From left to right: Alison Cullingford, Heather Mumford, Ross MacFarlane, Emily Gustainis, Jenny Haynes, Elena Carter, and Helen Wakely.
Center for the History of Medicine staff Emily R. Novak Gustainis and Heather Mumford recently participated in the Wellcome Library’s June 27 UK conference, Beds not bombs: Exploring the archives of anti-nuclear medical campaigning and protest. Organized by Wellcome’s Project Archivist, Elena Carter, to celebrate the opening of the Medact collection, the event explored the social and political environments in which Medact and its predecessor organizations, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (MCANW) emerged and grew, as well as the state of the medical activist movement today. Medact is an international affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), whose records – along with those of IPPNW co-founder Bernard Lown – offer substantial insight into medical activism on both sides of the Atlantic.
Conference attendees visit the Medact archive through the Wellcome Library’s online catalogue.
Presenters included Professor Peter Van Den Dungen (Visiting Fellow, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford) on the history of the medical peace movement, Alison Cullingford (Special Collections Librarian, University of Bradford), on collecting and archiving peace campaigns at the University of Bradford, Professor Alison MacFarlane, a radical statistics pioneer, David McCoy (Chair, Medact), on Medact today, and Carter, who gave an introduction to the Medact collection.
Gustainis’s presentation, Against the Unimaginable and Unpredictable: Contextualizing the Records of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, explored the history of IPPNW. The talk included an interview with Lown conducted by Mumford and Gustainis that can be found on the Center’s Omeka site, OnView, here. The records of IPPNW are now being processed as part of the Center’s Access to Activism: Records of Physicians of Social Conscience initiative, which is being funded by the Harvard University Library’s “Open Your Hidden Collections” program.
Emily Gustainis presents at the Wellcome Library on the IPPNW and Dr. Bernard Lown for Beds not bombs, June 27, 2014.
Prior to the conference, Gustainis and Mumford met with Wellcome staff to learn more about their collection development, digitization, and data curation efforts. Dr. Jennifer Haynes, Head of Special Collections, and Richard Aspin, Head of Research/Senior Archivist, offered insight on collection development, processing, and digitizing their Medical Officer Health Reports (1848-1972); Helen Wakely, Archivist, discussed the Wellcome’s newly revised access policies; Ross MacFarlane, Research Officer, highlighted a handful of thoughtful and creative outreach initiatives he has spearheaded throughout London; and Natalie Waters, Archivist, Chris Hilton, Senior Archivist, and Dave Thompson, Digital Curator, spoke with us about born-digital records. The day concluded with a tour of the Library’s digitization suites.
For more information on the history of Medact, MAPW, or MCANW, or to learn more about contacting the Wellcome/University of Bradford Special Collections to consult the archives, please click here.
Additional coverage of the conference can be found here: