Osler Day 2017

Please join the library on this year’s Osler Day, Wednesday, November 1st, for a presentation of essays by the three finalists chosen as part of the Pam and Rolando Del Maestro William Osler Medical Students Essay Awards. The presentations will be held at 11:30 a.m in the Wellcome Camera of the Osler Library, McIntyre Medical Building3rd Floor. The winner will be announced at the Osler Banquet.

William Osler at His Desk at 1 West Franklin Street, Baltimore (Osler Library, Cushing Collection, CUS_046-025_P)

The following students will be presenting their research:

Philippe-Antoine Bilodeau – “A Tale of Two Brains: Cortical Localization and the Neuron Doctrine in the 19th and 20th Century” (Mentor: Professor Thomas Schlich)

Clare Fogarty – “Sanitation, Sanity, and (Moral) Suitability: The History of the Medical Inadmissibility of Immigrants into Canada (1840s-1950s)” (Mentor: Professor David Wright)

André Lametti – “Ars uero longa: Teaching Hippocrates in Medieval Italy” (Mentor: Professor Faith Wallis)

Faculty, students, and friends are all welcome to attend and show their support for this year’s finalists. Our special thanks to Pam and Rolando Del Maestro, the Medical Students’ Osler Society, and the Board of Curators of the Osler Library.

Vernissage for a new exhibition by 2016 Larose-Osler-Artist-in-Residence Dr. Lucy Lyons, Impossible Pathologies: Re-fragmenting the Archive

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 17:30-19:00. Please come to a vernissage at the Osler Library to celebrate the opening of our newest exhibit.

RSVP osler.library@mcgill.ca

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr. Lucy Lyons spent time in the Osler Library archives studying the illustrations made by the English physician and medical writer, Robert Hooper. Inspired by Hooper’s method of cutting out parts of his drawings like the analogue version of Photoshop, Lyons created her own fantastic collaged composites. This composite method was then transferred into studies of the collections in the Maude Abbott Medical Museum to create new, impossible pathologies. This exhibition is an exploration of the beauty of the fragment which is synonymous with pathology. If pathology is the fractured, broken, diseased, deformed fragment of the human body, this work explores the further fracturing, breaking and then re-assembling of parts.

Dr. Lucy Lyons received her PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. Her practice focuses on drawing within medical museums and working collaboratively to explore the beauty of collections. She is especially interested in the hidden, the overlooked, insignificant or in-between. This residency will allow her to push and explore her own practice and develop work in new ways whilst bringing new audiences to the collections.

The Michele Larose – Osler Library Artist-in-Residence award, is given annually to one or more deserving candidates with a degree in Studio Arts or a related field and/or a history of exhibiting artistic work in professional venues.

Exhibition | The Gendered Cultures of Beer and Cheese: the Regulation of Human and Microbial Bodies on the Home and Industrial Scales, 1616–2017

McIntyre Medical Building Osler Library of the History of Medicine, 3rd floor, 3655 promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, QC, H3G 1Y6, CA

Illustration showing what healthy and worn-out yeast cells look like when viewed through a microscope. Illustration from Pasteur’s Études sur la Bière (Studies on Beer), 1876.

Vernissage: Friday, September 29, 6–8 pm at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

Welcome to “The Gendered Cultures of Beer and Cheese: the Regulation of Human and Microbial Bodies on the Home and Industrial Scales.” This exhibition, comprised of medical texts, cookbooks, training manuals, and industry documents, showcases the ways in which advice about best fermentation practices has changed over time. As you visit the exhibition, we hope you will consider the following questions: How is the language employed around ideas of public health, food, and alcohol production gendered and classed? Are ideas about “what is safe” and “what is dangerous” regarding fermentation practices restricted to scientific understanding? To what degree are these ideas socially embedded concepts?

The materials for this exhibit come from McGill University’s Osler Library of the History of Medicine; Rare Books and Special Collections; the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering; the MacDonald Campus Library; the Blackader-Lauterman Collection of Architecture and Art; and the private collection of Alex Ketchum.

This exhibit has been made possible by the generous support of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine; the Institute of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; the Department of History and Classical Studies; the Department of English; and the Office of the Vice Principal’s Research and Innovation Grant.

We are pleased to offer this exhibit as part of this fall’s conference, “Leavening the Conversation: Food, Feminism, and Fermentation.” The event will be taking place on McGill’s campus from September 29 to October 1st. In addition to the above sponsors, the larger event is also sponsored by Le Réseau québécois en études féministes of L’Université du Québec à Montréal, Concordia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University’s Centre for Sensory Studies, and the University of Alabama’s Department of Gender and Race Studies.

For more information, please visit: foodfeminismfermentation.com

Curated by Alex Ketchum, PhD candidate, Department of History and Classical Studies

For Osler Library of the History of Medicine’s opening hours, please click here.

New exhibition on McGill student life

The Osler Library has installed a new mini-exhibition highlighting some items that shed life on past McGill Med student life. Textbooks, exams, photographs, and artefacts provide an important pictorial record of student life at McGill’s medical faculty and its teaching hospitals.


Ten photographs from the Isadore Hirshberg Fonds document the early career of an American medical student at McGill. Isadore Benjamin Hirshberg (1890-1965) was born in Bay City, Michigan, and began his medical studies at McGill in 1909 and graduated in 1914. In 1913 he trained at the Alexandra Hospital for Infectious Diseases when John McCrae was on staff and in 1914 interned at the Montreal General Hospital. During the First World War he served at the Canadian Explosives plant at Beloeil, Quebec, and was later among the founders of the Jewish General Hospital.

The artefacts on display include a reflex hammer, a glass syringe, and a doctor’s kit, as well as a blunt hook and perforator, two instruments used in childbirth emergencies.

Other ephemera show the administrative side of student life: items such as admission cards, invitation cards, and certificates document medical student William B. Malloch’s from 1863-1870.

Two examinations from 1865-66 show what 19th-century med students were expected to know. One question on the exam for “Theory and Practice of Medicine” asks, “Give the causes of Croup and of Laryngismus Stridulus, the means of distinguishing them from each other, and the treatment suitable to them.”


Our new display is located in the 3rd floor study space in the McIntyre Medical Building, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler, open from 9-5, Monday through Friday.

 

Getting started: William Osler Medical Students Essay Awards

Essay Awards season is upon us! We are currently accepting proposals for essays as part of the William Osler Medical Students Essay Awards, established by the Osler Library and the Osler Society of McGill and endowed by Pam and Rolando Del Maestro.

Here are a couple hints and links to get started in researching a potential topic:

The History of Medicine subject guide, Medical Sociology subject guide, Biomedical Ethics subject guide are librarian-curated guides to the fields, with links to catalogues, databases, image and digital text collections, and references sources like encyclopedias.

Do you have a general interest in a topic but aren’t sure where to go with it? Start by a simple search in the McGill Library catalogue to locate a book on the subject. Particularly if you’re interested in a more historical or humanities topic, books are still a key source of information. Instead of jumping immediately to journal literature, try skimming a book on your general topic (or look through the subject guide to find a relevant encyclopedia), and see what piques your interest.

Are you interested in working with historical materials at the library? Get inspired by one of our numerous collections:

Anatomical atlases (potential sources for projects related to history of anatomy, surgery and its specializations, medical illustration, history of the body, history of medical education)

Paris Medical Theses Collection (a massive collection, for readers of French, covering many different medical topics from 1786-1920s)

Osler Artefacts (a rich collection of historical medical artifacts. See another example from our blog here)

Wilder Penfield Fonds (an archival collection, partially digitized, about the history of neurosurgery and the Montreal Neurological Institute)

Almanac Collection (ephemeral or informal publications like pamphlets that are filled with health and home tips and pharmaceutical advertising,19th and early 20th centuries)

Sir William Osler Collection (a collection of books, notebooks, letters, lectures, photographs, and many more archival records of the great physician himself)

Find more rare books and pamphlets by searching in the McGill Library Classic Catalogue. This catalogue only contains print holdings (no e-books or articles) and you can use it to narrow down your search only to materials in the Osler Library: Click the “Sub-catalogues” tab, then click “Osler Library of the History of Medicine” under the Library and Collections category.

Discover archival materials by searching in our Archives Database. You can search by a keyword in the description or browse by subject. Popular subjects include McGill medical student life through history, Montreal doctors, and WWI medical history. Additional archival materials about McGill can be found at the central Archives.


Proposals are due May 24th! Please don’t hesitate to contact the library at osler.library@mcgill.ca if you’d like to make an appointment to view materials or meet with a librarian.

 

Montreal and the History of Vaccination Debates at the Osler Library

La version française suit

“The recent smallpox epidemic in Montreal – vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway,” by Marvin James, photo-mechanical reproduction of a wood engraving (1885). Osler Library Prints Collection, OPF000001.

Montreal 375 gives us the opportunity to reflect on the parcours of our city, to explore its past, and to bring this history into dialogue with our present. Our current exhibit at the Osler Library not only highlights the richness of our collections, but also brings them into contemporary conversations in a very Oslerian way. Sir William Osler collected his monumental library of the history of medicine not simply for the intellectual content or the beauty of the books and objects, but because he believed that we live with the past everyday: “the past,” Osler writes in his famous speech, Aequanimitas, “is always with us; never to be escaped; it alone is enduring.”

Our newest exhibition, “Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998,” engages with local examples of historical vaccine controversies in an attempt to understand the enduring fear and hesitancy surrounding vaccination. Curators Dr. Rob Boddice of the Freie Universitat Berlin and Cynthia Tang, PhD candidate in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine/Department of History and Classical Studies, showcase the arguments made by pro- and anti-vaccinationists during the 200 years following Edward Jenner’s invention of vaccination.

Stipple engraving of Edward Jenner by Mackenzie (London: T. Hurst, 1802). Osler Library Prints Collection, OP000643.

In 1798, Jenner, an English country physician, published the results of his experimental use of matter from cowpox pustules to inoculate patients against smallpox, which has long been endemic to industrialized cities like Montreal. This procedure, which Jenner named vaccination, was swiftly implemented as a standard public health measure and vials of vaccine were shipped and carried worldwide. However, vaccination’s benefits and promises were attended by controversy from its earliest days. Already at the beginning of the 19th century, popular pamphlets and images stoked public anxieties about the introduction of animal material and disease agents into the body. Even after the World Health Organization proclaimed smallpox eradicated in 1980, the debates surrounding vaccination that began in the 19th century have persisted in our public discourse.

Glass capillary tube containing smallpox vaccine (Toronto, ca. 1939). Canada Science and Technology Museum, Medical Technology, art. no. 2002.0101.

A public panel presentation connected to the exhibition invited McGill and Montreal community members to think about how we understand such past examples of vaccine hesitancy and connect them to modern concerns and mythologies around vaccination. The two co-curators were joined by scholars Professor Andrea Kitta (East Carolina University), a folklorist specializing in medicine, belief and the supernatural, with a particular focus on vaccination, and late Dr. Mark Wainberg (McGill University), director of the McGill University AIDS Centre at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, and outspoken critic of anti-vaccination rhetoric. The evening’s panel providing a wide-ranging and multidisciplinary perspective. More evidence as to the cross-institutional partnerships developed for this exhibition and the event is the blog post, “Hope and Fear in a Glass Capillary: Connecting over the History of Medicine with the Osler Library,” written by curator Cynthia Tang for the Canada Science and Technology Museum blog. In it, she explores a single artifact: a glass capillary tube containing smallpox vaccine manufactured Toronto circa 1939, and all of the hopes and fears contained within.

We are pleased to announce that this exhibition’s run has been extended through the summer! All are welcome to come view the exhibition during library opening hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00-5:00) in the Osler Library, 3rd floor, McIntyre Medical Building, 3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler.


Montréal et l’histoire des débats sur la vaccination à la bibliothèque Osler

« L’épidémie récente de variole à Montréal — la vaccination des passagers américains dans un train du Grand Trunk Railway », par Marvin James, reproduction photomécanique d’une gravure sur bois (1885). Collection d’images de la bibliothèque Osler, OPF000001.

Le 375e anniversaire de Montréal nous donne l’occasion de nous replonger dans le parcours de notre ville, d’explorer son passé et d’en discuter dans le contexte actuel. En plus de mettre en évidence la richesse de nos collections, la nouvelle exposition présentée à la bibliothèque Osler permet d’engager des conversations les concernant à la manière d’Osler lui-même. Sir William Osler a construit cette riche bibliothèque sur l’histoire de la médecine, non seulement pour l’héritage intellectuel ou la beauté des livres et des objets qui s’y trouvent, mais aussi parce qu’il croyait que le passé fait partie de notre vie de tous les jours. « [traduction] Le passé, écrivait Osler dans son célèbre discours, Aequanimitas, fait toujours partie de nous et nous ne pouvons y échapper; c’est le seul qui résiste à l’épreuve du temps. »

Notre nouvelle exposition, « Vaccination : Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998 », offre des exemples de controverses autour de la vaccination, qui faisaient rage dans la région à l’époque, en vue de permettre aux visiteurs de comprendre la peur et l’hésitation qui régnaient à son égard. Les conservateurs Rob Boddice de la Freie Universitat de Berlin et Cynthia Tang, candidate au doctorat au département des Sciences sociales en médecine et au département de l’Histoire et études classiques, présentent le raisonnement des personnes qui étaient en faveur de la vaccination et de celles qui s’y opposaient au cours des 200 ans qui ont suivi la découverte de la vaccination par Edward Jenner.

Portrait d’Edward Jenner par gravure au pointillé réalisé par Mackenzie (Londres : T. Hurst, 1802). Collection d’images de la bibliothèque Osler, OP000643.

En 1798, Jenner, un médecin d’Angleterre qui pratiquait en région rurale, a publié les résultats de ses expériences sur l’utilisation de matières extraites de pustules contenant le virus de la vaccine pour inoculer les patients contre la variole, qui a longtemps été endémique dans les villes industrialisées comme Montréal. Cette méthode, que Jenner a nommée vaccination, a été rapidement adoptée et généralisée comme mesure de santé publique, et des fioles de vaccin antivariolique ont été expédiées et distribuées dans le monde entier. Toutefois, les avantages et les résultats prometteurs de la vaccination ont dès le début fait l’objet d’une controverse. Déjà, au début du 19e siècle, la publication de brochures et d’images suscitait dans la population des inquiétudes liées à l’introduction de matière animale et d’agents pathogènes dans le corps. Même après l’annonce de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé en 1980, selon laquelle la variole avait été éradiquée, les débats publics amorcés au 19e siècle autour de la vaccination se sont poursuivis.

Tube capillaire contenant le vaccin antivariolique (Toronto, vers 1939). Technologie médicale, Musée des sciences et de la technologie du Canada, nº d’artefact : 2002.0101.

Dans le cadre de l’exposition, une présentation publique a été dirigée par un groupe d’experts à laquelle ont été conviés les membres de la collectivité de McGill et de Montréal. Cette initiative a porté les participants à réfléchir sur ces exemples passés de l’hésitation autour de la vaccination et à faire le lien avec les préoccupations et mythes sur la vaccination qui perdurent encore aujourd’hui. Les deux conservateurs étaient accompagnés des chercheurs Andrea Kitta (East Carolina University), une folkloriste spécialiste de la médecine, des croyances et du surnaturel, qui s’intéresse particulièrement à la vaccination, et feu Mark Wainberg  (Université McGill), directeur du Centre universitaire sur le SIDA de l’Université McGill à l’Hôpital général juif de Montréal et critique de la rhétorique anti-vaccin. La présentation tenue en soirée a permis de dégager une perspective générale et multidisciplinaire. Le billet de blogue « Hope and Fear in a Glass Capillary: Connecting over the History of Medicine with the Osler Library » ([traduction] Espoir et peur dans une fiole de verre — Retracer l’histoire de la vaccination en compagnie de la Bibliothèque Osler), publié par la conservatrice Cynthia Tang pour le Musée des sciences et de la technologie du Canada, témoigne des partenariats interorganisationnels établis pour l’exposition et l’événement. Son bloque porte sur un seul objet : une fiole de verre contenant le vaccin contre la variole fabriqué à Toronto vers 1939, et tous les espoirs et les peurs qu’elle suscitait.

Nous sommes heureux d’annoncer que cette exposition se poursuivra durant l’été! Vous êtes tous invités à venir voir l’exposition durant les heures d’ouverture (du lundi au vendredi de 9 h à 17 h) à la bibliothèque Osler, 3e étage de l’édifice McIntyre Medical Sciences, 3655, promenade Sir-William-Osler.

 

Rare Books Restored In Honour of Christopher Lyons

Christoper Lyons (right) accepting two rare books restored in his honour from Board of Curators member and William Feindel Professor Emeritus, Dr. Rolando Del Maestro.

As a surprise precursor to Dr. Rolando Del Maestro’s neuro-oncology talk last week, Osler Librarian Christopher Lyons was presented with two rare books, recently restored in his honour, in recognition of his excellent stewardship of the Osler Library from 2012-2016.

 

The staff at the Osler Library, the Osler Board of Curators, and the McGill Osler Society, wish Chris the very best in his new appointment as Head of Rare Books & Special Collections at McGill – another unit of McGill ROAAr (Rare Books, Osler, Art, and Archives).

 

Congratulations, Chris!

 

Medical Anatomy : or, Illustrations of the Relative Position and Movements of the Internal Organs | Francis Sibson | London : John Churchill & Sons, 1869 | 4 leaves, 88 columns, XXI leaves of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 53cm

Ornate W.O. inscription to Christopher Lyons.

The restoration work was completed by Montreal conservator Terry Rutherford. In addition to work on the spines, leaves, and colour plates, both of these books are now housed in custom clamshell archival boxes, with an ornate ‘W.O.’ inscription to Christopher Lyons.

The Sibson atlas (above) has prize binding, with gilt lettering, from 1872 when it was awarded to McGill medical student Francis John Shepherd for the best primary examination for M.D.C.M. degree. Shepherd (1851-1929) is known as one of McGill’s ‘Medical Luminaries’, a highly-regarded anatomist, surgeon, dermatologist, and Dean of the McGill Medical Faculty from 1908-1914. Shepherd was also a prominent Canadian art historian and critic, who served as President of the Montreal Art Association (predecessor of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts).

This presentation copy of Sir William Osler’s The Principles and Practice of Medicine (below) once belonged to Dr. Thomas McCrae (1870-1935), brother of “In Flanders Fields” author John McCrae (1872-1918). Dr. T. McCrae was a close friend and colleague of William Osler at John Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore.

The Principles and Practice of Medicine: Designed for the Use of Practitioners and Students of Medicine | William Osler | New York : D. Appleton and Company, 1905 | xvii, [1], 1143, [1] pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm

Interested in rare book restoration and conservation in honour of someone you know? Want to learn more about the Osler Library’s “Adopt-a-Book” Programme? Email osler.library@mcgill.ca for more information.

Illustrated Talk: A History of Neuro-Oncology & Canadian Savoir Faire

You’re invited! Please join us Thursday March 30th, 4:30pm for an illustrated talk by Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, MD, PhD, William Feindel Emeritus Professor in Neuro-Oncology, Director of McGill Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre.

This talk encourages discussion surrounding ideas and individuals that have shaped the world of neuro-oncology, while placing emphasis on Canadian neuro-oncology research. Guests are encouraged to prepare a ‘Canadian Neuro-Oncology Minute’ that highlights an individual’s contributions to historical and/or current advancements in Canada. The most compelling of these ‘verbal minutes’ will receive an autographed copy of Dr. Rolando Del Maestro’s book A History of Neuro-Oncology (2008).

Who would you choose to highlight for a ‘Canadian Neuro-Oncology Minute’?

Gord Downie performing live at Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario in 2001. Photo by Ryan Merkley. Retrieved from WikiMedia Commons.

 

Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip.

The beloved singer, songwriter, poet, and all-round cultural Canadian icon was recently diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. His public diagnosis and tremendous courage has helped raise awareness about neuro-health in Canada.

 

 

For information regarding the work and research happening at the McGill University Neurosurgical Simulation Research Center, follow this link.

Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy

Want to see what happens when two historians, a folklorist, and virologist come together to discuss vaccination? Please join us for Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy, a multidisciplinary discussion panel hosted by the Osler Library for the History of Medicine.

Monday, February 20th, 5:30-7:30PM
3rd Floor McIntyre Medical Building
3655 Promenade Sir-William-Osler
Image of "vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway," by James Marvin, 1885.

“The recent smallpox epidemic in Montreal – vaccinating American-bound passengers on a train of the Grand Trunk Railway,” James Marvin, 1885. Osler Library Prints Collection.

The panel will include:

“Bestiality in a Time of Smallpox: Dr. Jenner and the Modern Chimera,” Rob Boddice, PhD FRHistS (Freie Universität Berlin), Historian of Medicine, Science and Emotions

‘The grease taken from the heels of horses: Collective Memory and Collective Silencing in the History of Vaccination Controversy,” Cynthia Tang, MSc MA (McGill University), PhD student in the History of Medicine

“Vaccination: Legend, Rumour, and Alternative Facts Throughout History,”
Andrea Kitta, PhD (East Carolina University), Folklorist specializing in medicine, belief and the supernatural

“Should vaccination against measles and other infectious agents if proven safe be compulsory?,”
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University), Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

This panel is being held in promotion of the Osler Library’s current exhibition, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, to explore some of the historical and contemporary cases of resistance to vaccination. Vaccination and Its Discontents: Historical and Contemporary Reflections on Vaccination and Vaccine Hesitancy will aim at analysing the character of the fears and doubts of anti-vaccinists, and the successes and failures of vaccination’s proponents in addressing the concerns of their opponents. The contemporary rhetoric surrounding vaccination is implicitly connected to, and draws upon, two centuries of rehearsal. Recognising the essential structure of anti-vaccinist arguments in particular may provide new ways to address them. The panel works towards novel approaches to vaccination controversies, opening up new possibilities for contending with vaccine hesitancy in our own times.

 

Please join us in this discussion, followed by a wine & cheese reception.

 

Relevant reading: 
Andrea Kitta and Daniel Goldberg, “The Significance of Folklore for Vaccine Policy: Discarding the Deficit Model,” Critical Public Health (2016).
Rob Boddice, “Vaccination, Fear and Historical Relevance,” History Compass (2016).
Mark Wainberg, PhD OC OQ FRSC (McGill University) Director of the McGill University AIDS Centre

The exhibit, Vaccination: Fame, Fear and Controversy, 1798-1998, is open to the public during library hours, Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 and runs through the end of April 2017.

Both the exhibit and the speaker panel are co-sponsored by the McGill Faculty of Medicine and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Illustrated Talk: The Maude Abbott Medical Museum 1822-2017

You’re invited! Please join us next Tuesday February 14th, 4pm for an illustrated talk by Dr. Richard Fraser, Professor of Pathology at McGill Faculty of Medicine, Senior Pathologist at MUHC, Director of the Maude Abbott Medical Museum.

Learn about the repository’s treasured history at McGill and observe a carefully curated selection of specimens and preserved curiosities from this unique collection!