Profiles of Science and “Great Man” Dr. Osler

The National Library of Medicine has just launched the section on William Osler on its Profiles in Science project, working in collaboration with the Osler Library and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins. Profiles in Science is designed to make digitized documents and photographs of leading medical researchers available online.

And have a look at this excellent entry on the NLM’s blog Circulating Now on the inclusion of William Osler, and one historian’s newfound appreciation for the man behind the myth:

He was legendary during his lifetime, and for nearly a century, he’s been practically a deity in some medical circles. Often called the “father of modern medicine,” and the “greatest physician of all time,” his name is still spoken and his words quoted in reverent tones.


New archival collection: the Joseph Stratford Fonds


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 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.


Some new titles for November

OslerNiche_BooksSmaller copy

Settling in for a long winter’s nap? Not before some bedtime reading! Have a look at some of these, new in November.


The fabric of the human body : an annotated translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions / Andreas Vesalius; translated by Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast. Basel : Karger, 2014.

The year 2013 marks 500 years since the birth of Andreas Vesalius, the iconic Renaissance anatomist, whose De humani corporis fabrica is a monument in the history of medicine. This is a new translation of the book’s two editions and features essays by well-known historians of medicine Vivian Nutton and Nancy Siraisi.


Child workers and industrial health in Britain, 1780-1850 / Peter Kirby. Woodbridge, Suffolk : The Boydell Press, 2013.

What were the health effects on children of working in the textiles and mining industries as laborers during the Victorian period?

From the publisher’s website:

In this comprehensive study, Peter Kirby places the occupational health of employed children within a broad context of social, industrial and environmental change during the period 1780 to 1850. The book explores the deformities, fevers, respiratory complaints, industrial injuries and physical ill-treatment which have long been associated with child labour in the factory workplace. The result is a more nuanced picture of child health and child labour during the classic ‘factory age’ which raises important questions about the enduring stereotype of the health-impaired and abused industrial child.


Expériences de la folie : criminels, soldats, patients en psychiatrie (XIXe-XXe siècle) / sous la direction de Laurence Guignard, Hervé Guillemain, Stéphane Tison. Rennes : Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2013.

“ Sur 3 832 soldats soignés dans le service des psychoses du camp retranché de Paris au cours de l’année 1916, 
653 sont considérés comme des « alcooliques avancés »  ”. The authors of this collection look at patient experiences of psychiatric illness during the 19th and 20th centuries in connection with the judicial, military, and hospital systems that were defining what it meant to be “mentally ill.”


Toxicants, health and regulation since 1945 / edited by Soraya Boudia and Nathalie Jas. London : Pickering & Chatto, 2013.

The authors in this volume document the rise of environmental pollutants in the second half of the 20th century and regulatory efforts around the world to curtail them and manage risk. Find a review of this book in Social History of Medicine [McGill users only].


Too cold to head to the library? Have a look at what’s available on the history of medicine in Overdrive.


Mary Louise Nickerson Fellowship

The Osler Library is currently accepting applications to our Mary Louise Nickerson Fellowship. The fellowship was established in 2011 by Granville H. Nickerson, M.D., C.M., in honour and in memory of his wife, Mary Louise, who was an inspiration to many of Dr. Nickerson’s classmates of McGill’s Medicine Class of 1945.  The fellowship will allow a scholar to carry out research with the Neuro History archival and artifact collections at McGill University, the centrepiece of which is the Penfield Archive in the Osler Library, as well as other resources available at 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.

Value varies depending on the project, to a maximum of $10,000.  More than one fellowship may be awarded during each fiscal year.  The fellow is required to carry out research in Montreal during the 2014-15 fiscal year (May 2014-April 2015).  May be renewable.

We invite applications from a variety of individuals, including graduate students, scholars and professionals.  Preference will be given to applicants spending at least one month in Montreal and who take advantage of the rare and unique materials held in the Osler Library and McGill University.  Fellows 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.

Please find full application instructions on our website.

All documentation must be received by February 1st, 2014.