A glimpse at French education during the July Monarchy: Le cahier d’histoire naturelle of Eugène Ducrot, 1835-37

By Mary Yearl, Head Librarian, Osler Library of the History of Medicine

After spending the first few months of its new Montréal life in careful hands in the Redpath Library Building for cataloguing and, later, digitization, Eugène Ducrot’s manuscript notebook on natural history has finally arrived at its permanent home: the Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

Note the fine use of colour in Ducrot’s skeleton. Page 44 in Cahier d’histoire naturelle (1835-1837) : à Moulins

Note the fine use of colour in Ducrot’s skeleton. Page 44 in Cahier d’histoire naturelle (1835-1837) : à Moulins

The title page provides a satisfying amount of information to the reader, though it offers barely a glimpse of the beauty that lies within. In the upper left-hand corner in petite pencil script, it is noted that the manuscript was written by J.E. Ducrot, after the lectures of Mr. Denou in Moulins. In bolder ink script, a 19th-century hand announces “Cahier d’histoire naturelle (1835-1837) à Moulins, à Eugène Ducrot.” Finally, nearer to the bottom, one learns that the manuscript was given to a Mr. Chavignaud, Moulins, 1848.

If the first manuscript page betrays a certain attention to detail, this is continued in the table of contents. The subjects covered include physiology (lessons 1-10), descriptive zoology (“méthode de M.G. Cuvier” – lessons 11-47), botany (lessons 48-53), and geology (lessons 54-56). To provide some sense of the deliberation given to each of the 56 lessons described, consider the 9th lesson, “Sens de la vue – Lumière – appareil de la vision – sourcils – soupière – appareil lacrymal – muscles de l’oeil – situation de l’oeil – usage des différentes parties de l’oeil – Voie.” This level of detail, and sometimes more, is present for nearly every entry in the contents and suggests that this manuscript would serve as a worthy source for those interested in studying natural history education in France during the July Monarchy specifically, or in the 19th century generally.

Depiction of Caucasian features

Depiction of Caucasian features

The majority of the manuscript is devoted to zoology and might be considered fairly timeless, at least with respect to the specific topics of natural history studied. However, some portions reveal the thinking of a past era. For instance, there is a relatively short section on the human races, which Ducrot records as Caucasian, Mongolian, and Ethiopian. When Denou was lecturing, ethnographic and anthropological studies had not yet been confirmed as academic disciplines, though the 1839 foundation of the Société Ethnologique de Paris came shortly after the end date of Ducrot’s notes.

For botany, detail stops at the leaves

For botany, detail stops at the leaves

Without question, what called attention to the manuscript to begin with were the images. Interestingly, Ducrot’s section on botany is remarkably devoid of illustrations; only on one page in the (admittedly fairly limited) section are there drawings, and they demonstrate the shapes of leaves but do not contain written identification. Whether this represents a lack of interest or not would be difficult to say without further examination; there are, however, more illustrations in the similarly brief section on geology than there are on botany.

The nervous system

The nervous system

The true focus of the drawings, like that of the manuscript, is on zoology. In that realm, Ducrot’s detail is impressive. He lists the bones, used watercolour to display the heart and lungs (including an attempt to recreate some detail of the inside of the heart), provides an ink drawing of the nervous system, and describes the structure of teeth in a series of small figures.

Eugène Ducrot’s Cahier d’histoire naturelle is a new acquisition that has relevance to visitors whose interests lie in diverse interests. The drawings themselves are admirable; the course of study followed by Ducrot might well be useful to those studying pedagogy in France in the mid-nineteenth century; and historians of medicine and science will appreciate the detail afforded by Ducrot to his subject matter. Regardless of the  audience, the manuscript is visually impressive and we are pleased that it has found a home at the Osler Library.

Using watercolour to reveal the heart and lungs. Page 9 in Cahier d’histoire naturelle (1835-1837) : à Moulins

Using watercolour to reveal the heart and lungs. Page 9 in Cahier d’histoire naturelle (1835-1837) : à Moulins

Read the full volume in the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/McGillLibrary-osl_cahier-dhistoire-naturelle_QH51D831837-18271 part of our over 250 titles from the Osler Library that have been digitized and made available to everyone.

Bodi-Tone: The road to excellent health?

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Bodi-Tone promotional pamphlet, 1912.

Original marketing materials from the “cure-all” Bodi-Tone Company are now available to view upon request in the Osler archives. This mail-order medicine was available in the USA and Canada during the early twentieth century. It promised restorative health and well-being to anyone – men, women, and children of all ages – suffering from minor ailments to serious diseases.

If the testimonials are to be believed, Bodi-Tone had the power to cure fatigue of the elderly, pain and inflammation of Rheumatism, liver complications, and Malaria to name but a few!

A box of Bodi-Tone tablets would set you back $1.00 in 1912 (or five boxes for $4.00). Read what “cured” customers had to say about the product by clicking on the images to enlarge.


Bodi-Tone promotional pamphlet, 1912.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Bodi-Tone was also advertised as a preventative treatment.


Bodi-Tone Company letterhead, 1912.

Robert Palmer Howard (1912-1990) fonds

The library is in the process of adding a new Robert Palmer Howard (1912-1990) fonds to the archives.  This will mark the most recent update to our Howard family collection, which already includes archival materials on Howard’s grandfather and namesake, Robert Palmer Howard (1823-1889), as well as his father, Campbell Palmer Howard (1877-1936).

Max Brödel, "The Saint", 1896

Max Brödel, “The Saint”, 1896. Artwork depicts William Osler’s head on an angel’s body over John Hopkin’s Hospital.

The new fonds consists of materials acquired and accumulated by Robert Palmer Howard including written correspondences between his father and close family friends such as Sir William Osler, Lady Grace Osler, and the Wright family.  Also included are Osler family portraits, photographs of Osler at work, as well as a few drawings and sketches by Edward Revere (Osler’s son) and Max Brödel (the prominent medical illustrator who worked at John Hopkins School of Medicine).

After receiving his medical degree from McGill University in 1932, R. P. Howard spent most of his career as a physician and researcher at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, affiliated with the University of Oklahoma.  He maintained a particular interest in the history of medicine throughout his career and later became the director of University of Oklahoma’s History of Medicine Program.  Upon retirement, he moved to Iowa City, IA to become Director of the History of Medicine Society at the University of Iowa.

As a medical historian and Oslerian, R. P. Howard held on to booklets, case studies, and pages of handwritten medical notes belonging to Sir William Osler, some of which are included in the new fonds.

"Microscopial Examination", William Osler medical notes, 1875-1878

A page from William Osler’s medical notes, “Microscopical Examination”,  1875.

R. P. Howard was also the author of The Chief: Doctor William Osler published by Science History Publications in 1983.  The bibliographical work provides a detailed account of the close relationships and correspondences between the Osler and Howard families.  Visit the catalogue for more information on this regular loan item.

A special thank you to Caroline Howard Mast, daughter of Robert Palmer Howard, for generously donating the contents of this fonds to the Osler Library.

Directions for Preserving Health in St. Louis, 1874

"Dr. C. H. Sanborn's Directions for Preserving Health in St. Louis, 1874." Osler Library Archives, P192

“Dr. C. H. Sanborn’s Directions for Preserving Health in St. Louis, 1874.” Osler Library Archives, P192

The Osler Library recently acquired a short manuscript booklet containing one doctor’s medical advice for patients moving out of town. Labelled “Dr. C. H. Sanborn’s directions for preserving health in St. Louis, 1874,” this tiny treatise provides advice and recipes for treating day-to-day complaints and guidelines for stocking the family medicine cabinet with the essentials.

Dr Charles H. Sanborn was a physician practicing in New Hampshire. Born in Hampton Falls in 1822, he graduated with an MD from Harvard Medical School in 1856 (1). He practiced medicine for over forty years in his hometown, where he also served as a Justice of the Peace and in local government (2). This autograph booklet appears to have been written by him for a family of three moving from New Hampshire to St. Louis, Missouri.

"The Pictorial Guide to St. Louis," 1877. From the .

“The Pictorial Guide to St. Louis,” 1877. From the Internet Archive.

During the second half of the 19th century, St. Louis was undergoing a population explosion that would make it the fourth largest city in the U.S. after New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Expanding sectors, such as the cotton industry, and new railroad connections attracted an influx of new residents, perhaps including Dr. Sanborn’s patients. The city was prone to cholera and had lived through an epidemic that killed more than 3,500 residents in 1866, just eight years prior to the writing of Dr. Sanborn’s pamphlet. (3)

Fittingly, Dr. Sanborn’s medical advice concentrates heavily on cholera and other, less acute gastro-intestinal complaints associated with moving to new climes. The first page of medical instructions deals with how to treat “Diarrhea, Dysentery or Cholera Morbus” in the youngest member of the family. Remedies include starch, castor oil, bismuth, and, in the case of feverishness, veratrum viride, a highly toxic plant sometimes used during the 19th century in the treatment of typhoid fever and yellow fever.

Up until the late 19th and early 20th century, the majority of medical treatment took place at home. Popular printed medical manuals would have been readily available for purchase and families would have expected to care for their sick themselves:

The skills, knowledge, and responsibilities of laypersons and physicians overlapped; trained physicians were in a functional sense always consultants–with the primary caregiver a family member, neighbor, or midwife.(4)

In the case of Dr. Sanborn’s patients, the father was perhaps the one responsible for making medical decisions and treating his family. Advice for particular ailments is oftentimes labelled “Baby” or “Self & Wife,” and includes detailed instructions for treating croup, “lung fever,” measles, the “Shakes,” “weakness sinking etc. etc.,” sore throat, painful menstruation, inflamed eyes, burns, and bug bites. A list in the back of the book ennumerates the items that should be kept on hand for medical usage.

SanbornBromoOne of the chemicals on this list attests to the persistence of the miasma theory of disease into the second half of the 19th century, even as germ theory was beginning to emerge in scientific circles around the same time. Disease, it was thought, was transmittable by poisoned air, marked by a bad smell. Dr. Sanborn suggests the use of bromo-chloralum, a harsh disinfectant, to “destroy most every poison in the atmosphere.” He urges it to be used liberally in the baby’s room and all around the house: “Don’t fail to use a pound of two in the first month or two.”


This pamphlet is now available for consultation in our archives. You can find it listed on the Osler Library Archives database. For more information, please contact the library.

Further reading:

W. F. Bynum, Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

William G. Rothstein, American Physicians in the Nineteenth Century: From Sects to Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.

Charles E. Rosenberg. Our Present Complaint: American Medicine, Then and Now. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

Charles E. Rosenberg, ed. Right Living: An Anglo-American Tradition of Self-Help Medicine and Hygiene. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.



(1) Harvard University. Quinquennial catalogue of the officers and graduates, 1636-1930. (Cambridge, MA, 1930).

(2) Warren Brown, History of the Town of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire from the Time of the First Settlement within its Borders, vol. 1 (Manchester, NH, 1900.); The New Hampshire Register, Farmer’s Almanac, and Business Registry for 1871 (Claremont, NH, 1871).

(3) History of St. Louis, (1866-1904) http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_St._Louis_(1866%E2%80%931904)&oldid=638231408

(4) Charles Rosenberg, ed. Right Living: An Anglo-American Tradition of Self-Help Medicine and Hygiene. (Cambridge, 1992), 4.


Some new titles for June

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Summer vacation may be upon us, but the library is still hard at work collecting new titles. Take a look at a selection of June arrivals…


Quack medicine : a history of combating health fraud in twentieth-century America / Eric W. Boyle. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Praeger, 2013.

This history of quackery discusses the various historical attempts (and mostly failures) to regulate between fraudulent and legitimate medicines and therapies. Anybody lucky enough to be in and around Washington DC that day can hear Eric Boyle discuss the topic at the National Museum of Health and Medicine on July 23rd!


Breast cancer in the eighteenth century / by Marjo Kaartinen. London ; Brookfield, VT : Pickering & Chatto, 2013.

From the publisher’s website:

Early modern physicians and surgeons tried desperately to understand breast cancer, testing new medicines and radically improving operating techniques. In this study, the first of its kind, Kaartinen explores the emotional responses of patients and their families to the disease in the long eighteenth century. Using a wide range of primary sources, she examines the ways in which knowledge about breast cancer was shared through networks of advice that patients formed with fellow sufferers. By focusing on the women who struggled with the disease as well as the doctors that treated them, much is revealed about early modern attitudes to cancer and how patients experienced – and were considered to experience – the cancerous body.


Medicine and society in Ptolemaic Egypt / by Philippa Lang. Leiden ; Boston : Brill, 2013.

Philippa Lang uses the microcosm of the medical world of Hellenistic Egypt to explore various aspects of its society and culture, including “how linguistic, cultural and ethnic affiliations and interactions were expressed in the medical domain.” (more here)


L’épopée des gants chirurgicaux / Michel A. Germain. Paris : L’Harmattan, c2012.

From the series “Medecine à travers les siècles”, Michel Germain charts the history of gloves and their usage in medicine and surgery beginning in the 18th century. You can find a review by Stéphane Héas of this book on the online social sciences journal Lectures.


Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900 / Catherine Cox. Manchester : Manchester University Press, 2012.

From the publisher’s website:

This study uses the Carlow asylum district in the southeast of Ireland – comprised of counties Wexford, Kildare, Kilkenny and Carlow – to explore the ‘place of the asylum’ in the nineteenth century. It assesses medical, lay and legal negotiations with the asylum system, deepening our understanding of protagonists’ attitudes towards the mentally ill and of institutional provision for the care and containment of people diagnosed as ‘insane’. The book also provides insights into life in asylums for patients and staff, while, uniquely, it expands the analytical focus beyond the asylum to interrogate the impact that the Irish poor law, petty sessions courts and medical dispensaries had upon the provision of services. Drawing on a diverse and under-utilised range of source material this book is an important addition to the historiography of mental health in Ireland.


P.S. Ever wondered how to search for *only* our recent acquisitions? Go to the Classic Catalogue and click on the “Sub-catalogues” tab at the top. Select the link “New Titles” and from there you can by keyword, collection, or date received.



Some new titles for May

OslerNiche_BooksSmaller copyInterested in some historical summer reading? Here are some ideas from our new acquisitions from last month:


Ways of regulating drugs in the 19th and 20th centuries / edited by Jean-Paul Gaudillière and  Volker Hess. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

The essays assembled in this volume share the perspective that the historiography of science, technology, and medicine, therefore, needs a broader approach toward regulation; an approach taking into account the distinct social worlds involved in regulation, the forms of evidence and expertise mobilized, and the means of intervention chosen in order to tame drugs in factories, offices, consulting rooms and courts. Focusing on case studies, the volume explores the ‘ways of regulating drugs’, which surfaced in the 19th and 20th century, and play a central role in the present world of science, market and medicine.

Includes a contribution by McGill Social Studies of Medicine prof Alberto Cambrosio (with Peter Keating and Andrei Mogoutov ): “What’s in a Pill? On the Informational Enrichment of Anti-Cancer Drugs.”


The identity of the history of science and medicine / Andrew Cunningham. Farnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT. : Ashgate Variorum, c2012.

From the publisher’s website:

In these essays, Andrew Cunningham is concerned with issues of identity – what was the identity of topics, disciplines, arguments, diseases in the past, and whether they are identical with (more usually, how they are not identical with) topics, disciplines, arguments or diseases in the present. Historians usually tend to assume such continuous identities of present attitudes and activities with past ones, and rarely question them; the contention here is that this gives us a false image of the very things in the past that we went to look for.


The great Manchurian plague of 1910-1911 : the geopolitics of an epidemic disease / William C. Summers. New Haven : Yale University Press, c2012.

The  Manchurian plague (or “third pandemic”) was a severe episode of bubonic plague that began in southwest China in the 1850s. Check out a review of this book from the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 68, no. 2 (April 2013) [McGill users only]


Remèdes, onguents, poisons : une histoire de la pharmacie / sous la direction d’Yvan Brohard ; préface et postface d’Axel Kahn. Paris : Université Paris Descartes : Éditions de la Martinière, 2012.

Full of anecdotes and alchemy! Find a discussion with the author Yvan Brohard on the history of pharmacy and medication on the radio show La tête au carré on France Inter.


Inventing intelligence : how America came to worship IQ / Elaine E. Castles. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Praeger, c2012.

Written by a clinical psychologist, this book traces the rise of the IQ test as the key measure of mental capacity, as well as describing historical initiatives to quantify intelligences (phrenology, anyone?). Have a look at a more detailed description on the publisher’s website.


Homöopathie in der DDR : die Geschichte der Homöopathie in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone und der DDR 1945 bis 1989 ; Hans-Walz-Preisschrift / Anne Nierade. Essen : KVC Verlag, c2012.

This book uncovers the history of homeopathy in the German Democratic Republic. Published as the 2011 winner of a book prize in the history of homeopathy sponsored by the Institute for the History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany, this book explores homeopathy as a popular lay medical tradition.


P.S. Ever wondered how to find book reviews? Find some tips here.


Anatomical atlas donated in honour of outgoing principal

This Tuesday, April 30th, at Osler, Principal Monroe-Blum was presented with a significant rare work donated in her honour. The Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps human by Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty (1716-1785) was published in France in 1759. D’Agoty was an artist who trained in colour printing with Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1670-1741), a German painter and engraver who developed the technique of colour mezzotint printing. D’Agoty took on the difficult and elaborate project of printing a complete, life-sized anatomy in colour. The resulting book is an elephant folio with nineteen pages of text and twenty colour mezzotint plates.

PrincipalsEvent PrincipalsEvent4

Mezzotint is an intaglio printing technique, meaning that a design is incised into a surface and the resulting image is created by the ink in the grooves. In mezzotint printing, the negative space in the image on the plate is roughened up and pitted with a tool called a rocker in order to achieve half-tones and shading. Le Blon’s colour mezzotint process involved making multiple engravings, one for each colour of ink, and then overlaying them. His original technique involved the use of red, blue, and yellow inks to create a range of colours and he later added a fourth layer of black.

dagoty PrincipalsEvent3

This copy of the Exposition anatomique now held at Osler is among only a handful of existing copies. Others are held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh, among others. It is also the only known copy in Canada. The atlas was acquired thanks to several generous donors and presented in recognition of Professor Heather Munroe-Blum’s ten years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Photos: Sabrina Hanna



Walter de Mouilpied Scriver Fonds

The library has a couple new archival materials of Walter de M. Scriver. Dr. Scriver was born in Hemmingford, Quebec, and received his B.A. from McGill University in 1915. He served overseas from 1915-1918, returning to Montreal to earn his medical degree from McGill in 1921. He was Professor Medicine at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine from 1952-1957 and physician-in-chief at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He specialized in the field of pharmacology and had a research interest in diabetes and kidney diseases. He was instrumental in founding the Quebec Division of the Canadian medical association and served as a member of its Executive Committee from 1947-1957.

The fonds includes a copy of No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill), 1914-1919 owned by Walter de M. Scriver and ephemera relating to Canadian General Hospital No. 3. It also contains a handwritten poem (in 4 cantos) entitled “Tune of T’anks,” composed by Scrivner for his family and dated France, 1915.


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

Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière

Jean-Martin Charcot. Portrait by Pierre Petit from the Osler Library Prints Collection, OP000262.

Jean-Martin Charcot. Portrait by Pierre Petit from the Osler Library Prints Collection, OP000262.

The Osler Library recently acquired the work Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière. Service de M. Charcot. Published in Paris by Les Bureaux du progrès médical between 1876-1880, this three-volume book is by Desiré Magloire Bourneville (1840-1909) and Paul-Marie-Léon Regnard (1850-1927), students of the titular Monsieur Charcot, known as “the father of neurology” and whose work on hysteria, the “great neurosis,” fills these pages.

Jean-Martin Charcot (1925-1893) worked and taught at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, originally a saltpetre factory before it was set up as a hospice in the 17th century to house and treat women with mental illness or epilepsy. The hospital also included a prison for women convicted for prostitution. The 19th century brought some humanitarian reforms in the treatment of mentally ill criminals and La Salpêtrière was reconceived as a psychiatric hospital under Charcot’s stewardship. His research there won him students and admirers from across Europe, including a young doctor named Sigmund Freud.

Charcot became famous for his work in neuropathology through a series of lectures on hysteria, the first of which was given in June of 1870. His method attempted to correlate observable signs of hysteria in patients with lesions in the brains discovered through eventual autopsy. The Iconographie photographique emerged from these studies and was intended to provide an objective account of hysteria and epilepsy, believed to be a related nervous disease, through the still relatively new technology of photography. 119 black and white images, mostly photolithographs, depict young female patients in various stages of hysterical “attacks.” These are accompanied by the case histories of patients, which include clinical findings such as rates of respiration and pulse, extremely precise physical descriptions such as measurements of head and limb circumference, and even transcripts of patients’ delirious ramblings.

The photographs reproduced are labeled according to the stages of hysteric attack as Charcot identified and named them:

"Période épileptoide," plate 13.

“Période épileptoide,” plate 13. This Charcot defined as the presence of seizures, muscular contracts, or outbursts.

"Attitudes passionnelles" - "extase." Plate 23. This third phase (following the "clown stage," or one characterized by "grands mouvements") was defined by empassioned gestures of the patients: visible extasy or withdrawal into contemplative or even beatific states.

“Attitudes passionnelles” – “extase.” Plate 23. This third phase (following the “clown stage,” or one characterized by “grands mouvements”) was defined by impassioned gestures, visible ecstasy, or withdrawal into contemplative or even beatific states.

"Béatitude." Plate 38.

“Béatitude.” Plate 38.

The Osler copy is also accompanied by an additional volume, the original set of 40 albumen prints of photographs taken by Paul Regnard, issued in a cloth-backed printed portfolio. It is the only copy of this work in Canada. This item was purchased through the generosity of the Friends of the McGill University Library.

References and further reading:

Christopher G. Goetz et al. Charcot: constructing neurology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

J. Bogousslavsky, ed. Following Charcot: a forgotten history of neurology and psychiatry. Basel ; New York : Karger, 2011.

Jane Kromm. The art of frenzy : public madness in the visual culture of Europe, 1500-1850. London ; New York : Continuum, 2002.

Asti Hustvedt. Medical muses : hysteria in nineteenth-century Paris. New York : Norton, 2011.

Tiphaine Besnard. Les prostituées à la Salpêtrière et dans le discours médical : 1850-1914 : une folle débauche. Paris : L’Harmattan, 2010.

Please contact osler.library@mcgill.ca for more information.

Some new titles – March

How was your March? In like a lion, out like a lamb? Too long ago to remember? Lots of new circulating titles came roaring in this month! Here’s a small sampling:


Regimental Practice by John Buchanan, M.D. : an eighteenth-century medical diary and manual, by John Buchanan. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2012.

John Buchanan drew on his experience as a medical officer in the British army to produce his “Regimental Practice,“ a treatise on military medicine. This is a new edition of this 18th century primary resource.


L’ergothérapie au Québec : histoire d’une profession by Francine Ferland and Elisabeth Dutil. [Montréal] : Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2012.
From Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal:

Il raconte aussi comment cette profession, pratiquée surtout par des femmes, a connu un essor majeur, comment elle est devenue une profession à part entière au Québec et a acquis ses lettres de noblesse. (Alain Bibeau)


L’uroscopie au Moyen Âge : “lire dans un verre la nature de l’homme,” by Laurence Moulinier-Brogi,  Paris : Champion, 2012.

Reviewed in the Cahier des recherches medievales et humanistes/Journal of Medieval and Humanities Studies (Aug. 2012) [open access]. You can also hear an interview with the author with medieval medical historian Danielle Jacquart hosted by famous medievalist Jacques Le Goff on French radio station FranceCulture.


Reproducing women : family and health work across three generations by Marilyn Porter. Halifax: Fernwood, 2012.

A work in the field of sociology of medicine that examines aspects of how woman understand and experience their reproductive health is understood and experienced within family contexts.  Features interviews and stories from Canadian women. From Fernwood Publishing:

…this book examines women’s experience of their “reproductive lives” in order to uncover how women’s experience is rooted in the family and among generational relationships: between mother, daughter, grandmother and granddaughter.


Atlas of epidemic Britain : a twentieth century picture by Matthew Smallman-Raynor and Andrew Cliff. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

A history of infectious disease in Britain over the 20th century, with historical information presented through more than 350 maps, charts, and photographs. Benedict W. Wheeler reviews this work in the journal Critical Public Health, v. 23, no. 1 (2013):121-122. [McGill users].


Why millions died : before the war on infectious diseases by George H. Scherr. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2012.

Scherr examines historical theories of disease causation and why germ theory took so long to be discovered and accepted.