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!

Upcoming talk: Charms in late medieval English medicine

We are pleased to announce that one of our Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant winners, Dr. Elma Brenner, will be speaking at the library on Wednesday, 20 January. Dr. Brenner, subject specialist in medieval and early modern medicine at the Wellcome Library in London, will give the talk “Combating Danger: Charms in Late Medieval English Medicine.

5:00 PM, Wellcome Camera of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine. This talk is presented by McGill Medievalists.

Brenner Poster

Accepting applications: Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine of McGill University offers a travel grant designed to assist researchers who need to travel and establish temporary residence in Montreal in order to use the resources of the Library.  The Library has the largest collection of rare and secondary material in medical history in Canada, including medieval and modern manuscripts, archives of such notables as Sir William Osler, Wilder Penfield, Norman Bethune, and Maude Abbott, medical ephemera, and 2,500 medical prints. Monographic, serials, and ephemera holdings are listed in the McGill Library Catalogue. The Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant is available to historians, physicians, graduate and post-doctoral students, and those interested in the arts and humanities of medical history whose project requires them to travel to Montreal to consult material in the Osler Library. Each year up to $4,000 in awards will be made to one or more individuals who require a minimum of 2 weeks to carry out their research in the calendar year in which the grant is awarded.

To apply, please fill out the form located on our website. Applications for research to be carried out during the 2016 calendar year should be received by December 31, 2015. The applications are considered by a committee which gives preference to specific and clearly described projects.


The Osler Library Research Travel Grant is endowed through the generosity of graduates of the Class of Medicine of 1936, and a $100,000 gift from the Pope-Jackson Fund.  The grant recognises Dr. E.H. Bensley’s place in the history of the library. A former dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Bensley’s later life was devoted to the history of medicine. He was affiliated with the Department of the History of Medicine (fore-runner of the present Department of Social Studies of Medicine) and taught the history of medicine to second year medical students. He also edited the Osler Library Newsletter and wrote extensively. His last book, “McGill Medical Luminaries,” was the first title to appear in the Osler Library Studies in the History of Medicine series. He was named Honourary Osler Librarian in 1979.

 

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.

Pivnicki Award

Applications are currently being accepted for this research travel grant to the Osler Library

The Dr. Dimitrije Pivnicki Award in Neuro-History is offered by the Osler Library and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Library to support research in the field of neuropsychiatry and neuro-history. The award was established in 2012 by the family and friends of Dr. Pivnicki (1918-2007), who practiced and taught psychiatry at the Allen Memorial Institute of McGill University from 1956 to 1996. With degrees in law and medicine, he had a wide and eclectic interest in classic and modern languages and literature, and a keen appreciation of the history of neuropsychiatry, an area of scholarship that will be advanced by this award.
The award supports a student or scholar wishing to carry out research utilizing the rich archival and monographic holdings at McGill University, such as the Penfield Archive in the Osler Library, and other resources available at the Osler Library, the Montreal Neurological Institute and the McGill University Archives. The Osler Library’s collections are listed in the McGill Library Catalogue and the Osler Library Archives Collection website.

Terms: The value varies depending on the project, to a maximum of approximately $4,000. The recipient is required to carry out research in Montreal during the 2014-15 fiscal year (May 2014-April 2015). The award may be renewable.

Requirements: We invite applications from a variety of individuals, including graduate students, scholars and professionals. Recipients are required to submit a report of their work suitable for publication in the Osler Library Newsletter and may be requested to give a brief presentation at the university.

Deadline is February 1, 2014. Information on how to apply is found on our website.

 

Researcher profile: Justin Rivest

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming PhD candidate Justin Rivest as an Osler Library Travel Grant recipient. Justin grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario and did his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Carleton University. His MA is in History (Early Modern Europe) and he is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. Here’s what he had to say about his recent trip to the Osler Library.

Title-page of Albumasar’s De magnis conjunctionibus . Bibliotheca Osleriana 1760.

Title-page of Albumasar’s De magnis conjunctionibus. Bibliotheca Osleriana 1760.

My work at the library grew out of my MA thesis, which was a study of French almanacs and prognostications from the 1490s-1550s and led me to an interest in the links between astrology and medicine. While my dissertation has come to focus on a different topic (proprietary remedies in seventeenth century France), Renaissance astrology has remained a persistent research interest. I’d been looking for an opportunity to spend some time with a good collection of Renaissance astrological texts, with the goal of better understanding how almanacs and prognostications were produced. I was pleased to find good collection of early printed astrological treatises at the library, including a copy of the Ephemerides Magistri Johannis de Monte Regio, a series of celestial ephemerides for the period 1492-1506 produced by the 15th century German mathematician Regiomontanus, which was probably the most interesting and useful thing I was looking at during my visit. Ephemerides were one of the most important tools available to Renaissance astrologers, furnishing the raw data and tables of planetary movement needed to create astrological charts, birth horoscopes, or annual prognostications of the general conditions in the coming year, such as are found in almanacs.

Modern day readers might typically associate almanacs with farmers and weather, but early modern almanacs were often produced by learned physicians and contained important medical information. The positions of celestial bodies and the moon were understood to affect the human body. While a birth horoscope could tell a physician about an individual patient’s humoral complexion, medical almanacs gave doctors and barber-surgeons general information for tabulating propitious days for therapeutic interventions such as bloodletting. For example, a common piece of advice was never to let blood from a part of the body if the moon was in its associated sign, e.g. Aries for the head or Pisces for the feet. This medical information would be placed alongside other things such as the dates of new and full moons, feast days, etc. that we would normally associate with a calendar. Almanacs of this type were initially circulated in manuscript form, but the advent of print vastly expanded the audience for almanacs and provided increasing numbers of astrologers with the astronomical resources (like Regiomontanus’ ephemerides) needed to produce them.

Depiction of Saturn from Albumasar’s Flores astrologiae. B.O. 7410.

Depiction of Saturn from Albumasar’s Flores astrologiae. B.O. 7410.

By the end of the fifteenth century, almanacs were drawing on data about the planets and signs of the zodiac to predict everything from warfare to drought and plague, based on sets of associations drawn from natural philosophy. The five known planets and the twelve signs, for instance, were associated with the four qualities of hot, cold, wet, and dry, the four elements, the four humours, the four seasons, and even the classes of society. Saturn, for example, was associated with the rich, religious men, farmers, and the old, so the state of Saturn in the heavens could affect their conditions on earth.

As for what led me to this topic: in general I’m fascinated by the medieval and Renaissance view of an integrated cosmos, designed by a provident creator to be full of associations and sympathies. The associational framework of astrology, with its harmonies between the heavens, the elements, and the human body, strikes me as one of the most beautiful manifestations of this view of the cosmos.

Read more about Justin’s work in the latest issue of the Osler Library Newsletter and stay tuned for another upcoming entry on Renaissance astrological tables.

 

 

Applications accepted for the Osler Library Research Travel Grant

We are currently accepting applications for our research travel grant. The Osler Library Research Travel Grant is endowed through the generosity of graduates of the Class of Medicine of 1936, and is supported by the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University. It is designed to assist scholars who would like to travel to and establish temporary residence in Montreal in order to use the resources of the library.

The grant is available to historians, physicians and those interested in the arts and humanities of medical history. It carries an award of $1,500 (Canadian) and must be held from 2-4 weeks during the calendar year of 2014. $2,000 will be made available to those requiring 4 weeks to complete their research.

Applications for the 2014 grant must be received by December 31, 2013.  Candidates will be informed of the results early in 2014. Please find the application form on our website.