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Robert L. Brown History of Medicine

History of Medicine News

Chart the future by exploring the past

History of Medicine comes to the Family Health Fair!

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Some of the Many Providers at the Fair

Keith and I were very pleased to have the opportunity to represent the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection at the Family Health Fair on August 2, 2014 at the Amherst Senior Center.  The Fair was hosted by State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and the Amherst Senior Center in partnership with Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Assemblyman Raymond Walter, and Kaleida Health. More than 85 providers offered screenings and services to attendees including blood pressure checks, bone density heel scans, cholesterol and hearing screening and skin cancer screenings.  Surrounded by state of the art health care technology, the History of Medicine exhibit  displayed books and artifacts that provided a glimpse into some historical aspects of public health including well baby contests and child welfare, visiting nurses, and the life of a country doctor in Central New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  We were happy to hand out our new History of Medicine brochures to the numerous attendees who stopped at our tables to chat and share some of their stories.  One visitor, upon seeing a bottle of Cheracol cough medicine on display, told us that as a child she liked the taste of it so much that she once drank an entire bottle.  At that time Cheracol contained, among other ingredients, chloroform, codeine phosphate and alcohol!  It was great to meet new people and see folks who work or used to work at UB. We also held a drawing for the chance to win a pack of our botanical notecards.  Cards were mailed to five lucky winners.  The Health Fair gave Keith and me an invaluable opportunity to promote the Collection to an entirely new audience and hopefully attract more visitors to come and experience it in person.  We also made contacts that may result in our taking part in other events of this nature including participation in future Family Health Fairs.

Healthy Babies and Child Welfare

Healthy Babies and Child Welfare

Visiting Nurses and a Country Doctor

Visiting Nurses and a Country Doctor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conversations: No. 2

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T.Love

Tyler Love behind the camera!

We first met Tyler Love as a UB Department of Library Studies graduate student who took our practicum
“Introduction to Special Collections: the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection” in early 2007. In this position, Tyler participated in day-to-day Collection activities such as reference work, exhibit preparation, and collection development. She also contributed her ample artistic and photographic talents to the promotion of the History of Medicine collection, photographing a number of items belonging to our Edgar McGuire Historical Instrument Collection and as well as our books.  Tyler is now an archivist working with the National Air and Space Museum. She previously worked in a similar position with the National Park Service.  As an “old” friend of the History of Medicine Collection we thought it would be fun to ask Tyler a few questions about herself and share the answers with you!

 

You work at the National Air and Space Museum, what a fascinating place to work! Could you tell us a little more about your role there?

I am an archivist. Before this I was the archivist for Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, which was equally fascinating – just sayin!

What projects have you been most excited to work on?

While working at Chaco, many projects required time out in the field – all of that was great. At NASM I am over the moon to have been selected to process the Arthur C. Clarke papers once they get here from Sri Lanka.

While you visited our Collection, you identified and photographed several woodblock prints and older illustrations. What is it about these pieces of visual culture that intrigue you?

Simply put, I love science and I love art. The books I choose to shoot blend both (or in some cases, what the author thought was science at the time!) I also purposely choose books with dense bindings that would be hard to scan, even with a specially made book scanner.

Random Question: Beer or Wine?

Beer! Especially Dog Fish Head’s Chicory Stout which I have a lot of trouble finding outside of Buffalo.

Blasii-Illustration--dsc_0195

One of Tyler’s pics from a book by Blasii.

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Conversations: No. 1

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This is the first in a series of conversations with friends of the History of Medicine Collection both new and old.  Featured below are two graduates of the UB Medical School who, last fall, came down to the History of Medicine Collection by chance. While looking around they noticed the ongoing “dollar a book” sale carts and spent some time browsing the contents.  They ended up purchasing quite a few of the books and that is how Keith and I came to know Dr. Colleen Nugent and Dr. Peter Martin.  They periodically return to see what “new” items might be available and it’s always a pleasure to talk with them.  We wanted to learn a little more about Peter and Colleen and asked them to respond to several questions about themselves and their love of vintage medical books and history.  We know you’ll enjoy reading their answers!

Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you find our Collection?

We are both grew up in Western New York and met while still attending Canisius College.  We spent many hours in the Health Sciences Library as we each completed graduate and medical degrees through UB.  It was while studying for our specialty board examinations in the HSL that we first learned about the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection and realized that we found a hidden treasure.

You’ve purchased quite a few of our used books, made available during our ongoing book sale. What is it about vintage texts that appeals to you both?

Barrister bookshelf: the new home of the old books!

Barrister bookcase: the new home of some of the old books!

The experience of touching a unique piece of history is always exciting.  It is fascinating to see how much has changed in medicine and how much has remained the same over the past century.  In an age of electronic medical records and an increasingly computerized lifestyle, we enjoy the experience of sitting with an actual book and looking at the world through the medical lens of several generations of physicians. These texts hold the stories and patient descriptions despite being over 100 years old that remain vivid and richly describe the patient as a whole person.  We find ourselves easily able to conjure up an image of these century old encounters much easier and faster than modern EMR templated patients.

What place, if any, does history have in the practice of modern medicine?

There is so much to learn in modern medicine that it is difficult just to keep up-to-date on the newest breakthroughs.  Still, having an appreciation for how things were thought of in the past helps give perspective as to the way that medicine is practiced today.  The field of medicine is constantly reflecting on how to improve, and there are ample examples of how looking back at a previous way that something was thought of or done has been useful in the present.

Bonus Random Question!: If you were to be granted a trip to any location, during any time period, where and when would you choose?  

Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century.  1901 was the time that the lights literally came on in Buffalo.  It must have been an exciting time of rapid expansion industry, medicine and culture.  It would have been dazzling and exciting to see the infant incubator on the Midway.  We cannot help but find some similarities of the Pan- AM Expo with the current day progress with the new medical campus.

Dr. Peter and Dr. Colleen Nugent

Dr. Peter Martin and Dr. Colleen Nugent

 

 

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A Labor of Love: The Birth and Evolution of the UB Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics

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Photo May 29, 6 38 06 PM

Ben Kutas and Daniel Bednarek

The Friends of the Health Sciences Library’s Spring Program took place on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 in the library in Abbott Hall.  In the first portion of the program Dr. Daniel Bednarek, UB Professor of Radiology, shared with the audience the highlights and struggles involved in the creation of the special historical collection that is the UB Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics.  The presentation was followed by a tour of the Museum conducted by Dr. Bednarek and Ben Kutas, RT.  The museum effort, led by the two men, took a major leap forward with the acquisition in 2001 of a large number of items of historical significance to radiology and clinical medicine in general from the estate of the late Dr. Edward Eschner, a former chairman of the Department of Radiology of the University at Buffalo (1957-1971). Bednarek and Kutas have continued to add to the collection with items donated by other individuals, hospitals and x-ray equipment supply companies, particularly Buffalo X-Ray Corp.  Before his death in 1991, George J. Alker, Jr., MD, UB Chair of Radiology (1985-1991), also maintained artifacts at the Erie County Medical Center with Dr. Bednarek; most were moved into storage in H Building of the old E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital and were lost in 2000 with asbestos abatement prior to demolition of the building. Following Dr. Alker’s death his widow, Mrs. June Alker, provided active and financial support for the project which was critical to keeping it alive.  Shortly after Dr. Eschner’s death in 2001, storage space was obtained for the collection in the cafeteria building of the old Meyer and in 2002 the collection was moved to larger space in UB’s vacant Acheson Hall. In April 2006, due to renovation of Acheson into Kapoor Hall, the collection was moved to Hayes Annex C. In January 2011 the Museum had to move again due to the space needs of the School of Architecture and was relocated to its current home in the lower level of the Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall.

Inside the Museum

Inside the Museum

Items on display include original gas x-ray tubes, hand-held fluoroscopes, early generators in wooden cases, a World War II era portable military x-ray unit, an upright stereoscope, glass-plate radiographs, diathermy machines, and “violet-ray” devices. The museum also includes a library containing some of the seminal literature of the field. The mission of the museum is to preserve this collection and to provide a venue for its exhibition. For additional information or to arrange a tour of the museum, please contact:  Dr. Daniel Bednarek bednarek@buffalo.edu or Ben Kutas bjkutas@roadrunner.com

Guests enjoy the post-program reception

Guests enjoy the post-program reception

For additional photos from the event go to

 https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152538853565962.1073741830.57130565961&type=1

 

 

 

 

 

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The Field Museum

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The Field Museum

The Field Museum

While in Chicago for the ALHHS Meeting, Keith and I had the opportunity to visit the Field Museum where we saw some wonderful sights including the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit, an impressive Egyptian collection and the Museum’s Pritzker Laboratory, an inter-departmental multi-user core facility dedicated to genetic analysis and preservation of the world’s biodiversity.  http://www.fieldmuseum.org/explore/department/pritzkerlab   The Field Museum, originally named the Columbian Museum of Chicago, was primarily an outgrowth of the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, and was intended to be “a great museum that shall be a fitting memorial of the World’s Columbian Exposition and a permanent advantage and honor to the city.” The Museum’s name changed in 1894 to the Field Columbian Museum and in 1905 it became the Field Museum of Natural History to honor Marshall Field, the Museum’s first major benefactor, and to emphasize its natural sciences collection in anthropology, botany, geology and zoology.  It’s a destination well worth experiencing when in Chicago!

http://www.fieldmuseum.org/about/timeline

http://www.fieldmuseum.org/about/brief-history

Does this remind you of anyone famous?

Remind you of anyone famous?

FIELD2

From the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition Exhibit

FIELD3

Pritzker Laboratory

 

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ALHHS Rocks!

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View from the 28th floor of the American College of Surgeons

View from the 28th floor of the American College of Surgeons

Keith and I, the denizens of the History of Medicine Collection, attended the 2014 meeting of the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS) in Chicago on May 7th and 8th.   On Wednesday we had the opportunity to visit the International Museum of Surgical Science on beautiful North Lake Shore Drive. (https://www.imss.org/)  There we enjoyed the wonderful exhibits and were treated to a demonstration of a leg “amputation”!  That evening we attended a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant and had the opportunity to network and catch up with members of the group. The meeting itself was held on the 28th floor of the Amercian College of Surgeons.  Thursday morning’s panel discussion, “Medical Archives, Medical Museums, and Medical Schools” consisted of four presentations addressing topics ranging from how historical collections can support medical school curriculum and health sciences research to digitally displaying wet specimens and the resurrection of a medical museum.  Following the panel were brief presentations by members on projects and exhibits in their collections.  The afternoon session included updates from NLM’s History of Medicine Division and the Medical Heritage Library.  The keynote speakers, Dr. Daniel Garrison and Dr. Malcolm Hast, are co-editors of The Fabric of the Human Body, an annotated translation of Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica, a landmark work in the field of anatomy.  It took more than twenty years to complete the translation.  As always the program provided a wealth of useful and interesting information that can be put to practical use.  Congratulations to everyone involved in making this meeting fun and informative!

IMAG0187

Nursing exhibit at the International Museum of Surgical Science

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A Game of Medicine

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Game of Medicine- Poisons

Game of Medicine- Poisons

Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?  Then this is one exhibit you won’t want to miss!

On display in the Health Sciences Library Reference area on the first floor, the exhibit revolves around the theme of historical medical practices within George RR Martin and HBO’s Game of Thrones world.  The four panels on Maesters, Diseases, Medicines, and Poisons bridge the gap between how medical personnel and medicines are used in this fictional world versus their actual use in history.The exhibit was curated by Eugenia Liu, Jackie Coffey Scott, Pat Melfi, and Jesse Bellini, all  Graduate Student Reference Assistants at the library who are enrolled in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Library and Information Studies.  This undertaking offered the students first-hand experience with the research, material selection and the installation of a sizeable exhibit,  a task that’s not always as simple as it appears.  With the assistance of several staff members Eugenia, Jackie, Pat and Jesse did a fantastic job of bringing these four topics in Game of Thrones to life!

 

 

King Joffrey  Courtesy of HBO

King Joffrey
Courtesy of HBO

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Serendipity Strikes Again!

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Movies and charitable institutions in Buffalo including the Erie County Home.

 A recent History of Medicine reference question about the Erie County Home and Hospital lead me to an unexpected and most interesting discovery. I found the term mentioned in an article in the December 21, 1923 issue of the Exhibitors Trade Review: The Business Paper of the Motion Picture Industry. This magazine was published from 1916 to 1926 under the editorship of W. Stephen Bush, a film critic and lecturer, and was targeted toward independent movie exhibitors all over the country and touched on all the issues that mattered to them including equipment and supplies, censorship, taxes, distributor contracts, piano accompaniment, and, most importantly, the films. (1)  Along with reviews of the movies suggestions were offered on how to creatively promote them in the community.  Included below are a few snippets from the Review that mention doctors, nurses and other health-related topics.  Enjoy!

 Linda

Doctors, nurses and public health officials judge "perfect babies" at a theater in Dallas.

Doctors, nurses and public health officials judge “perfect babies” at a theater in Dallas.

Doctors at the movies.

Doctors at the movies.

Emergency room at the Rialto Theater in New York!

Emergency room at the Rialto Theater in New York!

Shea's Buffalo offered a nursery staffed by professional nurses where parents could leave their children while they saw a movie!

Shea’s Buffalo offered a nursery staffed by professional nurses where parents could leave their children while they saw a movie!

1) http://lantern.mediahist.org/catalog/exhibitorstrade00new_0000

https://archive.org/details/exhibit00newy

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A View Inside: The Establishment and Contents of the UB Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics

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FRIENDS OF THE HEALTH SCIENCES LIBRARY PROGRAM ALERT!  On Thursday, May 29, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm, the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection will be hosting the Spring 2014 Friends of the Health Sciences Library Program. This year’s presentation will be in Abbott Hall, Room B15 and is entitled “A View Inside: The Establishment and Contents of the UB Museum of Radiology and Medical Physics”, given by UB faculty members Daniel Bednarek, PhD, Professor of Radiology and Benjamin Kutas, RT, Radiology Instructor Emeritus. The event will include a tour of the Radiology Museum, also located in Abbott Hall’s lower level (Room B20). Refreshments will be served in the Robert L. Brown Collection after the presentation and tour.  Come and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at a fascinating collection of items of historical significance to radiology and medical physics dating back as far as 1896.  For further information, please see the invitation below.  We hope to see  you on May 29th!

http://ubradiologymuseum.com/index

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Dr. David Hosack and the Elgin Botanical Gardens

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Dr. David Hosack Courtesy of NLM History of Medicine Images

Dr. David Hosack
Courtesy of NLM History of Medicine Images

Dr. David Hosack was born in 1769 in New York City.  Although he began studying the arts at Columbia College, now a branch of Columbia University, he also began studying medicine there during his first two years with Dr. Richard Bayley.  While studying under Bayley in early 1788 at New York Hospital, a mob formed outside, as the illicit obtainment of cadavers from graveyards left medical teaching scandalous and disliked. After a medical student taunted the crowd by waving the arm of one of the corpses out of a window, a riot ensued and Hosack, trying to protect the laboratory, was hit on the head with a heavy stone.  After this incident he transferred to Princeton College where he completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1789.  Subsequently Hosack returned to Columbia to continue his medical studies and gained clinical experience working at the New York City Alms House.  He then went on to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where he studied with, among others, the eminent Dr. Benjamin Rush with whom he actually lived. It was there that he received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1791. After practicing in New York for a time, Dr. Hosack traveled to Edingurgh and London to further enhance his professional knowledge, particularly in the subject of botany.  After returning to New York he was served as Professor of Botany and Materia Medica at Columbia College while maintaining a successful private practice. One of Dr. Hosack’s numerous claims to fame was the fact that he attended the dying Alexander Hamilton following his duel with Aaron Burr in 1804.  David Hosack died on December 22, 1835 as the result of a stroke, or apoplexy as it was then called.

In 1801 Dr. Hosack purchased just over 19 acres of land in the vicinity of today’s Rockefeller Center for $4,807 in order to create the Elgin Botanic Gardens which opened in 1804. The Gardens consisted of thousands of species of plants including “numerous plants which are here associated in scientific order, for the instruction of the student in Botany or Medicine.” (1)  The Gardens also contained one spacious green-house, two hot-houses and a pond for aquatic species.  Over the next decade he invested a sizeable sum of money to maintain and improve the Gardens and by 1810 the financial burden had become too great.  Dr. Hosack proposed to New York State that they purchase Elgin to benefit physicians and medical students throughout the state.  New York did purchase the land with funds to be raised by a lottery but paid the doctor $28,000 less than the appraised value.  The garden was placed in the hands of the Regents of the University (now known as SUNY Board of Regents), and was eventually abandoned, fell into decay and was later sold to raise funds for Columbia College.

References

(1) https://archive.org/details/2557029R.nlm.nih.gov

(2) Lives of Eminent American Physicians and Surgeons of the Nineteenth Century.  Samuel Gross, ed. 1861, 289-337. Written by Alex Eddy Hosack, MD, son of David Hosack

Botanic Garden of the  State of New-York (formerly Elgin Botanical Garden)  from  Brian Altonen, MPH, MS

Botanic Garden of the State of New-York (formerly Elgin Botanical Garden) from
Brian Altonen, MPH, MS

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