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 […]

Still from an interview with Kerry Kelly Novick. March 28

On Combat Fatigue Irritability: Kerry Kelly Novick Part III

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. This is the third and final part of a three-part interview with Kerry Kelly Novick, […]

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 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 the leading cause of death in the United States. This 1944 film […]

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 […]

Still from an interview with Kerry Kelly Novick. March 19

On Combat Fatigue Irritability: Kerry Kelly Novick Part II

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 II of a three-part interview with Kerry Kelly Novick, a practicing […]

A some shaped stone structure with an open rectangualar doorway and plants taken root on it standing in a medow. March 17

Famine Ships

By Stephen Greenberg Ireland is a beautiful country, but it is a haunted one as well.  Invasions, civil wars, massacres, religious and political repression, terrorism and counter-terrorism, famine, disease, forced emigration: all mar her history with a doleful regularity.  But there can be no doubt that the greatest scar on the national memory is the […]

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.” Patricia 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 her […]

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 […]

A data visualization made up of the following words, from large to small: Analytics, Monographs, Dissertationis, Cross References, Journals, Notes, Portraits. March 04

IndexCat™: Search It, Read It, Download It

By Jeffrey S. Reznick When John Shaw Billings was posted to the Army Surgeon General’s office in 1865 and put in charge of its small collection of books, he soon envisioned creating the most comprehensive medical collection possible. As the collection grew, Billings realized that it needed be “catalogued and open…as complete as it can […]

Ossie Davis February 27

Ossie Davis at Freedmen’s Hospital

By Alexsandra Mitchell This undated image of civil rights activist, actor, playwright, poet, author, and director, Ossie Davis is just one of the ‘hidden treasures’ within the Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) online image collection here at the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division. Davis, born Raiford Chatman Davis in Cogdell, […]

A small closed glass jar with a metal cap and it's cardboard box. February 25

Béla Schick and Serum Sickness

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 […]

Drawing: A seated man looks away as another man directs a stream of blood from the first man's arm into a bowl. February 21

Happy birthday, Mr. President!

By Erika Mills The month we celebrate presidential birthdays is upon us again! George Washington was born in Virginia on February 22, 1732. Until his death in 1799, Washington embodied leadership in many different roles—as a Revolutionary War general, as a Founding Father of the US, as a businessman and plantation owner, and as a […]

Three black women in nurse's uniforms. February 18

Black Student Nurses Around the World

By Alexsandra Mitchell In the 1940s and 50s, when the United Nations and the World Health Organization were new, an organization called the Helene Fuld Health Foundation, dedicated to the “relief of poverty, suffering, sickness and distress,” collected a series of photographs of student nurses from countries all over the world. In this period the […]

A 15th century engraving depicting an indiginous south american handing a box marked Inda Chocolata to Posidan , standing on a chariat holding a trident . February 14

A Chocolate Valentine

By Michael J. North Giving chocolate to a loved one on Valentine’s Day to show affection is engrained in modern culture, but there was a time when people looked at chocolate as a medicine. Because of this, the National Library of Medicine has a number of old and rare books on chocolate as a remedy […]

A woman in a smock and white cotten gloves reviews a film strip with an instrument. February 12

A Look at Librarians

By Alexsandra Mitchell The job description for today’s librarian is ever-changing, adapting to constantly evolving technological advancements that better serve library users.  Libraries have expanded with these advancements to include the use of websites, databases, search engines, scanners, E-Books, and born-digital resources. This February, on the occasion of African American History Month, let us take […]

Captain America says Some moms and dads who drink too much are alcoholics, and they have a disease called alcoholism. February 10

Super Heroes with a Serious Message

By Jeffrey S. Reznick More than a colorful image of the Marvel Comics superhero Captain America, this poster offers a serious public health message: “Some moms and dads who drink too much are alcoholics, and they have a disease called alcoholism. If you want to learn more … ask someone you trust.” The National Association […]

Illustration of a broken heart. February 07

Join Together, Heart to Heart

 By Ginny A. Roth This 1987 public health poster encourages maintaining healthy blood pressure as a way to attain proper heart health.  This is a fitting message for the month of February, which was proclaimed American Heart Month by Congress in 1963. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women […]

A woman in an apron and cap scolds three young girls in a bed. February 04

Making a Medical Heritage Milestone

By Michael J. North The Medical Heritage Library has achieved an important milestone by adding the 50,000th item to its online collection housed in Internet Archive. The MHL was formed in the summer of 2009 when curators of historical collections at the medical libraries of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and the National Library of Medicine together […]

Hand-colored woodcut of the horse. January 31

Happy New Year!

 By Ginny A. Roth This 1491 woodcut illustration from the herbal Ortus Sanitatis shows the horse, a symbol of nobility, class, speed and perseverance in the Chinese culture. The Year of the Horse, the Chinese year 4712, begins today, January 31, 2014.  The Chinese New Year remains the most important social celebration on the Chinese […]

Engravings of a man with a large nose and a woman with a small one. January 29

How To…Read Personal Character

By Michael Sappol Human Faces, What They Mean! How to Read Personal Character, 1872 If you live in the 19th century, as I do, and want to know how to read people like a book, then read this book. Which is on “Physiognomy”— “the art, or science, by which the characteristics of the mind are […]

Wooden board reading Magic Yeast January 24

Beer, Yeast, and Louis Pasteur

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 […]

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 […]

Detail of Report cover reading: Smoking and Health Report of the Advisory Committee to theSurgeon General of the Public Health Service. January 10

Smoking in America: 50 Years On

By Christie Moffatt Fifty years ago, on January 11, 1964,  the Surgeon General of the United States, Luther L. Terry, issued Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General. In recognition of this landmark document in the history of medicine and the United States, let’s recall its history through the NLM’s […]

An illustration of two men working on a body. January 06

Percivall Pott: Orthopedics and Occupational Health

By Michael J. North Today we commemorate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Percivall Pott (1714–1788), an English surgeon who is known as one of the founders of orthopedics and occupational health. Percivall Pott was the son of a scrivener (or scribe) and notary in London by the same name. After receiving an education […]

Detail of the title page of the text, in Latin. December 31

Andreas Vesalius at 500

By Michael North Today marks the 499th birthday of the great, 16th-century anatomist Andreas Vesalius, born on December 31, 1514. Throughout 2014 Circulating Now will be joining many others in celebrating this 500-year landmark in the History of Medicine. Very fortuitously, the Library has recently acquired a rare copy of a dissection manual edited by […]

Osler reading in an easy chair. December 19

Getting to know Dr. Osler

By Susan Speaker I was pleased when the Profiles in Science team was asked to develop a site featuring Sir William Osler (1849-1919). Osler, a major figure during a transformative period in medicine, developed America’s first modern clinical internship program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and wrote the first comprehensive, science-based medical textbook.  […]

Snowflakes_feature December 09

It’s a Kind of Magic

By Ginny A. Roth   Even those who live in a part of the world where it does not snow are familiar with the snowflake—a ubiquitous symbol of winter. Paper snowflakes adorn our houses during the holiday season and fall from the sky as ice crystals, unique as they are beautiful. They elicit an emotional […]

Word cloud in which influenza, H7N9, Health, Virus, and CDC figure prominantly December 05

Future Explorations of the Modern Flu

By Christie Moffatt The research underway on the 1918 flu epidemic described in Dr. Thomas Ewing’s recent post here on Circulating Now is a fascinating example of the long-term research value of news communications.  Dr. Ewing describes how health officials conducted a publicity and education campaign in the newspapers to prevent the spread of the […]

A divided wooden box containing syringes, ampules and a metal canister of vaccine. November 19

Vessels, Tubes and Tanks

Diane Wendt spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “Vessels, Tubes and Tanks: Historic Biotechnologies at the Smithsonian.” Diane is cocurator of From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry a collaborative exhibition project between the Library and the National Museum of American History now on view at NLM in Bethesda, […]

Gene Kelly, as a troubled seaman, expressing anxiety. September 25

PTSD and Gene Kelly’s Lost Wartime Star Turn

by Michael Sappol Before there was PTSD there was shell shock and combat fatigue and Gene Kelly’s Combat Fatigue Irritability. Combat Fatigue Irritability was made during World War II as a “naval training film” (although, unlike most military training films, there is very little training going on in this film). First screened in 1945, it […]

Portraits of Agnew and Bliss look in on the scene of Garfield on his sickbed September 04

“The President is Somewhat Restless…”: Languishing

By Lenore Barbian and Jeffrey S. Reznick During the days and weeks following the shooting, Bliss dutifully reported the details of the President’s vital signs.  The President’s temperature, respiration rates, attacks of vomiting and profuse sweating were all shared with the American people.  Yet through it all, Bliss maintained an air of confidence about the […]

Civil War era photograph of a wounded soldier with a hand drawn arrow indicating the path of the bullet. September 03

How The Civil War Transformed U.S. Medicine

Shauna Devine spoke today at the National Library of Medicine on “The Civil War, the Army Medical Museum, and the Surgeon General’s Library: Medical Practice and the Science of American Medicine.” Dr. Devine also contributed to the NLM’s book Hidden Treasure. You can read her essay about our Civil War surgical card collection on page […]

RedPoppy_feature August 30

The Red Poppy: A Curious Herbal

By Laura McNulty and Ginny A. Roth This image, rightly called “Red Poppy,” appears in the eighteenth century herbal  by Elizabeth Blackwell (1707-1758) titled A Curious Herbal. An herbal is a book of plants describing their appearance, their properties, and how they could be used for preparing ointments and medicines. The illustration, Plate 2 in […]

Sabin_feature August 26

Dr. Albert Sabin: A Closer Look

By Laura McNulty and Ginny A. Roth Dr. Albert Sabin was born today, August 26 in 1906 in Poland and is best known for developing the oral polio vaccine. This black and white portrait of Sabin, taken in 1953, was donated to the National Library of Medicine by the College of Medicine at the University […]

Physicians, soldiers, and patients are standing in such a way as to form a horse-shoe around the African American band members in front of a tent. August 15

James Reese Europe in Paris

By Alexsandra Mitchell In the midst of chaos and war, there is peace and joy through music! This image from the NLM’s collections features James Reese Europe, the African American band-leader and champion of jazz and ragtime music, in action during World War I with his “Harlem Hellfighters.”Otherwise known at the 369th Infantry Regiment of […]

Banner of the Illustrated London News August 13, 1881 August 13

“The President is somewhat restless…”: Headlines

By Jeffrey S. Reznick and Lenore Barbian Making Headlines Within days after the attempted assassination of President Garfield, news of his condition made headlines across America and, eventually, around the world. Throughout his illness, the health of the President of the United States was the news story of the day…the week…and the month…as time passed […]

detail of a figure displaying the surface musculature of the front of the bodystands akimbo in front of a landscape of plants, and a stone wall and lion statue August 06

Albinus Anatomical Prints Donation

By Michael North First Edition Albinus Anatomical Prints Come to the National Library of Medicine In April, 2013, Gloria and Paul Spiekermann of Westport, Connecticut generously donated four important anatomical prints by artist Jan Wandelaar and anatomist Bernhard Siegfried Albinus to the National Library of Medicine. The prints were produced in Leiden, Netherlands between 1740 […]

three engravings of unicorns July 23

Medicine, Museums, and Unicorns

By Stephen Greenberg One of the fun parts of working at the reference desk in the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine is never quite knowing what question you will be asked next.  The phone rings, an email pops into your mailbox, and suddenly you are being asked whether the red […]

A public health poster on which Arthur Ashe holds up a booklet. July 10

A Heart Healthy Message From Arthur Ashe, Jr.

By Ginny A. Roth Today, tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr., would have been 70 years old. Ashe was a no. 1 ranked professional tennis player and the only African-American male ever to win the US Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon. In 1979, despite his active lifestyle style and high level of fitness as an […]

detail from the title page of A booke of the arte and maner how to plant and graffe all sortes of trees... July 09

How to… in the historical collections of NLM

By Michael Sappol The “how to” is an ancient genre. There are Egyptian how-to texts (in hieroglyphics) on how to prepare mummies; Sumerian how-tos (in cuneiform), on how to pray; Hellenistic how-tos (in Greek) on how to do geometry; Roman how-tos (in Latin) on how to seduce people; and so on. In English, “how to” […]

A cartoon of Guiteau the assassin. July 08

“The President is somewhat restless…”: Assassin

By Jeffrey S. Reznick and Lenore Barbian The Assassin On July 8, 1881, the Grand Jury of the District of Columbia was discharged without the District Attorney presenting Charles Guiteau for indictment. The reason for the delay lies with a letter from the Presidents physicians who stated: In reply to your inquiry as to condition […]

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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