Announcing the recipients of the Dimitrije Pivnicki Award

Dr. Dimitrije Pivnicki

Photo of Dr. Pivnicki courtesy of Dr. Beverlea Tallant

The Osler Library is very pleased to announce that we have selected two researchers to recieve the Dimitrije Pivnicki Award in Neuro History and History of Psychiatry to support their research with our collections. This year’s recipients are Shana Cooperstein and Dr. Boleslav Lichterman.

Shana Cooperstein is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Her doctoral research is on the nature of artistic pedagogy in France in the 19th century. In particular, she investigates methods of artistic training at a crucial historical moment in which the applications of drawing education underwent reform and greatly expanded to domains outside of the art world through their appeal to cognitive development. Her work at the Osler Library will provide the medical context for analyzing the neuroscientific assumptions underlying artistic curricula from the period.

Dr. Boleslav Lichterman is a historian of medical history at the IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University in Russia. His research at the Osler Library will aim to provide an overview of logistics and different strategies of management of head injuries during World War I and the subsequent impact on the development of neurosurgery as a specialty field. In particular, he will work with the archival collection of Edward Archibald (1872-1945), known as “Canada’s first neurosurgeon.”

Congratulations to our 2015-2016 recipients! The award was established in 2012 by the family and friends of Dr. Dimitrije 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. To find out more about the award, please visit our website.


New exhibition: The Literature of Prescription

Our new exhibition is up! The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Yellow Wallpaper.  A Biography of Neurasthenia in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, curated by Dr. Andrea Tone, provides a fascinating exploration of neurasthenia, a widely diagnosed but mysterious psychological illness, whose history is brought to life through materials culled from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Yellowwp_medthe Osler Library’s rich repository of artifacts, and the guest curator’s collection. The biography of neurasthenia is chronicled against a broader backdrop that illuminates significant developments in the rise of modern psychiatry, varied forms of patient narratives and activism, and how gendered expectations can frame, at times elusively, medical thinking, diagnosis, and care. The Literature of Prescription showcases the doctors who defined neurasthenia, the remedies people purchased to assuage it, and the efforts of one patient, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, to challenge the legitimacy of the disease and the therapy her doctor prescribed.

This exhibition is co-sponsored by the Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine, McGill University, and the United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (loan of its travelling exhibition panels, September-November 2013).

Until April 2014. Accessible during the Osler Library’s opening hours, from 9-5 Monday-Friday.