Posts tagged: anatomy

September 20, 2016 – The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich

By , August 5, 2016

The Center for the History of Medicine presents:

The Anatomy of Murder: Ethical Transgressions and Anatomical Science during the Third Reich

SabineCover_Full_SmallSabine Hildebrandt, M.D.: Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Of the many medical specializations to transform themselves during the rise of National Socialism, anatomy has received relatively little attention from historians. While politics and racial laws drove many anatomists from the profession, most who remained joined the Nazi party, and some helped to develop the scientific basis for its racialist dogma. As historian and anatomist Sabine Hildebrandt reveals, however, their complicity with the Nazi state went beyond the merely ideological. They progressed through gradual stages of ethical transgression, turning increasingly to victims of the regime for body procurement, as the traditional model of working with bodies of the deceased gave way, in some cases, to a new paradigm of experimentation with the “future dead.”

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
6:00pm

Minot Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. To register, use our online registration form or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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Robert Latou Dickinson Papers Open to Research

By , June 27, 2016
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Robert Latou Dickinson

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the  Robert Latou Dickinson papers, 1881-1972 (inclusive), 1926-1951 (bulk). Dickinson (1861-1950, MD, 1882, Long Island College Hospital) was a gynecologist and obstetrician, sex researcher, anatomist, author, and artist. Dickinson worked with Margaret Sanger in promoting contraception and was also known for his medical illustrations and work with Abram Belskie developing anatomical models, in particular Norma and Normman.

The papers are the product of Dickinson’s activities as a sex researcher, obstetrician and gynecologist, author, and artist. The papers include: Dickinson’s professional and personal correspondence; case histories and subject files related to his research interests; writings for both books and articles, including records related to his unpublished book Doctor as Marriage Counselor; biographical records including diaries, obituaries and related correspondence, photographs, and an unpublished biography written by Dickinson’s son-in-law, George Barbour; and Dickinson’s medical and non-medical artwork.

The finding aid for the Dickinson papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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Robert Latou Dickinson

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Video Now Online: “Anatomy and its Legacies: Artistic, Ethical, Scientific”

By , December 3, 2014

On October 15, 2014, The Center for the History of Medicine together with the Ackerman Program on Medicine and Culture presented “Anatomy and its Legacies: Artistic, Ethical, Scientific.” A recording of that talk is now available online!

Anatomists throughout history have worked to discover new angles of approach to the human body in order to reach the fullest understanding of its complexities. In this symposium, our four speakers endeavor to do the same, coming from different perspectives to examine the complex history of anatomical study. Join us as we examine anatomy through the lenses of ethics, art, and science.

(0:00:00) “Teachings of the Dead: The Archaeology of Anatomized Remains from Holden Chapel, Harvard University”

Christina J. Hodge
Academic Curator and Collections Manager of the Stanford University Archaeology Collections, and Museum Associate at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
Michele E. Morgan
Museum Curator of Osteology and Paleoanthropology & Senior Osteologist at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

(0:38:18) “A Collaborative Endeavor: Oscar Wallis & Henry Jacob Bigelow’s Anatomical Teaching Illustrations”
Naomi Slipp
2014-15 Barra Foundation Fellow in American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art & Architecture at Boston University

(1:07:33) “Ethical transgressions in anatomy during the Third Reich: The Pernkopf story”
Sabine Hildebrandt
Assistant Professor in the Department of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School

 

 

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September 16: 500 Years of Human Dissection

By , September 8, 2014

science center.inddThe Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture presents:

 

500 Years of Human Dissection

David S. Jones, A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine and Center for the History of Medicine advisory board chair, and
Dominic Hall, Curator, Warren Anatomical Museum

 

Human dissection has been has been an integral part of medical training and the expanding of anatomical knowledge since Andreas Vesalius and his 1543 De humani corporis fabrica used cadaver study to lift medicine from its Galenic underpinnings. For anatomists, obtaining the human remains to support their classrooms and fuel their scholarship was difficult and isolating, often placing them outside the societal norms and legal codes of their communities. A September 16th lecture at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments will illustrate how anatomists and physicians continued to acquire the teaching dead in face of these pressures and how this legal and ethical environment surrounding medical body sourcing has changed over the past 500 years.

The joint lecture, sponsored by the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, will be given by the Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine and Center for the History of Medicine advisory board chair David Jones and Warren Anatomical Museum curator Dominic Hall.

After the lecture, Body of Knowledge: A History of Anatomy, an exhibition at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments curated by Dominic Hall and the CHSI, will be open until 9:00 pm.

 

September 16, 2014
6:00 PM

Pfizer Lecture Hall
Mallinckrodt Chemistry Lab B23.
12 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA

Free parking available in the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

 

For more information, see the event page at the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture.

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Center objects featured in Harvard Medicine magazine

By , May 15, 2014
Death mask taken of Maurice Tillet, Warren Anatomical Museum at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Gift of Rosanna Meunier Leonard, Patrick J. Leonard, Sr., Patrick J. Leonard, Jr., and Mary K. Leonard of Braintree, Massachusetts, WAM 20149

Death mask taken of Maurice Tillet, Warren Anatomical Museum at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Gift of Rosanna Meunier Leonard, Patrick J. Leonard, Sr., Patrick J. Leonard, Jr., and Mary K. Leonard of Braintree, Massachusetts, WAM 20149

Center for the History of Medicine collections are featured in two separate articles in the most recent Harvard Medicine.

‘The World Within,” by Stephanie Dutchen, reviews the collaborative exhibit Body of Knowledge, on display at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in Harvard’s Science Center through December 5, 2014. Of the approximately 50 objects loaned from the Center for the exhibit, the article highlights an 1887 dental preparation by Harvard Dental School graduate F. E. Sprague. The delicate and illustrative preparation was once on display in the now-defunct Harvard Dental School Museum. The article also announces the opening of the new Center for the History of Medicine exhibit, The Nature of Every Member: an Anatomy of Dissection at Harvard Medical School. The exhibit, which was curated by Center Public Services Librarian Jack Eckert, is on display on in the Lucretia McClure gallery in the lobby of the Countway Library.

Backstory,” by Susan Karcz, is dedicated to the historical representations of “play” in the Center for the History of Medicine collections. It features the exercise advocacy of preventative cardiology pioneer Paul Dudley White, Harvard Medical School class of 1911, and depicts a chess set carved by Zabdiel Boylston Adams, HMS 1853, while being held in a Confederate prison during the American Civil War, the death mask of professional wrestler Maurice Tillet, and the 1920 game, “Infant Hospital Puzzle.”

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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 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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Processing of Warren Museum Records Completed

By , September 7, 2011

John Collins Warren

The Center is pleased to announce that the archival records of the Warren Anatomical Museum have been processed and are now open to researchers. The records consist of the administrative records maintained by the museum’s curatorial staff, as well as the records that serve to document the items in the collection itself, including registration, accession, donor, and exhibition records. Additional highlights are described here (Staff Finds: E. A. Codman and Bone Sarcoma) and here (Staff Finds: Thomas Dwight, Surveys on the Teaching of Anatomy).

The Warren Anatomical Museum was established at Harvard Medical School in 1847 through a gift from John Collins Warren from his personal collection of anatomical preparations, along with an endowment to support the collection. Warren was a professor of anatomy and surgery at Harvard Medical School and a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. He recognized the importance of anatomical preparations for instructing students in medical schools and wished to ensure that his collection would continue to be used for that purpose. Over the course of its existence, the museum transitioned from being used primarily to instruct medical students to its current iteration as a museum for both historical and modern medical research.  In addition to these records, the Center for the History of Medicine also holds the Records of the Warren Anatomical Museum, 1828-1892 (inclusive).

The Warren records contain patient and personal information that is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. All Harvard University records are restricted for 50 years from the date of creation. Researchers may apply for access to these restricted records. Access to records requires advance notice. For further information, please contact the Public Services staff. The finding aid is available to the public online.

Below are images, circa 1906, of the Warren Museum’s exhibit space on the top three floors of Building A (now Gordon Hall) on the then-recently opened Longwood quadrangle.

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Staff Finds: Thomas Dwight, Surveys on the Teaching of Anatomy

By , May 12, 2011

Thomas Dwight

Staff at the Center recently discovered a set of survey responses while processing the records of the Warren Anatomical Museum. The responses were to a survey of anatomy department course procedures conducted by Dr. Thomas Dwight, a member of the Anatomy Department at Harvard Medical School. The respondents include anatomy departments in medical schools throughout western Europe and North America. The responses vary in length from a few sentences to several pages. Samples from the survey can be seen in the slideshow below; the first image includes the questionnaire with answers, while images 2-4 are a longer set of responses, sent by the University of Michigan. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Dwight (M.D., Harvard, 1867), a grandson of John Collins Warren, succeeded Oliver Wendell Holmes as Parkman Professor of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School. A devout Catholic and the author of Thoughts of a Catholic Anatomist (1911), Dwight is considered the father of forensic anthropology in the United States. During his time at Harvard, he made valuable contributions to the development of the osteological collection of the Warren Anatomical Museum. He served as president of the American Association of Anatomists from 1894 to 1895 and was also a trustee of the Boston Public Library.

In addition to these records in the Warren Anatomical Museum, the Center for the History of Medicine also holds the Papers of Thomas Dwight (H MS c48). For information regarding access to these resources, please contact the Public Services staff.

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