Epistolary Etiquette

Crafting a quality handwritten letter is an art form – especially nowadays when we so rarely take the time to put ink to paper, attach a stamp, and send our social messages by post. This week in the archives we came across some excellent examples of nineteenth century ‘crossed’ letters, in among new additions to the John Bell fonds.

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Crossed letter, 1876.

The technique of crossing perpendicular lines (also referred to as cross-hatched) was a popular method to save on paper and postage costs back in the day.

Michèle LaRose – Osler Library Artist-in-Residence Programme

We are now accepting submissions for the Michèle LaRose – Osler Library                  Artist-in-Residence Programme!  Application details found here.

Value: $6000

Application deadline: June 1, 2016

Colour mezzotint illustration from Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, by Gautier Dagoty, 1759

Colour mezzotint illustration from Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty, 1759

 

Saskatchewan doctors’ strike, 1962

This piece of Canadian Medicare history was recently added to the Osler Library Archive Collections as part of our Joseph Stratford fonds. At the time, Joseph Stratford was Professor of Surgery and Director of Neurosurgery at the University Hospital of Saskatoon.

Window sign from the Saskatchewan doctors' strike, 1962.

Window sign from the Saskatchewan doctors’ strike, 1962.

In the summer of 1962, Saskatchewan medical doctors exercised labour action in an attempt to thwart the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation’s plans to implement the province’s universal medical insurance program. The strike began on July 1, 1962, day one of the Saskatchewan Medical Care Insurance Act, and ended twenty-three days later on July 23, 1962.

Though the strike was a failure, it did significantly test the strength of the new program. Over the next ten years, the program’s ensuing popularity allowed the Saskatchewan Medicare model to be adopted by every province in Canada.

Bodi-Tone: The road to excellent health?

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Bodi-Tone promotional pamphlet, 1912.

Original marketing materials from the “cure-all” Bodi-Tone Company are now available to view upon request in the Osler archives. This mail-order medicine was available in the USA and Canada during the early twentieth century. It promised restorative health and well-being to anyone – men, women, and children of all ages – suffering from minor ailments to serious diseases.

If the testimonials are to be believed, Bodi-Tone had the power to cure fatigue of the elderly, pain and inflammation of Rheumatism, liver complications, and Malaria to name but a few!

A box of Bodi-Tone tablets would set you back $1.00 in 1912 (or five boxes for $4.00). Read what “cured” customers had to say about the product by clicking on the images to enlarge.

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Bodi-Tone promotional pamphlet, 1912.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Bodi-Tone was also advertised as a preventative treatment.

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Bodi-Tone Company letterhead, 1912.

Osler Society Medical Students’ Essay Contest Open!

Osler Library Board of Curators' medal

Osler Library Board of Curators’ medal

Medical students at McGill are invited to explore the historical, social, ethical, and humanistic side of their field thanks to an essay contest established by the Medical Students’ Osler Society and the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and endowed through a generous gift by Pam and Rolando Del Maestro.

The essay contest gives undergraduate medical students the opportunity to explore any theme of interest to them in the history, social studies, sociology, ethics, and humanities of the health sciences. It also provides them with the chance to be mentored by an expert in their topic drawn from the Library’s Board of Curators or elsewhere to complete their project, and to use the rich resources of the Osler Library and other libraries at McGill.

Medical students have found that the contest has allowed them to broaden their understanding of medicine in ways that go far beyond the curriculum.

Initial proposals are due May 2nd! For more information see https://www.mcgill.ca/library/branches/osler/essay-contest.

Robert Palmer Howard (1912-1990) fonds

The library is in the process of adding a new Robert Palmer Howard (1912-1990) fonds to the archives.  This will mark the most recent update to our Howard family collection, which already includes archival materials on Howard’s grandfather and namesake, Robert Palmer Howard (1823-1889), as well as his father, Campbell Palmer Howard (1877-1936).

Max Brödel, "The Saint", 1896

Max Brödel, “The Saint”, 1896. Artwork depicts William Osler’s head on an angel’s body over John Hopkin’s Hospital.

The new fonds consists of materials acquired and accumulated by Robert Palmer Howard including written correspondences between his father and close family friends such as Sir William Osler, Lady Grace Osler, and the Wright family.  Also included are Osler family portraits, photographs of Osler at work, as well as a few drawings and sketches by Edward Revere (Osler’s son) and Max Brödel (the prominent medical illustrator who worked at John Hopkins School of Medicine).

After receiving his medical degree from McGill University in 1932, R. P. Howard spent most of his career as a physician and researcher at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, affiliated with the University of Oklahoma.  He maintained a particular interest in the history of medicine throughout his career and later became the director of University of Oklahoma’s History of Medicine Program.  Upon retirement, he moved to Iowa City, IA to become Director of the History of Medicine Society at the University of Iowa.

As a medical historian and Oslerian, R. P. Howard held on to booklets, case studies, and pages of handwritten medical notes belonging to Sir William Osler, some of which are included in the new fonds.

"Microscopial Examination", William Osler medical notes, 1875-1878

A page from William Osler’s medical notes, “Microscopical Examination”,  1875.

R. P. Howard was also the author of The Chief: Doctor William Osler published by Science History Publications in 1983.  The bibliographical work provides a detailed account of the close relationships and correspondences between the Osler and Howard families.  Visit the catalogue for more information on this regular loan item.

A special thank you to Caroline Howard Mast, daughter of Robert Palmer Howard, for generously donating the contents of this fonds to the Osler Library.

Blood of the Vampire at the Osler Library

 

Poster Vampire

Please join us for a film screening Tuesday, March 8th, of the almost-cult classic BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1958), held in conjunction with our latest exhibition, Knowing Blood: Medical Observations, Fluid Meanings.

From Wikipedia:

Transylvania in the 19th century. A young doctor John Pierre (Vincent Ball) and his fiancee Madeleine Duval (Barbara Shelley) are terrorized by Dr. Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) who was executed but has returned to life with a heart transplant. Along with his mute and hunchback assistant Carl (Victor Maddern), who is now fallen in love with Madeleine, the ‘anemic’ mad scientist, believed to be a vampire, conducts blood deficiency research on the inmates of a prison hospital for the criminally insane to sustain his return to life.

 

Health Art Exhibition: accepting submissions

“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.” – Hippocrates

pastedImageHealth and illness are universal experiences that can be frightening and disorienting, yet also have the potential to inspire, transform, and heal. Out of this, there arises a need to express, make sense of, and derive personal meaning from what has been experienced. One of these ways is through art.

Artwork is currently being accepted for the Health Art Exhibition, which will be taking place  winter 2016 at the MUHC Glen site hospital, with specific dates to be announced! To submit artwork for the exhibit: https://goo.gl/e6cE9C

Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 5, 2016. 

For questions and further details, please contact 2015health.art@gmail.com.

https://healthartexhibition.wordpress.com/