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.

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.

Matriculation, 150 Years Ago

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McGill graduate Dr. Alexander Dougall Blackader (1847-1932)

As students and faculty at McGill begin a new academic year this week, we thought we’d offer a historic glimpse into what matriculation looked like 150 years ago. The leather case shown below belonged to pioneering Canadian pediatrician, Dr. Alexander Dougall Blackader (1847-1932). It was used to contain his many matriculation and membership cards from his student days at McGill from 1866-1871. In those days, students were provided with official cards for each course, in addition to their McGill ID/matric and faculty cards.

Several years after graduation, Blackader joined McGill’s Faculty of Medicine as Instructor of Diseases of Children and eventually became Professor of Pediatrics and Acting Dean from 1915-1918. As one of the first physicians in North America to insist that diseases of children needed to be recognized as a specialty, Blackader was an instrumental figure in organizing Canada’s first pediatric clinic at the Montreal General Hospital. Over the years, Blackader held several positions at MGH before retiring and becoming editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The Osler Library houses a collection of Blackader’s personal and professional material including papers, lectures, autobiographical notes and diaries (P093). Here’s to a great 2016-17!

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Alexander Dougall Blackader’s leather case from his student days, 1866-1871.

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Alexander Dougall Blackader’s many matriculation/ID cards and membership cards from his student days at McGill, 1866-1871.

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.

Wilder Penfield Digital Collection

penfield_public_screenWe are pleased to announce this week that the Wilder Penfield Digital Collection is now available to access online! The new website includes Wilder Graves Penfield (1891-1976) biographical information, as well as meters and meters worth of digitized archival images, letters, and other materials from the Osler Library’s extensive Penfield fonds.

Students and researchers are encouraged to explore this website for information ranging from Penfield’s childhood, education and medical training, to his widely influential research. As founder and head of the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) from 1933-1960, Penfield was Canada’s foremost neurosurgeon at the time and his career continues to influence generations of neurologists around the world.

The digitization of this collection was made possible thanks to a generous grant from the R. Howard Webster Foundation, obtained by the late Dr. William Feindel (1918-2014).

New archival collection: the Joseph Stratford Fonds

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The library has finished processing the papers of Dr. Joseph Stratford. Dr. Stratford was born in Brantford, Ontario, in September of 1923. He began his studies in science at McGill University in 1943 and was the President of the McGill Osler Society and graduated from medical school in 1947. After training in England at the National Hospital in Queen Square, he completed his residency at the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) under Dr. William Cone. In the 1960s, Stratford joined the Montreal General Hospital as Director of the Division of Neurosurgery at the behest of Dr. Rocke Robertson. There, Stratford participated in the development of a neurological intensive care ward, the McGill-MGH Pain Centre, and the Palliative Care Task Force.

This fonds consists of medical agendas and professional correspondence between Stratford and colleagues from the Montreal General Hospital, Montreal Neurological Institute, and elsewhere. It also includes personal research materials on the causes and treatments of pain, publications and drafts of publications, and daily appointment books.

For more information, please feel free to contact the library at osler.library@mcgill.ca. Find out about other McGill physicians through our archival database.

Missed our guide to using the archives at the Osler Library? Have a look here.