Category: Past Exhibits

Countway hosting traveling Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries exhibition until December 4th

By , November 23, 2015
Binding Wounds 1

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries at the Countway Library, Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

The Center for the History of Medicine and the Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership will be hosting the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) traveling exhibition Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine at the Countway Library until December 4th. The exhibit was curated by NLM’s Jill L. Newmark with research assistance from The Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The six-banner exhibit has been on display in the Library’s Aesculapian Room since October 26th. The exhibit’s next stop is the Erie VA Medical Center Medical Library in Erie, PA, starting on December 21st.

The exhibit’s images, text and reproductions of historic documents draw attention to the overlooked contributions of African Americans nurses, surgeons and hospital workers during the American

Binding Wounds Two

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries at the Countway Library, Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Civil War. Using the lives and experiences of surgeons Alexander T. Augusta and Anderson R. Abbott and nurses Susie King Taylor and Ann Stokes, the NLM exhibit brings forward these health care narratives by highlighting the care given to soldiers and citizens in their fight for freedom. According to exhibit curator Newmark, “Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries opens the door to this rarely studied part of history and brings a voice to those that have remained silent for nearly 150 years.”

The exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine with research assistance from The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

 

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New Exhibit Charts the History of Dissection at Harvard Medical School

By , May 1, 2014

Robert M. Green performing an anatomical dissection  by Thomas Woolstone Dixon, circa 1929. Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine [0002651]

Robert M. Green demonstrating an anatomical dissection by Thomas Woolstone Dixon, circa 1929. Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine
[0002651]

Why study human anatomy?  To John Hall, writing his poem An Historicall Expostulation, in 1565, it was the chief of medical arts which had to be mastered “if ye will cure well anything.”  Anatomy was one of the three first areas of medical study at Harvard, and John Warren, the first member of the faculty, was a renowned anatomist and surgeon.  And though Oliver Wendell Holmes could maintain by 1861, that “human anatomy may be considered an almost exhausted science.  From time to time some small organ which had escaped earlier observers has been pointed out… but some of our best anatomical works are those which have been classic for many generations,” anatomy through dissection continued to be studied and taught to first-year medical students, and it still holds a place in the modern curriculum today.  The Nature of Every Member: an Anatomy of Dissection at Harvard, a new exhibit from the Center for the History of Medicine, is now open on the first floor of the Countway Library.  It chronicles the long and distinguished history of the study and teaching of human anatomy through dissection, moving from the very foundation of the Medical School to the present day.  Echoing the changes in teaching human dissection are the developments in anatomical legislation, as the illicit practice of grave-robbing for dissection gives way to Thomas Dwight’s 1896 formulation that cadavers for study are only “loaned to science”,  paving the way for the legal instruments of anatomical gift in common use today.

Notable items in the exhibit include Ezekiel Hersey’s 1770 will, establishing the Hersey Professorship of Anatomy at Harvard with John Warren’s notes from his earliest anatomical lectures at the school; John Collins Warren’s 1831 Massachusetts legislation which first legalized the use of cadavers for medical study; Oliver Wendell Holmes’ own copy of the first edition of Gray’s Anatomy; gross anatomy course descriptions and examinations; notes on lectures and dissection work by student Ralph Clinton Larrabee (Class of 1897); a 1951 report outlining the need for an electron microscope for anatomical research; a pocket kit of dissection tools owned by George Thomas Perkins, a student in the 1850s; and reproductions of several vivid photographs of life at the Medical School by Thomas Woolstone Dixon (Class of 1929), including the depiction of Robert M. Green at work shown above.   A rare colored lithograph from 1840, “The Dissecting Room,” depicts English anatomist William Hunter teaching dissection and gives some impression of what early conditions might have been like at Harvard.

T. C. Wilson, after Thomas Rowlandson The dissecting room, from the original by Rowlandson, in the possession of William Tiffin Illife, Esqr. : colored lithograph (circa 1840). Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine [0002980]

T. C. Wilson, after Thomas Rowlandson.
The dissecting room, from the original by Rowlandson, in the possession of William Tiffin Illife, Esqr. : colored lithograph (circa 1840). Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine [0002980]

The Nature of Every Member, which will be on display through the end of 2014, was designed to complement Body of Knowledge: a History of Anatomy (in 3 Parts) which is currently on exhibit at the Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments on the Cambridge campus and incorporates many anatomical specimens, models, rare books, prints, and photographs from the library and museum collections at the Center for the History of Medicine.

For additional information on the exhibit, contact the Center at chm@hms.harvard.edu or 617.432.2170.

 

 

 

 

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Center objects featured in newly opened “Body of Knowledge” exhibit

By , March 11, 2014
Paolo Mascagni, Anatomia universa (1823-1832), Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Paolo Mascagni, Anatomia universa (1823-1832), Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Forty-five artifacts, anatomical preparations, rare books, manuscripts, and art works from the Center of the History of Medicine’s Warren Anatomical Museum, Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library collections are now on display in a new exhibit at Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.

The new exhibit, entitled Body of Knowledge: A History of Anatomy (in 3 parts), opened on March 6th and will run until December 5th. The exhibit’s narrative covers approximately 500 years of anatomical history and was the result of a special curatorial collaboration by the Center for the History of Medicine, Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science, the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School’s Program in Medical Education, and Harvard Museums of Science and Culture. It was sponsored by the David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust, the Ackerman Program on Medicine & Culture, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.

The thirty objects from the Warren Anatomical Museum include wax injected teaching preparations by Oliver Wendell Holmes and Richard Hodges, osteological preparations made by Thomas Dwight, Jr., postmortem and dissection kits, and enlarged teaching models of the skull and foot by artist J. H. Emerton. The Center’s Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library loaned a diverse wealth of rare anatomy books and manuscripts, ranging from Andreas Vesalius’s 1543 De humani corporis fabrica to Henry Gray’s 1858 eponymous Anatomy.

The exhibit was featured in a recent Wired.Com article and in the Harvard Crimson.

The Center for the History of Medicine will be launching a companion exhibit this spring at the Countway Library focused on the history of anatomical teaching at Harvard Medical School.

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New Online Exhibit: Joseph Murray, Reconstructing Lives

By , December 20, 2013

MurrayCollageA new Center for the History of Medicine exhibit, Reconstructing Lives, is now available through the Center’s online collections site, OnView. The exhibit features items from the Joseph Murray papers and traces Murray’s life from his time as a student at Harvard Medical School and an Army surgeon during World War II, through his groundbreaking work in organ transplantation and plastic surgery. He received the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on organ transplantation, served as Director of the Surgical Research Laboratory at Harvard Medical School and at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, was head of the plastic surgery departments at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston, and was a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.

OnView allows the user to view the exhibits as he or she would in the physical space, moving from item to item within the framework of the narrative. Individual items, collections, and exhibits can also be browsed and searched using subject terms and tags. The Center has also been working to migrate legacy exhibits into OnView.

The finding aid for the Joseph Murray papers can be found here. For information regarding access to the collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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Warren and Bigelow artifacts loaned to MGH’s Russell Museum

By , April 9, 2013

Urinary calculus crushed and evacuated by Henry Jacob Bigelow, Warren Anatomical Museum, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine (09101.020)

The Center for the History of Medicine has loaned two artifacts to the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation for exhibits on surgeons John Collins Warren (1842-1927) and Henry Jacob Bigelow (1818-1890). The exhibition opened on April 4th and runs until July 31st. The artifacts are displayed in a case on the first floor lobby of the Hospital’s Lunder Building.

From the Warren Anatomical Museum the Center loaned a urinary calculus that Henry Jacob Bigelow removed from a Massachusetts General Hospital patient in 1882. Bigelow crushed the calculus with a lithotrite and flushed the fragments with an evacuator using a technique he innovated and published in his 1878 Litholapaxy; or, Rapid lithotrity with evacuation. The loaned artifact [WAM 09101.020] is one of fifty examples of crushed calculi that Bigelow donated to the Warren Museum.

From the Harvard Medical Library collection, the Center for the History of Medicine loaned six Codman & Shurtleff tumor dissectors developed by Massachusetts General Hospital surgeon and Harvard Medical School professor John Collins Warren. Warren, a noted breast surgeon, designed the knives for tumor removal. The dissectors were donated to the Library by George L. Nardi, M.D. in 1984.

 

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Center for the History of Medicine Collections in Boston University Art Gallery Exhibition “Teaching the Body”

By , January 23, 2013

Watercolor of the vessels of the neck, by Oscar Wallis, 1849-1854, Warren Anatomical Museum in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

The Center for the History of Medicine has loaned watercolors, lithographs, drawings, rare books and manuscripts from its Boston Medical Library collection,  Archive of Medical Visual Resources, and Warren Anatomical Museum to Boston University Art Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, Teaching the Body: Artistic Anatomy in the American Academy, from Copley, Rimmer, and Eakins to Contemporary Artists.

The Warren Anatomical Museum granted permission for reproductions to be made of three fragile watercolors from the Henry Jacob Bigelow teaching collection. Bigelow was Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School from 1849 to 1882. Between 1849 and 1854, he commissioned scores of anatomical watercolors from artist Oscar Wallis to use in the classroom. More on the collaboration can be found on pages 72-74 in the 1894 A Memoir of Henry Jacob Bigelow. The displayed reproductions are of a dissected neck, dissected legs and a dissected hand.

Four works by anatomical artist Muriel McLatchie Miller (1900-1965) from the Countway’ s Archive of Medical Visual Resources will be featured. The exhibited drawings and watercolors are Aneurism of Abdominal AortaHalf tone drawing showing abdominal operation, Scoliorachitic pelorus, and Gastroscopy & peritoneoscopy endoscopy. From the Boston Medical Library collection, Thomas Scott Lambert’s 1851 text, Practical anatomy, physiology, and pathology: hygiene and therapeutics, a volume of William Henry Furness’s manuscript Notes on different lectures delivered at Harvard College, Cambridge, from 1820, and an 1831 color lithograph of Massachusetts General Hospital will be exhibited.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programs. More can be found on the Boston University Art Gallery’s website, here.

 

The exhibition will be open from February 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013 and some of the Center’s artwork will be published in an accompanying catalog.

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Warren’s 1812 collections highlighted online and at the USS Constitution Museum

By , December 23, 2012

Partial mandible of a British officer on the Guerriere lost from gunshot wound, Warren Anatomical Museum, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

The Warren Anatomical Museum is loaning two osteological preparations from its collections to the USS Constitution Museum for their approaching exhibition on the battles the famed ship fought with the British frigates Java and Guerriere during the War of 1812. The long-term exhibition will be opening on December 29, 2012 and the Warren collections will be on display for at least the following year. More about the USS Constitution Museum’s exhibits can be found here.

Both preparations were originally from the teaching collection of the Boston Society of Medical Improvement, which was transferred to the Warren Museum circa 1870. WAM 05110 [pictured here] is the mandible of a British sailor wounded in the HMS Guerriere’s engagement with the Constitution on June 18, 1812. The second loaned preparation, WAM 05212,  is that of a partial femur from a sailor injured in the December 29, 1812 battle between the Constitution and the HMS Java. The sailor had his leg amputated at sea after the engagement  but required a secondary surgery eight months later at the Marine Hospital at Charlestown. It was then that the exhibited fragment was removed.

The Warren Museum holds several other medical cases from the War of 1812 from the Boston Society for Medical Improvement. These were all recently re-catalogued as part of the Museum’s ongoing inventory project. In conjunction with the loan to USS Constitution Museum and to highlight the bicentennial of the beginning of the War of 1812, the Museum created an online exhibition entitled Naval Medicine and the War of 1812. This exhibit displays all of the Warren’s War of 1812 osteology collections. 

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Center Displays at the Labrary

By , November 30, 2012

Richard Pearson Strong (center) and colleagues on The Harvard African Expedition of 1934. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine was invited to exhibit selections from its holdings at the Labrary, an innovation space at 92 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, hosted by the Library Test Kitchen, a Harvard Design School graduate course. The purpose of the Labrary display is to spark new thinking about the holdings and role of libraries.

The Center’s selections include a collection of 19th century calculi, early to mid-20th century games with medical themes, 19th century medical and dental instruments, and stereopticon cards from the Carnegie egg series to which HMS faculty members John Rock and Arthur Hertig contributed (ca. 1955). The Center also shared audio files from the Gamble-Cabot Cardiac Diagnoses Records (1916-1944), created to teach medical students how to interpret heart sounds, and three video files:

David Rutstein
lecturing on “Overweight” health issues on WGBH’s “The Facts of Medicine,” the nation’s first public health educational television show (1956);

Scans of the “Lowell hip,” the focus of a malpractice lawsuit in 1821 (2012); and

Tropical medicine pioneer Richard Pearson Strong traveling in Africa (1934).

Displays can be viewed from the street; the Labrary is also open 11-7 , Monday through Saturday. Center materials will be on view from December 1 – 20, 2012.

More information about this project will be added here as it becomes available.

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Art Institute of Boston Photography Exhibit Returning

By , September 26, 2012

Platinum palladium print of the cast of child with tumor, Tommy Matthews, 2011, Courtesy of the Warren Anatomical Museum, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

In May 2012, the Warren Museum and the Center for the History of Medicine exhibited a collection of photographs taken by students of the Art Institute of Boston, entitled A Moment’s Insight (“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.” —  Oliver Wendel Holmes). The images were generated from a November 11, 2011 photography workshop on the Harvard Medical School quad that partnered preparations and artifacts from the Museum’s collection with the artists. The students responded to the opportunity by utilizing a variety of new and historical photography techniques. The artifacts photographed included an eagle skeleton prepared by former HMS Dean Holmes, the cast of a seven-fingered hand, and a phrenology life cast of the infamous William Burke.

The October exhibit will once again partner the photographs with their historical subjects in the Lucretia McClure gallery on the Countway’s first floor. A Moment’s Insight will be replacing the summer’s Leading by Teaching: Elizabeth D. Hay and Lynne M. Reid and will give way to the Center’s Civil War programming in November.

 

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