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!

Dissection Room Records 1883-1908

Inscription on first page of Dissection Room Record 1883-1891 written by Dr. Richard Lea MacDonnell, Demonstrator of Anatomy, McGill University in April 1883.

We are pleased to have these historical records back at the Osler Library after receiving recent conservation treatment. These books contain records of all McGill Faculty of Medicine dissection cadavers in the Department of Anatomy from 1883-1891, and 1896-1908.

When the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada’s Anatomy Act of 1843 was amended in April 1883, Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy Dr. Richard Lea MacDonnell began keeping these detailed records at McGill. Prior to the Anatomy Act, body-snatching was a nefarious problem often associated with the study of anatomy. The 1843 and 1883 Acts allowed for more corpses to be made available to medical schools for the purpose of teaching and learning. The records preserved within these books provide details and evidence of the Department of Anatomy’s legally acquired cadavers at the time. Each entry includes details such as name, sex, age, cause of death, religion, date received, which hospital the cadaver was received from, and the date and location of burial.

Richard Lea MacDonnell (1856-1891) was the son of Dublin surgeon Dr. Robert Lea MacDonnell. A graduate of McGill in 1876, McDonnell went on to become a prominent figure within the Faculty of Medicine before his untimely death at the age of 35. William Osler paid tribute to his friend and colleague in the New York Medical Journal, writing: “Although only thirty-five years old, he [MacDonnell] had reached a position which gave scope to abilities of first-class order and afforded opportunities of impressing upon a large class of students those qualities of mind so essential in the teacher, so priceless to the taught – honesty, system, and painstaking care” (NYMJ, 54: 162, 1891).

Below is a composite portrait of McGill Faculty of Medicine in 1882 from our William Osler Photo Collection. William Osler is standing fourth from left, and Richard Lea MacDonnell stands on the far right. A new Richard L. MacDonnell Collection (P133) has been created in the Osler Library Archives, and these dissection books along with several fascinating scrapbooks put together by MacDonnell are now available to view upon request.

“McGill University Faculty of Medicine at its Semicentennial, 1882”, William Osler Photo Collection, Osler Library of the History of Medicine, CUS_033-011_P. Standing, from left to right, are Thomas G. Roddick, George Ross, William E. Scott, William Osler, Francis J. Shepherd, William Gardner, George W. Campbell, Gilbert Prout Girdwood, Frank Buller, and Richard L. MacDonell. Sitting, from left to right, are Robert Palmer Howard, William Wright, John William Dawson, Duncan C. MacCallum, Robert Craik, and George E. Fenwick.

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!

Winter Session 1878-1879

Think you’ve got a busy schedule this semester? Here’s what Winter Session 1878-1879 looked like for McGill’s Faculty of Medicine. The course schedule shown below belonged to Sir William Osler – Professor of Physiology, General Pathology, Histological & Physiological Demonstration (1st and 2nd year) and Pathological Demonstration that year. This historical piece of mcgilliana is part of our P100 collection – a collection that recently received a handful of new acquisitions generously donated from an Osler family relative (more on these new acquisitions coming soon!).

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Instructors (listed in alphabetical order): Dr. Buller, Professor Craik, Professor Dawson, Professor Fenwick, Professor Gardner, Professor Godfrey, Professor Howard, Dr. MacDonnell, Professor McCallum, Professor Osler, Professor Roddick, Professor Ross, Professor Scott, Dr. Shepherd, & Professor Wright.

 

Courses (listed in no particular order): Anatomy, Hygiene, Medical Jurisprudence, Ophthalmic Clinic, Botany, Surgery, Practical Chemistry, Pathological Demonstration, Midwifery, Clinical Medicine, Clinical Surgery, Materia Medica, Histological & Physiological Demonstration, Physiology, General Pathology, Practice of Medicine, Chemistry, & Practical Anatomy.

Old School

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A handful of New Canadian Health Series, published 1950s.

Harking back to simpler times, these colourful vintage volumes are from The New Canadian Health Series – a series of educational health books published in Canada during the 1950s.

A handful of these health guides, including the American ABC Health Series (pictured below) can be found in the Osler Library’s collection, available to view upon request. Acquired by the library in 2013 upon the closure of McGill’s Education Library, these volumes act as little time capsules of everyday health information and provide a fascinating retro-read of popular medicine through the eyes of mid-20th century North American culture.

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Brownnell-Evans ABC Health Series, “Broad Streets”, 1950s

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Brownnell-Evans-Hobson ABC Health Series, “Building Better Health”, 1950s.

The National Film Board of Canada : Bethune (1968)

pic_2016-06-28_153244In 1968, The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) made an inspiring film about Canadian physician, inventor, thoracic surgeon, war hero, humanitarian, and all-round inspiring figure, Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939).

We recently came across this original copy of the NFB’s promotional pamphlet in the archives. The Osler Library houses a Norman Bethune Collection (P156), as well as the Bethune Foundation Fonds (P132).

pic_2016-06-28_153301The feature documentary (link below) can be found on NFB’s website. The grainy 16mm black and white lends itself perfectly to this understated, yet powerful biopic. Bethune was a free-thinker – deeply dedicated and passionate in his work. His legacy is still celebrated today in Canada, China, Spain, and beyond, with dedicated monuments and memorials like the statue that stands in Montreal’s Norman Bethune Square.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/bethune/embed/player/

Preserving the “art” in Heart

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A sampling of Maude Abbott’s wooden printing blocks, housed at Osler Library.

Last week in the archives, we made a few updates to our Maude Abbott Collection that included rehousing and preserving various media and artifacts. For students who are unfamiliar, or are discovering the work of Dr. Maude Elizabeth Abbott (1869-1940) for the first time, we encourage you to explore the Osler Library’s collection.

Maude Abbott was a true medical luminary and a pioneer for women in medicine. Her extraordinary career garnered an international reputation for excellence in pathology, as well as medical museums – particularly impressive considering she was denied entry as a young medical student to McGill’s Faculty of Medicine in 1889 because of her gender (women were not admitted to the Faculty until 1917).

William Osler was one of Abbott’s greatest mentors, and was the first to encourage her research into congenital cardiac disease. These wooden printers blocks (above) and glass lantern slides (below) represent a small sampling of the many diagrams and illustrations created for Abbott’s ground-breaking Atlas of Congenital Cardiac Disease, published in 1936.

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A sampling of Maude Abbott’s glass slides, housed at Osler Library.

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.

Announcing the Edward H. Bensley Research Travel Grant recipients

Dr. Edward H. Bensley (1906-1995)

Dr. Edward H. Bensley (1906-1995)

The Osler Library is pleased to announce that we have selected three researchers out of a very worthy pool of applicants to receive this year’s Dr. Edward H. Bensley Research Travel Grants to support their work at the Osler Library. This year’s recipients are Dr. Sasha Mullally, Dr. Elma Brenner, and Emily Lockhart.

Dr. Mullally is a professor of history at the University of New Brunswick. She holds a doctorate in history from the University of Toronto and is a specialist in the social history of medicine and health in Canada and the US. She is currently co-investigator on a study of the history of medical diasporas in Canada, a SSHRC- and AMS/Hannah Foundation-funded research project. Her work at the Osler Library will investigate the history of physicians immigrating to Canada in the second half of the 20th century.

Dr. Brenner works at at the Wellcome Library in London as a specialist in medieval and early modern medicine. She was previously a post-doctoral research fellow at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, where she also earned a Licence in Medieval Studies. She holds a doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge and has published on the history of leprosy in the Middle Ages. At Osler she will be looking at a number of early printed works on the “French Disease,” a disfiguring illness roughly equivalent to modern-day syphilis.

Emily Lockhart is Toronto-based photographer, designer, and curator. As a travel grant recipient, she will continue her work on a historical photographic project with McGill’s School of Architecture. The project explores the spaces of medical instruction at McGill in the wake of World War I and today by reproducing a collection of 146 glass plate negatives taken by McGill medical student James R. Lockhart (1890-1980) after the war and rephotographing the places that appear in the historic photographs as they now exist.

Congratulations to all of our 2015 recipients!

The Dr. Edward H. Bensley Research Travel Grant is endowed through generous gifts from the McGill Medicine Class of 1936 and the Pope-Jackson Fund. The grant honours Dr. E. H. Bensley’s place in the history of the Osler Library, as a former dean of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill who devoted the latter part of his life to the study of the history of medicine. For more information about the research travel grant, please see our website.