1961 First Day of Isue stamp on a card honoring the nursing profession. The stamp features an illustration of a nurse lighting a candle. On the card is a black and white headshot of a nurse next to a symbol for the American Nurses' Association.

2015 is Almost History

Goodbye 2015, it’s been quite a year!

During the past twelve months on Circulating Now, we heard from all kinds of people who work with history every day, scholars and students, curators and public health officials, and of course our dedicated staff, some of whom joined us here for the first time this year.

We met new people who love medical history like Amy Wiese Forbes, a professor at a Millsaps College in Mississippi, who uses primary source documents like letters and public documents to help students think about the complexities of medical understanding in history. She says of her students, “Their desire to empathize with the exploited populations, the medical professionals, the beneficiaries of therapeutic understanding, and the defenders of civil rights and medical ethics, brings medical history to life.”

We also enjoyed visiting with our friends and our family, and we bid a fond farewell to our director of 31 years.

We marked several historical events during the past year, including the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the 50th Anniversary of Nirenberg’s Genetic Code Chartsgroundbreaking scientific documents held in NLM’s historical collectionsand the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid.

We acquired some amazing new collections including Dr. Schwartz’s Stamp Collection, a group of seven 1964 Public Health Service films about Emmy Immunity, a collection from NASA on medicine and space flight, and Marshall Nirenberg’s Nobel Prize medal and certificate. We also continued to grow our initiative to capture and preserve selected born-digital content documenting the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

And we launched some exciting new resources. Two new exhibitions Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives and For All the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform, are traveling around the country and available online. A new Profiles in Science website explores the life and work of “Mr. Public Health,” Congressman John E. Fogarty. And a digital archive of FDA Notices of Judgment Collection, 1908–1966 is now available for research.

Throughout the year we had great feedback from many of you. We were thrilled by your enthusiastic response to our posts “Wrapped in flesh”: Views of the body in East Asian Medicine, Oil on Paper: A Collaborative Conservation Challenge, and Where to Find History of Medicine Collections. Thanks for reading.

We have lots in store for 2016, so if you’re new to Circulating Now, welcome! And whether you’re a first time visitor or one of our growing community of followers, we invite you to stay tuned for another great year!


  1. An observation on the photos of notables viewing a copy of De Fabrica or other historic texts ; it is not a good idea to use bare hands when handling such precious material…gloves please!

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      No, I’m afraid we do not wear gloves when handling books printed on paper- that actually increases the likelihood of tearing a page or dropping the volume. Gloves are recommended for some other types of rare or fragile materials; read about it on the Library of Congress website:

      Before handling any collection item, thoroughly wash and dry hands.

      Contrary to widespread belief, gloves are not necessarily recommended to handle rare or valuable books. Gloves (nitrile or vinyl) are always recommended if there is reason to suspect a health hazard (e.g., mold, arsenic). Clean gloves (nitrile, vinyl, or lint-free cotton) are also recommended when handling photograph albums/photographs or books with metal or ivory parts. Aside from those specific situations, it is generally preferable to handle your books with clean hands, washed with soap and thoroughly dried, rather than with gloves. Why? See “Misperceptions About White Gloves ,” pp. 4-16 from International Preservation News [PDF: 1.08 MB / 52 pp.]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.