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 […]

Three men in suits look at a report during the President's Commission on Heart Disease Cancer and Stroke. May 13

“you are going to find the answers”

By Sarah Eilers Regional Medical Programs You have, among you, some of the great doctors, some of the great public servants of our time. And somehow, some way, sometime, you are going to find the answers…. With these words 50 years ago, in the spring of 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson asked Congress and the […]

In a room filled with a chaos of bleeding and bandaged soldiers, a woman comforts a bandaged man lying on a cot. May 12

The Lady Who Became a Nurse

By Elizabeth Fee and Mary E. Garofalo Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 of wealthy British parents who expected her to do all the things young ladies of her class did: to spend much of her time in the drawing room entertaining her sister or her friends; to take occasional rides in carriages, […]

A tray of labeled plastic tubes with snap on caps. May 08

Bacterial Sex: A building block for biotech

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Bloggers Diane Wendt and Mallory Warner from the Division of Medicine and Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History back for a final post in this series. As curators of our recent exhibition, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, Diane and Mallory spent months researching […]

Nurse May 06

Nurses—The Heart of Healing

By Ginny A. Roth  Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the […]

Two patients in smocks, one standing, one seated on the floor, in a hallway lined with barred metal doors. May 01

Tearing Down the Walls in Mental Health Care

By Susan Speaker May is Mental Health Month, an annual opportunity to raise public awareness about mental health problems and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness through advocacy and education. For the history-minded, it’s also a chance to see how much things have changed since the first Mental Health Week was observed, back in […]

A metal plack mounted on a stone that marks the significance of the NLM's Hippocrates tree. April 25

Planting the Tree of Hippocrates

By Stephen Greenberg Just a few hours ago, on a bright, windy day in Bethesda, MD, a group of dignitaries and guests gathered in front of the National Library of Medicine to plant a tree. The dignitaries included Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, Principal Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health; Mr. F. Anthony Clifford, […]

Illustration of a cartoon-character mosquito sitting on a pillow on what appears to be an Army bed. April 25

World Malaria Day

By Ginny A. Roth Every year on April 25th the world commemorates the global effort to control malaria by recognizing World Malaria Day, instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States during the World Health Assembly of 2007. This year’s theme, “Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria,” supports the organization’s goal for nations to solidify their […]

Nine young professionals pose at the Lister Hill Center at the National Library of Medicine. April 22

Emerging Trends in Digital Stewardship

Sharing new projects and experiences in digital stewardship was the theme of a recent National Digital Stewardship Resident (NDSR) symposium “Emerging Trends in Digital Stewardship,” held in NLM’s Lister Hill Auditorium. Throughout the day-long event the residents moderated panel presentations and guided lively discussions on a wide range of topics in digital preservation and digital […]

The back of a handwritten telegram from Sarah Bernhardt to Dr. Emanuel Libman. April 17

The Divine Sarah and her Divine Doctor

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Robert Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb is a writer and editor, and the author of Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt; Balanchine: The Ballet Maker; Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens; and Lives and Letters. From 1987 to 1992 he was the editor of The New Yorker. Before that, […]

The-Sally-Port_crop April 14

Dr. Samuel Mudd, Prisoner and Physician

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Blogger Robert Summers who has been researching, writing, and lecturing on his ancestor Dr. Samuel A. Mudd’s role in the Lincoln assassination for more than a decade. During his research he visited NLM to consult Army medical records held in our History of Medicine Division for details about Dr. Mudd’s activities […]

A woodcut illustration of large number of saws, knives, probes, scissors and other tools laid out on a table. April 09

Andreas Vesalius and De Fabrica

By Michael J. North This year we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius (1514–564) 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 […]

Alexander T. Augusta in Uniform. April 04

A Civil War Surgeon’s Books Rediscovered

By Jill L. Newmark “…the sight of his uniform stirred the faintest heart to faith in the new destiny of the race, for Dr. Augusta wore the oak leaves of a major on his shoulders.” On the eve of the anniversary celebration of the signing of the D.C. Emancipation Act, April 16, 1863, the crowd […]

A human figure is dwarfed by a fanciful mushroom, mold, and bacterial jungle. March 31

The Magic in Mold and Dirt

Circulating Now welcomes Guest Bloggers Diane Wendt and Mallory Warner from the Division of Medicine and Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. As curators of our most recent exhibition, From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry, Diane and Mallory spent months researching four different microbes and the influence they’ve […]

Jonas Salk inoculating a child with the polio vaccine. March 26

Celebrating Salk

By Ginny A. Roth In this black and white photograph from the 1950s, a nurse stands by while Jonas Salk inoculates a young girl with the polio vaccine via injection to the arm. Poliomyelitis (Polio), a disease that attacks the nervous system and causes paralysis, was a widespread epidemic in the United States during the […]

A young woman lies in bed, covering her mouth as she talks with an older woman seated at her bedside. March 24

TB: A Killer Then, A Killer Now

By Sarah Eilers Peter Borik: The Story of the Tragedy He Brought His Family, 1944 In the mid-20th century, U.S. public health authorities used a variety of means to inform, cajole, and even frighten the population into testing and treatment for tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial infection that attacks the lungs. A century ago, TB was […]

An illustration of cut twigs heeled into the ground. March 20

How To…Plant and Graft All Sorts of Trees

By Michael Sappol The oldest English-language how-to at the National Library of Medicine is a charming and practical little book dating from 1575. In keeping with the custom of the day, the title also serves as a brief description of the contents: A booke of the arte and maner how to plant and graffe all […]

Advertisement for Abnegacion (The Girl In White) showing a still in which a womain in a uniform consults with an injured sailor. March 13

‘Medicine is a Man’s Game?’—Women Doctors in the Movies

Patricia Gallagher spoke today at the National Library of Medicine in honor of Women’s History Month on“’Medicine is a Man’s Game?’—Women Doctors in the Movies.” Ms. Gallagher is a Librarian with the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) at the National Library of Medicine. Circulating Now interviewed her about […]

Still from an interview with Kerry Kelly Novick. March 12

On Combat Fatigue Irritability: Kerry Kelly Novick

Last fall, Circulating Now featured a unique film in the NLM’s vast historical audiovisual collection, the World War II U.S. Navy training film Combat Fatigue Irritability (1945), directed by and starring Gene Kelly, who was then a rising Hollywood star. Today, we share Part I of a three-part interview with Kerry Kelly Novick, a practicing […]

An illustration of a Red Cross nurse helpng a wounded soldier on the battlefield during World War I. March 07

Honoring the Red Cross

By Ginny A. Roth This World War I-era poster created by artist John Mills depicts a Red Cross nurse helping a wounded soldier on the battlefield, a familiar scene for a Red Cross volunteer during wartime. Each year, the President of the United States proclaims March “Red Cross Month,”  an opportunity for the American Red […]

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. […]

6951 Penicillin Lab History of Pharmacy featured image November 19

From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry

By Erika Mills For some, the word “biotechnology” conjures images like super crops and cloned sheep—things created in a laboratory by manipulating DNA. While many equate biotechnology with genetic engineering and contemporary advancements in science, the practice of using organisms and biological processes as tools to make products like foods and medicines—biotechnology at its core—is […]

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 […]

Detail of the title page of President Garfield's autopsy report stamped Surgeon General's Library. September 20

“The President is Somewhat Restless…”: Aftermath

By Jeffrey S. Reznick and Lenore Barbian The Beginning of the End While the ocean air of Elberon initially caused some improvement in Garfield’s condition, and he was delighted to be near the sea, he eventually took a turn for the worse, complaining of chills, fever, a troublesome cough, and weakness. The bulletins of his […]

garfield stands wounded while others help support him and apprehend the assasin July 02

“The President is somewhat restless…”

By Jeffrey S. Reznick and Lenore Barbian Reenacting the Summer of 1881, and the Days Following the Assassination of President James A. Garfield One-hundred and thirty-two years ago today—on July 2, 1881—the 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield, entered the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, DC to board a train […]

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