Vernissage for new exhibition, Vaccination: Fear, Fame and Controversy, 1798-1998

Since its earliest days, vaccination has been attended by hesitation, resistance and controversy. Why did an innovation that promised to rid the world of the terrible scourge of smallpox inspire such enduring fear? When Jenner spearheaded the promotion of vaccination at the turn of the nineteenth century, he predicted the end of a disease that had taken 60 million lives in the eighteenth century alone. He was right, but it took until 1980 before the World Health Organization could proclaim “smallpox zero”. This exhibition explores the tension between the promised public-health benefits of vaccination and the reasons why resistance checked its acceptance. It seeks to understand the origins of vaccine hesitancy through various cases, both local and global, and demonstrates the legacy of those cases in contemporary vaccination debates. vffcredhighres

Please join us for a vernissage with wine and cheese for this exhibition, Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, at the Osler Library, 4:30-6:30PM.

ROAAr: Rare Books, Osler, Art, and Archives

 

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-3-05-51-pmMcGill’s new amalgam of Rare Books & Special Collections, Osler Library, Visual Art Collection, and the University Archives (collectively known as ROAAr) launched their first issue of a new newsletter series this December.

Published quarterly (Spring 2017 next), the ROAAr newsletter features four articles that showcase and discuss unique treasures of each rare unit.

Anyone who is interested in joining the ROAAr newsletter mailing list is encouraged to email info.library@mcgill.ca.

History is on every shelf at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine. Located on the third floor of McGill’s McIntyre Medical Building, the Osler houses Canada’s finest treasure trove of rare medical books, artifacts and archives. What began as a home for Sir William Osler’s personal library of 8,000 rare and historic works has grown to more than 100,000 titles that trace the beginnings of medicine in Canada and abroad to the present day.

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Snapshots of Osler at the bedside: Inspection, Palpation, Auscultation, Contemplation, c. 1895, Osler Library Photo Collection.

These rare collections have made the Osler a premier destination for students, researchers and bibliophiles from across Canada and around the world. This fall, the Osler played host to a visiting group from the Grolier Club – the oldest existing bibliophilic club in North America. Osler Librarian Chris Lyons led the distinguished guests on a tour through silent sanctuaries in the Wellcome Camera and the Osler Room, and gave them a hands-on look at many of the unique medical and historical gems within the Osler collection, such as a 1698 first edition of William Cowper’s Anatomy of Humane Bodies.

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The Grolier Club visits the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, 2016. Photo credit: Lauren Goldman

Capping off their trip, the eager Grolier Club members were treated to guided tours and presentations by the three other units under the McGill Library’s new ROAAr (Rare Books & Special Collections, Osler, Art, and Archives) umbrella.

To the delight of the guests, the Head of Rare Books Richard Virr showcased some of the Library’s oldest and most unique treasures, University Archivist Lori Podolsky helped them delve deep into McGill’s nearly 200-year history, and Coordinator Vanessa Di Francesco displayed many of the stunning works within the Visual Arts Collection. As they departed after their multi-day visit, the Grolier Club members were unanimous in their appreciation for their hosts, a testament to the treasures in the Osler collection and the combined and collaborative strength of ROAAr as a whole. The experience provided a fantastic model for hosting future visitors.

It was a busy autumn for Osler visits and curated exhibits – both within the library’s own gallery space and around Montreal. Our “pop-up” exhibitions this fall included 200 Years of the Stethoscope, celebrating two centuries of auscultation at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress (CCC), History of MS at the Montreal Neurological Institute’s annual MS Xchange, and in October, it was our pleasure to welcome two history classes from Marianopolis College (CEGEP) for a total of four visits – a powerful pedagogical experience for all.

For those discovering the Osler Library of the History of Medicine for the first time, we invite you to explore our online resources and website for more information. Contact or visit us anytime – there is much to be discovered!

Surgical Anatomy Exam, 1874

Ever wondered what a medical exam from 1874 would look like? Here’s an original copy of The Royal College of Surgeons 1874 final exam on “Surgical Anatomy and the Principles and Practice of Surgery”. Students were allocated three hours to answer 4 out of 6 questions. How do you think you would fare? Would you get top marks on this? Comments are welcome.

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Royal Colllege of Surgeons of England 1874 examination. Part of Osler Library’s Faculty of Medicine Scrapbook Collection.

Research Awards & Travel Grants 2017

Are you a historian, physician, graduate or post-doctoral student interested in conducting research at the Osler Library? Do you know that the Osler Library gives out awards and travel grants to local and international researchers each year? We are currently accepting applications for the following:

  • Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant – Awarded to those whose project requires traveling to Montreal to consult material in the Osler Library. Each year up to $4000 in awards will be made available to one or more individuals who require a minimum of 2 weeks to carry out their research. This research must fall within the calendar year in which the grant is awarded. Applications for the 2017 grant must be received by December 31, 2016.
  • Mary Louise Nickerson Award in Neuro History – Awarded to one or more scholars who are interested in carrying out research utilizing the Neuro History Archival and Artifact Collections – the centre-piece of which is the Penfield Archive in the Osler Library – and other available resources at the Osler Library, the Montreal Neurological Institute, and the McGill University Archives. Applications for the 2017 award must be received by December 31, 2016.

picmonkey-collageAdditional information on terms, requirements, how to apply, previous winners, and general information about the library can be found here. We welcome all further enquiries at osler.library@mcgill.ca or 514-398-4475, ext. 09873.

Feel free to share this notice with your own networks, listservs, and social media outlets to help us spread the word about these fantastic opportunities!

Remembrance: Our Girls in Wartime & Our Hospital ABC

pic_2016-07-19_172107On November 11th, we remember.

We remember as a nation, all the brave men and women who left their beloved homes and chose to fight for our peace, and our freedoms.

We commemorate this Remembrance Day with two World War I children’s books in our collection by Hampden Gordon & M. C. Tindall (verses), Joyce Dennys (illustrations) and invite you to come see them in our reading room:

  • Our Hospital Anzac British Canadian published ca. 1916
  • Our Girls in Wartime published ca. 1917.

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Our Hospital ABC. Gordon, Hampden, Tindall, M. C.; Dennys, Joyce (illus.). London: John Lane the Bodley Head, n.d. [ca. 1916]

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Out Girls in Wartime. Gordon, Hampden; Dennys, Joyce (illus.). London: John Lane The Bodley Head, n.d. [ca. 1917]

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Homecoming

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McGill Faculty of Medicine reunion programme and pin from October 8, 1926 with songbook inside. Part of the Osler Library Archive Collections.

Events, talks, and tours are happening all weekend long from October 27-30 at the Faulty of Medicine in celebration of McGill Homecoming 2016.

This year’s reunion welcomes milestone anniversaries for MDCM graduate years ending in 1 and 6.

Full events listing for alumni can be found here, and further information here.

Open Doors at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine (free event) is happening Friday 1:30-2:30pm, and Open Doors at the Maude Abbott Medical Museum (free event) is Friday 3:00-5:00pm. Rediscover the library’s treasure trove of rarebooks and medical atlases, and also take in one of the best historical collections of anatomical and pathological materials in North America.

Wishing the alumni an enjoyable and memory-filled weekend as they journey back to their McGill roots!

Osler Day 2016

Osler Library Board of Curators' medal

Osler Library Board of Curators’ medal

Come join us this Wednesday, October 26th for Osler Day 2016!

The Pam and Rolando Del Maestro William Osler Medical Students Essay Contest has selected three  finalists who will each have the opportunity to present before the judges panel from 11:30-1:00pm in the Jonathan C. Meakins Auditorium, McIntyre Medical Building 5th Floor, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler.

The 2016 finalists are:

“Being placed at the Douglas Mental Health Institute for the family medicine shadowing program in first year was quite the adventure for me. Over time, I became increasingly interested in the history of mental health institutions like the Douglas, mental health care policies and more broadly, the history of psychiatry as a medical field.”

 

“As medical students, we are exposed to plenty of dogmas. Yet, medical dogma, like everything else in the world is susceptible to error. In accepting this, I sought to elucidate the origins of the formerly accepted belief that newborns did not feel pain”

Faculty, students, and friends are all welcome to attend and show their support for this year’s finalists. More details about the contest can be found here. Our special thanks to the Medical Students’ Osler Society, the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and Pam and Rolando Del Maestro for their continued dedication with this celebrated annual event.

julio-biv__03_2In the evening, at 6:00pm in the Charles F. Martin Amphitheatre, the 39th Annual Osler Lectureship welcomes distinguished guest lecturer Dr. Julio SG Montaner, OC, OBC, MD, DSc (hon), FRCPC, FCCP, FACP, FRSC.

Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Healthcare; Professor and Head, UBC-Division of AIDS, UBC and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation Chair in AIDS Research; UNAIDS Special Advisor on HIV Therapeutics.

Dr. Montaner played a key role in establishing the efficacy of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and since then has established the role of ‘Treatment as Prevention’ using HAART to simultaneously decrease progression to AIDS and death, as well as HIV transmission.

From Treatment to Prevention: Rethinking our Approach to Contagious Diseases

In 1996, medical researchers in British Columbia discovered that combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) significantly improved the quality and length of the lives of patients with HIV/AIDS, but only after the province began providing cART for free did researchers discover something equally profound: cART also prevented HIV transmission. This talk examines the journey from treatment to prevention and the implications for how we fight contagious diseases at local and global levels.

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A Collaborative Exhibit for the Chinese Premier

Last month it was our pleasure to work in collaboration with McCord Museum and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) on a private exhibition for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Montreal. The combined curatorial effort resulted in a showcase of items with strong historical ties and cultural connections between Québec and China. The exhibit included maps, photographs, books, posters, and artifacts, with a particular emphasis on the great physician Norman Bethune — a McGill graduate and well-known Canadian hero in the People’s Republic of China.

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (centre) views the exhibit with Osler Librarian Chris Lyons (front left) and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard (back). The Globe and Mail, Saturday Sepetember 24, 2016. Photo credit: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press.

We welcome and look forward to more collaborative exhibits like this one in the future!

Alibert & Early French Dermatology

Clinique de L’Hopital Saint-Louis, de Traite Complet Des Maladies de la Peau, 1833. Unfortunately some evidence of water damage is visible, possibly from the 1907 fire.

 

France’s first dermatologist, Jean-Louis Alibert (1768-1837), was professor and chief-surgeon at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris. His medical achievements and reputation as a great teacher of hospital clinics put him in the company of other influential nineteenth century physicians, collectively known as the Paris School.

Osler Library’s rare book collection houses approximately a dozen titles of Alibert’s prolific work, including three copies of his second atlas entitled Clinique de L’Hôpital Saint-Louis, de Traite Complet Des Maladies de la Peau – two 1833 French copies, and an 1835 Italian translation. The atlas is an impressive work from both a medical and an artistic standpoint. It includes 63 hand coloured plates, including the botanically-inspired “Arbe des Dermatoses” (“Tree of Dermatology”).

“Arbre des Dermatoses” (“Tree of Dermatosis”) shows Alibert’s method to visually classify common skin diseases and disorders with twelve main branches, each representing a class of dermatosis.

Similar to other areas of science, medical research and the practice of medicine experienced rapid progression after the French Revolution (1789-1799). Newly implemented ideological and institutional reforms allowed physicians to focus on the greater health of the whole community, allowing for the opening of clinics for the general public. It was the dawning of the “medical gaze a term coined by Michel Foucault in his 1963 book The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception.

Alibert’s clinical lessons became well-known and attracted students and physicians alike to l’Hôpital Saint-Louis. Over the course of his career, Alibert was able to make important contributions to descriptions including lupus vulgaris, keloid, dermatolysis, mycosis fungoides, and cutaneous leishmaniasisis. He is also credited with several first descriptions – among them Mycosis fungoides (shown below). This book and others by Alibert are available to view in the Osler Library’s pre-1840 room during regular opening hours.

Science Literacy Week

sci-lit-week-1200McGill campus is gearing up for Science Literacy Week 2016, happening all through next week September 19-25th. The Osler Library will host a special guided tour of Knowing Blood: Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings with curators Darren N. Wagner and Nick Whitfield on Monday, Septemebr 19th @ 11:30am. Registration is not required, but feel free to sign up to let us know you are coming.

For more details and a full listing of next week’s events click here!