home. November 26

Thanksgiving DeLuxe, 1918

By Jeffrey S. Reznick and Elizabeth A. Mullen Between 1918 and 1919, across twenty-one states and the District of Columbia, dozens of military hospitals and related institutions produced official in-house magazines, or “house organs,” as they were frequently called at the time. Endorsed by the Surgeon General’s Office, these publications were brought to life by […]

Illustrations of two birds from a Danish edition of the Origin of Species. November 24

First editions of Darwin’s Origin of Species

By Margaret Kaiser On November 24, 1859, Charles Darwin’s On the origin of species by means of natural selection… was published in London. From the beginning, the book was popular and the first edition sold out on the first day. The Origin is Darwin’s great work and considered to be one of the most important […]

Interior view of a trolley or train car, where a man is smoking and causing considerable discomfort among the other passengers November 20

What’s Your Quit Day?

By Ginny A. Roth For nearly 42 million Americans, smoking is a hard habit to break.  The American Cancer Society (ACS) calls tobacco use the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet for most smokers, quitting seems an unattainable goal. The public areas in which individuals are permitted […]

Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealing some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.Photo Credit: Frederick Murphy November 19

Future Historical Collections: Archiving the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

By Christie Moffatt When future researchers look back at the current Ebola outbreak, what resources will they want to explore?  What will they want to know?  Of the news and information about Ebola that is created and shared digitally over the web, what will remain to be examined one, ten, or even fifty years from […]

A complex hand drawn and colored chart labeled in Asian script and featuring many small boxes filled with text and stylized illustrations of a long green snake and a man with a snakes body holding a round red object in his hand. November 13

Mongolian Manuscript comes to Turning the Pages

By Michael J. North The latest addition to the Turning the Pages collection is a Mongolian manuscript entitled, Manual of Astrology and Divination. This colorfully illustrated handwritten book is part of the National Library of Medicine’s collection of about 50 manuscripts from Mongolia, many of them dealing with astrology, astronomy, and divination from a Buddhist […]

John Galsworthy seated at a writing desk reviewing a document, left profile. November 10

The Sacred Work: Galsworthy’s Advocacy for WWI Veterans

By Jeffrey S. Reznick This Veterans Day is the first to occur during the four-year centenary anniversary of World War I. As media outlets feature stories about medical care and philanthropic support provided to men and women who have sustained permanent injury through military service in recent wars, we have an opportunity to look back […]

A photograph of a doctor and patient and four others. Names of all but the patient are handwritten on the photograph. November 05

Antibiotic Pasts and Futures

Dr. Scott Podolsky spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Antibiotic Pasts and Futures: Seven Decades of Reform and Resistance.” Dr. Podolsky is director of the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Circulating Now interviewed him about his work. Circulating Now: Tell us a little about […]

One lamb chop and a single pea on a plate. November 03

The Story of Wendy Hill

By Sarah Eilers The Story of Wendy Hill, 1949 A “fine and wholesome” young woman, newly married, steps into the street below the office where she works as a secretary in small-town Greendale. A car appears and slows to a stop. She looks, pauses, then hurries into the road. Suddenly a truck barrels toward her, […]

Medical Costume Greek Physician October 31

Costume Conundrum?

By Ginny A. Roth   Still looking for a costume idea for Halloween?  You have a few hours left to make this important decision. There’s always the option of going as the ubiquitous vampire.  Or you can grab a cape and dress as one of the many super-heroes protecting our streets during the scariest night of the year.  […]

Promotional image for Kellogg's Pep. October 27

Pure Food: FDA Notices of Judgment

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Dr. Suzanne Junod, a historian in the FDA History Office. In celebration of the completion of NLM’s digital archive of court case summaries published as the Food and Drugs Act Notices of Judgment, Dr. Junod offers a brief history of U.S. food and drug regulation and a use case for […]

A concept sketch of the unbuilt National Library of Medicine June 12

Ground-Breaking Reflections: Melvin R. Laird

By Jeffrey Reznick During the sunny and warm afternoon of June 12, 1959, dignitaries gathered on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to break ground for the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It was only a few years earlier that legislation proposed the transfer of the Library, then known as […]

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