A book in Latin open to the title page showing handwritten Latin on the opposite page. October 15

The Death of Andreas Vesalius

By Michael J. North 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 generally known as […]

A woman holding a newborn sits by a woman lying in a bed. October 09

Midwives of St. Croix

By Alexsandra Mitchell Documents within the American College of Nurse-Midwives archival collection in the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division address the importance and history of the midwifery and nurse-midwife traditions. In this collection are a handful of items providing a unique Caribbean context for this subject; specifically the history of midwifery in […]

hand colored illustrations of a cactus in bloom and an insect on a cactus. October 08

Early Latin American Medicine in the NLM Collections

Michael J. North spoke today at the National Library of Medicine in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month on “Early Latin American Medicine in the NLM Collections.” Mr. North is Head of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine. Circulating Now interviewed him about his work. […]

a013679_feature October 07

Male Midwives in Ethiopia

By Alexsandra Mitchell This photograph from our Images from the History of Medicine database (IHM), is one of many gems in our collection.  This 1960s image shows a class of male medical assistants being trained in the sacred art of midwifery by Margaret Mitchell at the Haile Selassie Public Health College and Training Center in […]

A halftone reproduction of an etching of Einstein. October 02

Einstein: The Shy Genius

By Elizabeth Fee Once Einstein became famous, people would stop him in the street and cry out: “Professor Einstein!” He would say; “Oh yes, many people tell me I look just like him,” and walk on by. After his Nobel Prize, he was constantly being asked to speak in public and accept various awards. He […]

Recruitment poster for graduate nurses. September 30

National Library of Medicine Now Part of The Commons on Flickr

By Ginny A. Roth   The National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce its partnership with Flickr as a new member of The Commons.  Public domain images from the History of Medicine Division’s historical collections are now accessible through The Commons on Flickr via a photostream, where visitors are encouraged to contribute information about images by adding comments and […]

A detail from a diary hadwritten in pencil. September 25

A Mystery in Manuscripts

By James Labosier Among the History of Medicine’s manuscript collections rests a small group of letters and diaries from Army Surgeon Jonathan Letterman. However, these papers, donated to the Library in 1924 by Dr. Joseph T. Smith, Jr., a Baltimore physician and Letterman’s nephew, include two diaries which Letterman did not write. There is some […]

A sheet of three identical stamps featuring a reproduction of the portrait of Vesalius from his De Fabrca. September 23

Andreas Vesalius in Stamps

By Michael J. North 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 generally known as […]

Poster of Alaska Native teenager jumping in a gymnasium September 19

Actively Fighting Childhood Obesity

By Ginny A. Roth   The rise in childhood obesity has been growing at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Although steps need to be taken year–round to prevent childhood obesity, special […]

Detail of a large paper chart constructed of serveral pages taped together, handwritten in several colors of ink. September 16

Preserving Nirenberg’s Genetic Code Chart

By Kristi Wright and Holly Herro The National Library of Medicine is home to a series of very important documents in scientific history—Marshall Nirenberg’s Genetic Code Charts. The charts contain original, handwritten data from experiments that determined how protein sequence was dictated by the sequence of precursor ribonucleic acids (RNAs). Conservators at NLM have been […]

A crossection of a torso illustrated with industrial scenes labeled in German. September 12

A Poster to Pittsburgh

By Stephen Greenberg As a rule, items are included in the NLM’s History of Medicine Division collection because of their medical or, more broadly, their scientific significance.  But the boundaries between science and art have always been porous, and an exhibition loan request from an art museum is not unusual. Recently, we were contacted by […]

a030307_featue-sharp September 10

Rare Footage of FDR at NIH

By Rebecca C. Warlow On October 31, 1940, just days before President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be elected to an unprecedented third term as President of the United States, he traveled to Bethesda to dedicate the National Cancer Institute and the new campus of what was then the National Institute of Health (NIH), before it […]

Students seated in front of the "A Voyage to Health" Exhibition banners listen to a man holding up a lai September 04

A Voyage to Health, a Connection to Communities

By Alicia Yanagihara When you think of the National Library of Medicine, what comes to mind? Is it a Polynesian canoe? That definitely wasn’t my first thought either, yet South Pacific seafaring traditions have a connection to the National Library of Medicine. When I found out I would be interning at NLM in the History […]

A woman in a dark overcoat and hat sits on a motercycle on a cobblestone road by a lake. September 02

Dr. Julia Hallam on Pictures of Nursing

Dr. Julia Hallam spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection.” Dr. Hallam is curator of NLM’s newest exhibition of the same name and a Reader in Film and Media at the University of Liverpool. Circulating Now interviewed her about her work. Circulating Now: Tell us a […]

Compoite image of a postcard featuring a drawing of a Red Cross nurse and the hadwritten back of a postcard set over a map. September 02

Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection

By Erika Mills For over a century, images of nurses and nursing have been featured frequently as the subjects of postcards—so much so that nursing postcards offer a visual history of the profession and shine a light on the cultural values that inform perceptions of nurses. The imagery that decorates these mailers and mementos reflects […]

Still from a black and white film, a priest speaks to a woman in a headscarf. August 26

Medicine, Morality, Faith, and Film

By Sophie Lipman Religion and science, two concepts sometimes viewed as incompatible today, were seen by many in the 1930s and ‘40s as mutually supportive components for promoting the health of Americans. During a time of political and economic calamity—the conflict in Europe, the Depression at home—the nation’s health was threatened as well. Venereal disease, […]

CPBBBZ_feature August 21

Back to School with the Best of ‘Em

By Courtney Jefferies Around this time of the year, many of us, including myself, are preparing to go back to school. Throughout my summer internship in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, I have been delving into Profiles in Science—an online collection of historical manuscripts of twentieth century leaders in […]

A group of about 30 women pose in uniform. August 18

A Remarkable Career in Psychiatry

In 2012 Dr. Lucy Ozarin was interviewed at the National Library of Medicine as part of an oral history project related to the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). In honor of our remarkable friend and colleague Circulating Now offers excerpts from that interview today on the occasion of her 100th birthday. Lucy […]

Detail of the title page of Dr. Moore's Journal article. August 15

A Physician’s Perspective on the Russian Flu

In November 1889, a rash of cases of influenza-like-illness appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia. Soon, the “Russia Influenza” spread across Europe and the world. This outbreak is being researched by teams of Virginia Tech students as a case-study of the relationship between the spread of the disease and the spread of reporting about the disease. […]

C05532_Tending-Patients August 13

The 1889 Russian Flu in the News

In November 1889, a rash of cases of influenza-like-illness appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia. Soon, the “Russia Influenza” spread across Europe and the world. This outbreak is being researched by teams of Virginia Tech students as a case-study of the relationship between the spread of the disease and the spread of reporting about the disease. […]

Detail of map of Europe. August 11

Mapping the 1889-1890 Russian Flu

In November 1889, a rash of cases of influenza-like-illness appeared in St. Petersburg, Russia. Soon, the “Russia Influenza” spread across Europe and the world. This outbreak is being researched by teams of Virginia Tech students as a case-study of the relationship between the spread of the disease and the spread of reporting about the disease. […]

French poster warning of danger to sun exposure. August 07

A Call To Action to Prevent Skin Cancer

By Ginny A. Roth   In the fun summer months, it is often difficult to remember that outdoor activities in the hot sun can cause serious damage to the skin. This 1997 French poster, “Le soleil peut être dangereux, travail ou loisirs, protégez-vous” (“The sun can be dangerous, at work or play, protect yourself”), published […]

In front of a wall of masks a man holds one up, facing it in profile. August 05

Plastic Reconstruction of the Face, 1918

One hundred years ago, in August 1914, the powers of Europe embarked upon a calamitous war which resulted in the death, mutilation, and suffering of millions. This silent motion picture fragment from the collection of the National Library of Medicine documents the work of a small workshop in Paris where men with terribly disfiguring facial […]

A vignette photograph of Mary Putnam Jacobi. July 29

The Question of Rest for Women

By Susan Speaker The Question of Rest for Women During Menstruation is an extended version of an essay that won Dr. Jacobi the Harvard Medical School’s esteemed Boylston Prize in 1876. It was a significant event, as Jacobi was the first woman ever to win the competition. Beyond that, however, the book gives us a […]

Intricate woodcut illustration of a man with many wounds. July 22

The “Wound Man” in Two Recent Acquisitions

By Margaret Kaiser The “wound man” was a most popular image, especially in early printed books. Pierced by a variety of weapons, he demonstrated the possible wounds and injuries a physician might be called on to treat. Two of the Library’s recent sixteenth century acquisitions have examples of the “wound man.” The first is from […]

A man in a tie, holding papers, stands in front of a chart showing stages of a process that begins with Mars. July 18

Invasion from Mars? Microbes!

By Gregory Pike Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011, it’s easy to forget there was a time when America’s space program dominated the headlines. Born in the “fires” of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the U.S. space program became an exciting chapter in the race between […]

A detail of a sketch of people transporting and caring for wounded people outdoors; covered wagons stand in the background. July 15

The Anatomy Acts and the Social Contract

Dr. Dale Smith spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Anatomy Acts and the Shaping of the American Medical Profession’s Social Contract.” Dr. Smith is a Professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Department of Military and Emergency Medicine. Circulating Now interviewed him about his work. Circulating Now: Tell us […]

A shady looking car mechanic grins as he slides out from under Ed's car. July 10

Cartoons, Comedy, and Cancer in 1952

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger David Cantor. Dr. Cantor has published on the histories of cancer, meat, medical film, and the after-life of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. His most recent book, co-edited with Edmund Ramsden, is Stress, Shock, and Adaptation in the Twentieth Century. When in 1952 the American Cancer Society (ACS) released the […]

Illustration from Vesalius's De Fabrica showing Vesalius conducting a dissection for an audience. July 08

Illustrating De Fabrica

By Michael J. North 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 generally known as […]

Colored newspaper illustration of Marie Curie in a lab. July 03

The Revolutionary who Discovered Radium

By Elizabeth Fee Albert Einstein said “I have always admired . . Marie Curie. Not only did she do outstanding work in her lifetime, and not only did she help humanity greatly by her work, but she invested all her work with the highest moral quality. All of this she accomplished with great strength, objectivity, […]

A photo collage of feature images from Circulating Now. July 01

Circulating Now…Full Circle

Today is Circulating Now’s one year anniversary! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success in sharing with the world the amazing, diverse, and inspiring historical collections of the world’s largest biomedical library: Our committed staff, who collect, catalog, preserve, and interpret the collection Our brilliant staff authors and guests YOU! ~ our […]

Blue poster for the Gay Men's Health Crisis' HIV hotline. June 27

Take the Test, Take Control

By Ginny A. Roth This 1995 poster, “You Are Not Alone,” from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), attempts to quell the fear that was, and still is, deeply entrenched in getting tested for HIV. Since 1982, the GMHC has been a leader in HIV prevention, care, and advocacy.  In this poster, they reached out […]

Detail of a poster showing photographs of soccer teams. June 25

Kick Polio out of Nigeria

By Erika Mills During the World Cup, the globe is consumed by The Beautiful Game. Soccer is everywhere—even in public health messages! This poster encouraged parents to have their small children vaccinated against poliomyelitis during the 1998 National Immunization Days in Nigeria. It points out that a healthy child may grow up to play on […]

Three people in business clothes pose in front of a banner that is headed "Microbes" June 19

Hosting AOTUS: David S. Ferriero

By Jeffrey S. Reznick David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), recently honored the National Library of Medicine with a visit to share his expertise and discuss common challenges and opportunities facing archives today. Mr. Ferriero oversees the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), “the nation’s record keeper” of an astonishingly diverse and […]

Antibiotics don't work on colds. June 17

Losing the Miracle?

Maryn McKenna spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Losing the Miracle? Agriculture, the FDA, and the Controversy over Farm Antibiotics.” Ms. McKenna was recently named recipient of the 2013 Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences and finalist for a James Beard Foundation Award. Circulating Now […]

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

Ground-Breaking Reflections: Melvin R. Laird

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 the Armed Forces […]

Book cover illustration of an ambulance. June 10

(Re)Discovering The Great War

By Simon Chaplin and Jeffrey S. Reznick Commemorations of the centenary anniversary of World War I have begun in countries around the world. For the next four years, and probably a few beyond that, interest in the “war to end all wars” will reach a height not seen since the fiftieth anniversary of the conflict. […]

Surgeons operate under a tent while soldiers in fatigues look on. June 06

Dr. Swan writes from Normandy, 1944

By Susan Speaker “Operation Overlord”—the invasion of France’s Normandy coast that began on June 6, 1944—was the largest amphibious military operation in the history of warfare, and the turning point for the Allied Forces in World War II. Among the thousands of troops that waded onto the beaches, there were over forty surgical teams from […]

A man sits at a table looking into a microscope. June 04

How To…See with the Microscope

By Michael Sappol Microscopy was the coming thing in late 19th-century medicine. If you were an ambitious doctor, no matter what your field of interest, you probably wanted to own a good microscope, and apply it to the questions at hand. What do the structures of human and non-human bodies look like? How does that […]

Banner for Confessions of a Teenage Aspie blog. May 30

Autism and Alzheimer’s on the Web

By Maureen Harlow Capturing websites and keeping copies of them for the future to represent how they looked and what they said at a certain moment in time (“web collecting”) is an important activity for cultural heritage institutions because so much of our lives is now conducted online. Whereas in earlier decades, people regularly kept […]

A carved stone plaque featuring an American with the dates 1917 and 1918 to either side and In Memory beneath.. May 26

The Spirit of Memorial Day

By Kenneth M. Koyle The origin of the Memorial Day observance in America is disputed, with several states and communities claiming primacy as the first to hold an official celebration or first to place a holiday on the books, but we know that it began in the years following the U.S. Civil War. Decoration Day, […]

Clyde Snow, back to the camera, presents images of physical evidence in a trial. May 22

Remembering Clyde Snow, 1928–2014

By Erika Mills and Elizabeth A. Mullen Poring over bones left in mass graves and clandestine burial sites, seeking answers that might shed light on some of the darkest episodes in recent history, Clyde Snow made it his life’s work to unearth the truth. The celebrated forensic anthropologist exhumed and examined the skeletal remains of […]

An illustration of a baby. January 22

A Peek at Some Pamphlets

By Shannon Lu Every year, with half the school year behind them, high school and college students begin to fret about summer plans, jobs, and internships.  I am currently a sophomore at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, pursuing a double major in Economics and Computer Science and a minor in Russian, and I was fortunate enough […]

Diseases of the Army. By Sir John Pringle, Bart. Late Physician extraordinary to the King, and Physician in ordinary to the Queen of Great Britain. January 15

Sir John Pringle, MD and the Origins of Modern Military Medicine

Dr. Stephen Craig spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Sir John Pringle, MD, Early Scottish Enlightenment Thought & the Origins of Modern Military Medicine.” Dr. Craig is an Assistant Professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Department of Military and Emergency Medicine. Circulating Now interviewed him about his work. […]

Word cloud in which influenza, chicago, warning, close, and disease, figure prominantly November 05

Exploring Chicago’s Spanish Flu of 1918

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger E. Thomas 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’s recent research in the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine includes new methods of analyzing textual information. Professor Ewing is the […]

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