An architectural drawing of a very large, sprawling, high windowed, four story building with two steeples. June 30

The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital

By James Labosier, Ginny Roth, and John Rees A new archival collection, the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital Archives, 1853–2003 is now available at the National Library of Medicine to those interested in the history of mental health institutions and mental health treatment. About Sheppard Pratt Hospital The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, colloquially known […]

The imps attack the inside of the knee. June 25

The Inside Story

By Michael Sappol Inside Out, Pixar’s latest hit animated feature, is mainly set on the inside of a young girl’s brain. Riley, an eleven-year-old, is operated by a committee of characters, each representing an emotion, who collectively try to deal with her troubles at school and home. It seems like a very contemporary way to […]

a029450_feature June 23

Caring for Foreign Bodies

Alan Kraut gave the annual James H. Cassedy Memorial Lecture today at the National Library of Medicine on “Caring for Foreign Bodies: Healthcare’s Role in Immigrant Assimilation, 1890–1945.”  Dr. Kraut is University Professor of History at American University. Circulating Now interviewed him about his work. Circulating Now: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are […]

A bottle of clear liquid labeled 1:1 Acetone:Toluene. June 16

Oil on Paper: A Collaborative Conservation Challenge

By Kristi Wright and Holly Herro Sometimes conservators encounter problems resulting from well-intended but ultimately flawed repair techniques.  One example of this is the formerly widespread practice of applying oil to the covers of books.  Once considered best practice in libraries, the application of oil-based leather dressing to leather book bindings was a widely accepted […]

A screenshot of the interactive map reature of the Directory. June 08

Where to Find History of Medicine Collections

By Crystal Smith Among the National Library of Medicine’s most versatile online historical resources is an interactive tool for locating history of medicine collections worldwide: the Directory of History of Medicine Collections.  Whether you’re a researcher, information specialist, collection manager, or medical history enthusiast, you will find the Directory to be a handy resource.  The […]

A photograph of a woman in a dark jacket and tie and a hat. June 03

Travels of a World War I Nurse

By Dan Caughey Photograph postcards, known as “real photo” postcards, were popular mementos to send to loved ones before and during World War I. There are dozens of examples in NLM’s collection of nursing postcards, which are highlighted in Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection, an exhibition that explores nursing history by examining depictions […]

A glamourous woman's face linked to sensory stimulations by drawings of biological receptors. May 28

Physiological Ads for the Modern Self

By Michael Sappol Fritz Kahn (1888–1968), a German-Jewish physician-author, was the first great exponent of the conceptual medical illustration—illustrations that go beyond the representation of human anatomy to visually explain processes that occur within the human body. His published works, aimed at a mass readership, contain thousands of imaginative images, produced by a cadre of […]

Public health poster advertising the Utah EMS service May 21

When Time is Crucial—The Origin of EMS

By Susan Speaker May 17-23 is EMS Week—and you know what that means! Or maybe you don’t. If you’ve never had your life or that of a loved one saved by a team of emergency responders—paramedics, emergency department physicians and nurses, and trauma unit surgeons—you may not think too much about the Emergency Medical Services […]

A simple botanical illustration of gladiolus leaves and flowers. May 14

The Earliest Herbals

By Michael North This post is the first in a series exploring the National Library of Medicine’s rich and varied collection of “herbals,” which are books devoted to the description of medicinal plants (and sometimes other natural substances) with instructions on how to use them to treat illness. The Library’s herbals are some of the […]

Surgeon General William Stewart with Rebecca Ansah Asamoah May 12

Ready… Set… CLICK!

By Ginny A. Roth After a long winter, Spring is greeted with much anticipation. There is no better time to dust off those cameras, head outside into the sunshine and unleash your creativity behind the lens. May is National Photography Month (NPM) in the United States. NPM was officially recognized by Congress in 1987 as […]

Note to Mr. J. C. Pearson, from Indianapolis on July 17, 1951. May 08

A History of the FDA Notices of Judgement—John Rees

On May 7, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special program, “A History of the Food and Drugs Act Notices of Judgment–From the First Case of 1908 to the Digital Archive of 2014” in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) History Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, […]

A glass bottle labeled "100 Tablets Kevadon thalidomide" from the WM. S. Merrell Company. May 07

A History of the FDA Notices of Judgement—John Swann

On May 7, 2015, the National Library of Medicine held a special program, “A History of the Food and Drugs Act Notices of Judgment–From the First Case of 1908 to the Digital Archive of 2014” in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) History Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, […]

A group of men sit around a dining table, one weighs cake on a balance scale. May 06

A History of the FDA Notices of Judgement—Suzanne Junod

On May 7, 2015, the National Library of Medicine will host a special program, “A History of the Food and Drugs Act Notices of Judgment–From the First Case of 1908 to the Digital Archive of 2014” in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) History Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human […]

Black and White pamphlet cover with the NASA logo featuring an astronaut in a spacesuit in space with the moon in the background. May 05

NASA Collection Received

By Margaret Kaiser On May 5, 1961, Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American to fly into space, riding the Mercury capsule on a 15-minute suborbital mission. Project Mercury was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) first high-profile program involving human spaceflight. Recently, the National Library of Medicine received from NASA a wonderful […]

Man seated at a desk with a model of the heart on the desk. May 01

Remembering Levi Watkins Jr., 1945–2015

By Jill L. Newmark and Margaret A. Hutto In an operating room at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, February 1980, Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., a young African American cardiac surgeon made history when he stopped the heart of a 57 year old woman and successful implanted the first automatic cardiac defibrillator. From his humble […]

NEH4_feature April 28

Hosting the Chairman of NEH

By Jeffrey S. Reznick William D. Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently honored the National Library of Medicine (NLM) with a visit to learn about our historical collections and exhibitions and to reaffirm the memorandum of understanding signed by the NEH and NLM in 2012 to collaborate on initiatives of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 322,759 other followers