Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two pictures from 1898



This is a test to see what emailing photos to the blog results in...

More new pictures will go up on our Flickr site tonight as I browsed and picked some using the new software.

Museum's scanning software upgrade adds thumbnails

We've got 2 online catalogues running now - EMU for our internal databases and another for our scanning project. The scanning project one got upgraded yesterday. The latest version of NISC's AWARS / Wizard software carries thumbnails with it, making photo research much easier as you can see from the  picture. This is three shots from our Surgical Photographs collection which began with the Civil War but wandered into other types of surgical problems as the years went on. Hopefully we'll figure out how to share these photos online soon. More new pictures will go up on our Flickr site tonight as I browsed and picked some using the new software.


Feed the Dawgs

Mike Lemish, one of our researchers who wrote a book on military working dogs in Vietnam, (due out in February) sent me an email about a fund-raising effort to Feed the Dawgs. A small group of volunteers provides a steak dinner to returning and deploying dog handlers, and they need cash to do it. If you can help, please do. This latest fund-raising effort is for Marines at 29 Palms. OOHRAH!!

Here's Mike's email:

Just wanted to pass this along to all my "dog friends." I know things are tight all around but if your are looking to support our troops (both 2-legged and 4-legged) this may a good choice.  More info at their site If you get a chance, check it out.




Will you forward my email to the other VDHA Unit Directors and have them pass it on to the members of their units.  The Feed the Dawgs guys are doing a great thing for today's dogmen and women.  They can use our support if any of the guys can afford to make a donation.


Jim Stewart    377 SPS Unit Director VDHA

                    377 SPS K9 9/67-9/68  Dobe 7X49



I just received an email from our brother 377 SPS dogman, Jon Hemp.  He is involved with Feed the Dawgs, to which I have just made a donation, and they could use some additional donations to keep going.  Jon explained their upcoming project like this.

 Just about every time it looks like we're running out of fuel and headin' for the ditch, someone steps up.  No money from donations has ever been spent on anything BUT the new troops.  A big piece of your donation will go towards feeding 82 3rd Marine Division Dawgs at 29 Palms on 7 November.  Best guess is that the event will cost us approximately $700 to $800 once we have a final headcount including family members, vet detachment, PAO personnel and the Base Commander - estimated now at 130 people.

 The Feed the Dawgs web site is at:

 If you can help this group of guys feed some of today's MWD handlers send your donation in the name Jon Hemp to:

 Jon Hemp

1437 Revelation Way

Redlands, CA  92374

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"New" Civil War picture found

The other day someone asked about Civil War surgeon Eugene Shaw. I would have walked right to the Shaw collection, but Jasmine handled the request and ran his name through our Emu database. In doing so, she found the CDV below that was filed in our biographical files (we've since moved it to the collection).

Shaw CDV front

Shaw CDV verso

The text says, Eugene Shaw M.D. Written up in New York Herald for bravery and skill on the battle fields of the Civil War - 21 years old when he was made Ass't Surgeon, 116th NY Regiment.

Rec. Feb. 1939.
Ac. 52965.

Digital archives

A friend sent me a link to an article in Library Journal, The E-Memory Revolution, which discusses a topic that is so important to archives and archivists - digital archiving. I can't imagine an archives that isn't affected by this revolution, unless it's run by Luddites.

One thing that gives me the heebie-jeebies, though, is where the author says, "We horrify archivists when we talk about digitizing things and then throwing them away. Of course, one need not destroy the physical object after making a digital copy, but one of the most enjoyable aspects of Total Recall is the reduction of clutter; it is especially satisfying to shred one's papers and eliminate rows of filing cabinets and shelves. When curators come to deal with our archives, they will surely find hundreds fewer physical objects because of Total Recall. But they will have hundreds of thousands of additional digital artifacts. Whether you agree that is a highly positive trade-off, it is surely coming."

Archivists are fascinated by having/handling the real thing. I'm a big fan of not keeping multiple copies of some journal article but no way is some one-of-a-kind document going through the shredder because we've scanned it. Will I pitch my uncle's handwritten pages of his poetry because I have 600 ppi scans of them? I'll keep that clutter, thank you.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Darwin Symposium: Finished Proofs? A symposium to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859)

The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine and the Office of History at the National Institutes of Health are pleased to announce a symposium:


Finished Proofs? A symposium to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (1859)


Location:        Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine (NIH)

                8600 Rockville Pike, Bldg. 38A

                Bethesda, MD

Date:            1 October 2009

Time:            9:00 AM – 6:15 PM





Janet Browne, Harvard University

Eric Green, National Human Genome Research Institute

Michael Ruse, Florida State University

Barry Werth, Independent Author

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University           




Nathaniel Comfort, Johns Hopkins University

Alan E. Guttmacher, National Human Genome Research Institute

Joe Palca, National Public Radio

Maxine Singer, Carnegie Institution for Science



All are welcome.




Michael J. North,
Head of Rare Books & Early Manuscripts
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
8600 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD  20894

(301) 496-9204 * fax (301) 402-0872

National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Inventor of medical ultrasound has died

Interesting obituary for him in JOHN J. WILD, 95; Doctor Advanced Medical Uses of Ultrasound, By Patricia Sullivan, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, September 24, 2009.

Civil War Reenactment at NMHM next Saturday, 10/3, 10am-5pm

“Civil War Reenactment at the Medical Museum”


When: Saturday, October 3, 2009, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Where: The National Museum of Health and Medicine

Building 54


What: The grounds of the nation’s medical museum will be transformed into a living history experience of Regular Army life during the Civil War. Displays on Civil War medicine and the role of the Sanitary Commission will be available along with exhibits on camp life, infantry drilling exercises and 19th century weapons displays. Children will enjoy hands-on activities such as building a replica of the hospital ship USS Red Rover, making a medical unit flag and creating a pin-hole camera.


Performances by the Federal City Brass Band at 10:00, 11:00, 1:30 & 2:30.


The reenactment is made possible by members of the 3rd U.S. Regular Infantry Reenactors. AFIP’s very own YN2(AW) Kelly Cochran is a member of the 3rd U.S. and will participate in the program!


While visiting the reenactment, visitors are encouraged to tour the Museum's permanent exhibition "To Bind Up the Nation's Wounds: Medicine During the Civil War." NMHM was founded in 1862 to study battlefield medicine in order to improve the care of the soldier.


The event will take place on the west grounds of the museum and in the museum galleries. This family event is open to the Walter Reed community and the general public.


Cost: FREE


Free parking available. Photo ID required.


For more information: or (202) 782-2673

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NY Times on insurance falling behind medical technology

Insurers Fight Speech-Impairment Remedy
Published: September 15, 2009
Devices like iPhones and netbook PCs that can help the speech-impaired are not covered by Medicare or insurers.

Flickr picture statistics

Since the Flickr site is blocked at work, we've been spending less time updating it - it's no longer a useful tool for showing researchers a picture we're trying to describe over the telephone for example. But our current statistics are 1,605 items / 870,097 views. I put up a new Korean War-era prosthetic photo tonight.

Ruminations on the latest issue of museum & society

This rolled in recently:



Hello, Subscribers to museum & society ,


The latest issue of museum & society is now available online at:




‘Journey without maps’: unsettling curatorship in cross-cultural contexts

Lisa Chandler


Translations: experiments in dialogic representation of cultural diversity in three museum sound installations

Mary Hutchison and Lea Collins


Objects, subjects, bits and bytes: learning from the digital collections of the National Museums

Siân Bayne, Jen Ross and Zoe Williamson


Review Article


Simon J. Knell, Suzanne MacLeod and Sheila Watson (eds),

Museum Revolutions: How Museums Change and are Changed

Kylie Message



Best wishes,


Jim Roberts

Production Editor

museum & society


Jim Roberts Hon FMA
University of Leicester
School of Museum Studies


The third article is of interest to me. One point that I think wasn’t emphasized enough is that non-art museums can only put about 1%, in a best case scenario, of their collections on display. Therefore the online museum gives people an opportunity to access objects that no one else, including the curators, are using or paying attention to. In our scanning project, we have over 700,000 images created. Some of them are books, but the great majority are photographs that nobody had looked at since they were taken and the only record of them had been an index card in a nondescript building in Washington, DC. Someday soon, these will be available to anyone in the world who has Internet access. To me, that’s a big change in the status quo.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Interesting public health article on social media and hapiness

This has some very interesting ideas in it - I think I believe they're correct. Any opinions?

Is Happiness Catching?
Published: September 13, 2009
Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler say your friends — and even your friends’ friends — can make you quit smoking, eat too much or get happy. A look inside the emerging science of social contagion.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Excellent water public health article in NY Times

The Times has an excellent investigative report on the public health issue of clean water in today's paper -

Toxic Waters
Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Human Suffering
Published: September 13, 2009
In the past five years, companies and workplaces have violated pollution laws more than 500,000 times. But most polluters have escaped punishment.

Today's Post has an editorial on Walter Reed

The New Walter Reed: Less Than 'World Class'?
By Stephen Schimpff
Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teddy Bear Clinic on Saturday

Teddy Bear Clinic to take place Saturday, September 12

On Saturday, September 12 from 1-3 p.m., the National Museum of Health and Medicine will its first Teddy Bear Clinic. It should be a lot of fun!


We’re asking kids in PreK-3 to 2nd grade to bring their favorite stuffed animals to be checked out by the experts. First they’ll visit a craft station where they’ll make doctor’s headbands, nurse’s hats, and doctor’s bags. Then, they’ll visit several stations where their stuffed animal’s vitals and teeth will be checked, shots will be administered, and healthy eating and exercising habits will be discussed.  (Hopefully the kids will learn a few things, too!)  At the end of the program, their friend will be issued a clean bill of health certificate.


This will be the last in a series of programs that were designed to complement the exhibition entitled “David Macaulay Presents: The Way We Work.” The exhibit closes on September 20, so stop by soon if you haven’t had a chance to see it.


The Public Programs staff would like to thank Aileen Mavity, one of the museum’s summer interns, for her help in designing this program!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On a couple of nondescript stereographs

Here's a couple of stereographs I bought over the weekend, due to their rough relationship to the Museum:

Rau - dutch courtship
The 'Dutch Courtship' was probably intended to be humorous.

Rau - crowd scene
This crowd scene is meaningless now without its caption.

So, why did I buy these?

Rau - dutch courtship credit

Rau - crowd scene credit
Both are by William H. Rau.


He was William Bell's son-in-law. Bell was the Museum's best photographer of the 19th century who took photographed many of the Civil War soldiers at the Museum. He was the subject of a small exhibit at the American Art museum last year.

Friday, September 4, 2009

We've been blogged

A couple of our flu photos have shown up on the blog e-l-i-s-e. When I saw the title of yesterday's post - GRIPPE ESPAGNOLE 1918 1919 - SPANISH FLU - INFLUENZA - I had I feeling I'd see something from our collection. She used our ever-popular NCP 1603 and Reeve 14682.

Museum to Participate in Cultural Tourism DC's Fall WalkingTown DC

Museum to Participate in Cultural Tourism DC’s Fall WalkingTown DC


Below is the listing from Cultural Tourism’s website ( for the walking tour that the Museum will take part in on September 19. If you’d like to join in, make your reservation soon because we can only accommodate 30 participants. Last spring, we participated in WalkingTown for the first time with rave reviews.  This year, John Pierce, Walter Reed Society historian, will lead the walking tour of the Walter Reed campus—he plans to take the group into the lobby of Building 1 to share the history of that beautiful structure. He will end his portion of the tour at the Museum, where Andi Sacks, Museum Docent Extraordinaire, will provide an introduction to the exhibtions and walk around with the group to describe highlights.


Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Museum of Health and Medicine
Saturday, September 19
9 - 11 am
Meet at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Building 1 (enter Georgia Avenue/Elder Street gate)
Nearest Metrorail/Metrobus: Takoma Park Metro station (Red line), 70 Metrobus
End at National Museum of Health and Medicine, Building 54
Reservations required: Online

Explore the 100-year history of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and learn how one man’s dream led to one of today’s leading medical facilities. Landmarks include the original US Army General hospital, where Eisenhower and General of the Armies John J. Pershing spent their final days, the new hospital complex, the formal Rose Garden, the Memorial Chapel, the Walter Reed Memorial, and the spot President Lincoln was nearly shot during the Battle of Fort Stevens. Then tour the National Museum of Health and Medicine to learn about the history of military medicine, including a special exhibit about the medical care given to President Lincoln during his last hours. Tour is just over one mile long. Led by John Pierce, a retired Army physician and historian of the Walter Reed Society and Andi Sacks, a National Museum of Health and Medicine Docent.
Note: Photo ID required.


Development of the Historical Archives

The Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology disgorged another treasure this morning. We have a copy of the AFIP Letter, this particular issue from April 1969, which has a feature on the "Old Red Brick" closing. The Old Red Brick was the museum's home on The Mall, when the Museum was the parent organization and the AFIP the child. This article notes we vacated it January 7, 1969 and everything was put in storage. We knew that. What's interesting here is that an "extremely active" program in the museum during the prior year was the development of the Historical Archives. At the time of this article, the archives had amassed a collection of more than 1169 items. I think I have that number of items sitting on my desk right now, a tiny little drop in the now vast bucket of the archives.

Bring your kids! Teddy Bear Clinic at NMHM, Saturday, 9/12, 1:00 p.m.

“Teddy Bear Clinic”


When: Saturday, September 12, 2009 (1:00-3:00 p.m.)


Where: National Museum of Health and Medicine


What: Bring your favorite stuffed friend and explore the Teddy Bear Clinic with activities and crafts designed to highlight the body, nutrition, physical fitness, and healthy habits.


Recommended for grades PreK-2.


Cost: FREE!


Information: or (202) 782-2673

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2 pictures of Sickles

One of our main Civil War attractions is General Sickle’s legbones, which he sent into the Museum. I found two pictures of him on the web today, at New Jersey’s Archives website at . They’re at the bottom of this page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Swine flu

Another cool find from the Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology - I just opened the Richard E. Shope folder which contains his original, handwritten research records documenting the first isolation of swine influenza. In an article from the Medical Tribune of June 17, 1963, Dr. Shope "described the appearance of a new respiratory disease among swine in the Midwestern states, in the autumn of 1918. Since there existed at that time a widespread outbreak of human pandemic influenza, and since the disease in swine, both clinically and at autopsy, resembled the human disease, it was named swine influenza." He said that swine flu was suspected to be as a result from an infection from humans, but because no virus from the human disease was yet available, it was impossible to make the connection.

But!! When the human influenza virus was discovered in 1933, it was found to be closely related to the swine virus, which supported the notion that swine flu originated in humans. So why did swine flu continue to appear once human flu more or less disappeared, at least as a pandemic, in about 1920? Dr. Shope maintained that the virus found a way to perpetuate itself in the hog population, which was ultimately proven when the swine lungworm, a nematode parasitic in the respiratory tract, was discovered. It serves as a reservoir and intermediate host, which is why the flu sticks around. If not for this reservoir, swine flu would have subsided about the same time as the human influenza virus.

Still with me? The article in the Medical Tribune, where I got all this information, is illustrated with a photo of Dr. Shope receiving the Ricketts Award from the son of Howard Taylor Ricketts, the doctor I wrote about yesterday, and for whom the award was named.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rickettsial spotted fever

As part of the work I'm doing on processing the Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology collection, I've just come across a little bit of material on Howard Taylor Ricketts. This is the man who discovered the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (called rickettsia) and epidemic typhus. We have a copy of a letter he wrote to his wife, which is the first mention of his having seen the micro-organism of typhus, nine days after his arrival in Mexico City. The letter was dated December 20, 1909.

"I kept at the microscope this afternoon because I felt pretty sure that I was finding some micro-organisms in the blood taken from the spots of the patients. I think I am not mistaken. They resemble the spotted fever bacilli somewhat, but stain poorly. I hope within a day or two to feel pretty sure one way or another. They are so hard to recognize that I doubt whether any one else here would see them. But I have so strongly suspected a relationship between spotted fever and typhus that I was looking for that very thing. Don't get excited over it, for it may be some accidental affair. However, I shall push it as rapidly as I can, and as soon as possible shall begin a paper so that there would be little delay in publication..."

Think of the excitement he had to have been holding in check, and hoping he wasn't seeing something that wasn't there.

Within six months he died from typhus, at the age of 39.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Commercialism, merchandising and the role of a museum

This is an interesting article - Kennicott's got a good perspective on the issue. As someone who's interested in popular culture, I personally feel that more could be done. He cites the National Portrait Gallery as a good example of an institution that let time decide some issues... however, they're way behind in collecting movie posters as a result, even though they were some of the most evocative images of artists of the 20th century. Read the article and let us know what you think in the comments.

Artifact or Artifice?
If Simon, Randy and Paula's Desk Sits in the Smithsonian, Is the Institution Performing Its Proper Role in Chronicling Our Culture?

By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

NY Times op-ed on Sigmund Freud's visit to the US

Here's an interesting bit on the history of medicine...

Freud’s Adirondack Vacation
Published: August 29, 2009
How an invitation from a prominent American scientist 100 years ago gave psychoanalysis its start in the United States.

Friday, August 28, 2009

PR: Eä - Journal of Medical Humanities & Social Studies of Science and Technology

This email came through the Caduceus history of medicine list today - I took a very quick look at the TOC for the first issue and it looks like they've got a good selection on South American history especially Argentina.

 Dear friends,

It is our great pleasure to inform you about the publication of Vol. 1 Nº 1 of Eä – Journal of Medical Humanities & Social Studies of Science and Technology (ISSN 1852-4680), a periodical electronic journal in an interactive format publishing papers on Medical Humanities and Social Studies of Science and Technology. The journal is available at the URL

The journal aims to be in the junction between academic excellence and the development of the new technologies of information and social networks. The journal gathers a prestigious editorial committee, is peer reviewed by international referees and meets the requirements of periodical publications indexes. Eä publishes three issues a year (April, August, and December). It is presented in Spanish and English, and accepts texts in Spanish, English, Portuguese and French, reaching global impact. This publication has been created under the Web 2.0 paradigm, with a dynamic layout that promotes user-reader's interaction between them and with the website.

We invite you to go through the contents of this first issue and we wait for your comments and suggestions in order to improve this journal. Next deadline for submitting papers to be published in Vol. 1 Nº 2 (December 2009) will be October 1st. We invite you to help us by spreading this initiative among your colleagues, and we also invite you to submit papers for publication for our next issue. You may find information for authors in the following link: or you can send us an e-mail to

Yours sincerely,

Jaime Elías Bortz, Academic Director

Gabriela Mijal Bortz, Editorial Director

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bert Hansen's book on mass media images reviewed in today's Times

This article -


When a Doctor Is More, and Less, Than a Healer


August 25, 2009


Reviews Bert’s new book -



A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America. By Bert Hansen. Rutgers University Press. 348 pages. $37.95.


-which I thought was excellent. We have a copy in the Museum.

1957 influenza epidemic

Today's Washington Post has a large article on the 1957 influenza epidemic. We've got a selection of photographs from this, mostly involved with diagnosing it in Japan, on our website.

4-volume book set of historical Ophthalmology photographs donated

Dr. Stanley Burns, a longtime friend of the Museum, donated his latest publication yesterday – a 4-volume book set of historical ophthalmology photographs. It’s only been out for two weeks and we’re quite pleased to get it. Dr. Burns has one of the largest private collections of history of medicine photographs and opens it for use as the Burns Archive in New York City. This is the 6th set of historical medical photographs that he’s published , and its formal title is Ophthalmology A Photographic History 1845-1945, Selections from the Burns Archive.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Noteworthy Pathologists

I've been processing a collection called the Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology. I expected to be thoroughly bored with the material and have been pleasantly surprised that I find a lot of it interesting. Like this photograph of pathologists gathered in Holland in 1934 that I came across today.

OK, it's a bunch of people in a photo. What makes this so remarkable is a letter that accompanied it to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology where the sender writes, "It probably represents the last time that some of the great giants of pathology of the early part of the 20th century ever came together. Only a few attended the Third Congress in Stockholm in 1937 and then came the War. By the time of resumption of meetings in 1950 most of them were gone."

The records even include a chart of names of some of the attendees.

Ben Gage, art handler, blogs about moving museum piece

Ben Gage put this link in a comment, but I'll highlight it on the main blog as it's an interesting side of museums that most people don't have to consider -

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

National Museum of Health and Medicine: Walter Reed Army Hospital

More Nursing Materials in the Archives

At a "junque" store in Tennessee Mike found some materials which belonged to Mary Charles Green Carter, who graduated from the School of Nursing at St. Mary's Memorial Hospital in 1956:  photos, a diploma, a Tennessee state nursing license, and a certificate showing three months' completion at Eastern State Hospital in Knoxville. We're going to scan these and add them to the NCP collection. In our line of work it's not always possible to put faces to names and names to faces. This tiny collection is a real treat because we have both.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Conventions of Display: Cultures of Exhibition in Twentieth-Century Medicine. NLM History of Medicine Summer of Seminars

Miriam and I spoke at the same panel at the History of Medicine meetings, so I can tell you she's looking at some interesting material here. We hope to provide her with more, based on the Museum and AFIP's experiences with traveling exhibits.

History of Medicine Division
Summer of Seminars
Thursday, August 27, 2009, 2-3:30pm
NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A, NLM
Bethesda, MD

Conventions of Display: Cultures of Exhibition in Twentieth-Century

Miriam Posner
Yale University

Most medical historians have heard of anatomical museums and displays of
anomalies in earlier eras. Few are aware, however, that exhibition has
also been a crucial component of twentieth-century medicine. The
prominence of exhibition in medicine suggests that historians should
refine their notions of how medical ideas are communicated to
accommodate this lively and interactive culture.

The next History of Medicine Division seminar will be held on Wednesday,
September 9, 2-3:30pm, in the NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A. In
conjunction with NLM's newest travelling exhibit, "The Literature of
Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and 'The Yellow Wall-Paper,'"
Helen Horowitz of Smith College will speak on "Underneath the Whirls:
Rethinking Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sex, Nervous Breakdown, and S. Weir

All are Welcome

Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities
who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen
Greenberg at (301-435-4995), e-mail, or the
Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised
to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Korean War ballistics studies

There are now 921 items across Historical, Anatomical and Archives divisions related to Korean War ballistics research, searchable (in our internal EMU database) under the keyword phrase “Korean War Ballistics.”  These various research projects are detailed in the OTSG publication “Wound Ballistics in World War II supplemented by experiences in the Korean War.”


This includes all the historic armored vest material on display to the public.

AFIP's CWIP & metal frag programs

The Pentagon News  Broadcast featuring AFIP’s collaboration with the Combat Wound Initiative Program and interviews with Dr. Izadjoo, COL Stojodinovic and Adonnis on the Pentagon Channel .


You can also visit the link and click on the “Around the Services” broadcast for 19 August 2009 “Infection Collection - Scientists collect bacteria from wounded warriors for healing research.” 


Monday, August 17, 2009

Government Printing Office (GPO) Military History Update features WRAMC book

GPO U.S. Bookstore logo

New Military History Publications

Issue #130 - August 2009



1. Walter Reed Army Medical Center Centennial: A Pictorial History, 1909-2009 (Hardcover)

Description: Provides A profusely illustrated history covering the full range of
Walter Reed Army Medical Center's activities in service to the Army
and the Nation. Some photographs are in color.

Year/Pages: 2009: 293 p. ; ill.

Stock #: 008-000-01020-0

U.S. Price: $35.00 Add To Cart

International Price: $49.00


Prices and availability are subject to change. In addition to online, orders may be submitted via telephone, fax (202-512-2104), email, and postal mail. Contact the GPO Contact Center between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., EST at 1-866-512-1800 (Toll-free) or 202-512-1800 (DC Metro area only) to place or inquire about orders. When placing an order via phone, please refer to processing code 3378. Send email orders to Send mail orders to: U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 979050, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.


U.S. Government Printing Office · 732 N. Capitol Street, NW · Washington, DC 20401


This announcement was sent out to AFIP staff last week; I've posted it here in light of today's Washington Post story - "Pathology Institute Defends Its Turf: We're Still Open, New Firm Is Told," By Steve Vogel, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, August 17, 2009.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:31 AM

AFIP's Pathology Consultative Services Remain Fully Functional
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP, is open for business and
absolutely will continue to receive and process pathology consultation
cases in our AFIP laboratories. The AFIP proudly continues to serve our
beneficiaries and customers as we have done ever since our founding in
Unfortunately, it has come to the attention of the AFIP that some
contributors are confused and under the false impression that the AFIP
will no longer be accepting cases for consultation after August 2009 or
that the AFIP has already transitioned into another organization.
This is not the case - the AFIP has not closed. We want to assure you
that the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and its AFIP labs are still
operational and located at 6825 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC, on the
campus of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The AFIP will continue to support and enhance the health and well being
of the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, other
Governmental Agencies, and the civilian medical community. The AFIP
continues to serve by providing medical, veterinary, and dental
expertise in pathology in diagnostic consultation, education, and
Looking toward the future years, the Department of Defense is in the
process of establishing an organization called the Joint Pathology
Center (JPC) which will succeed the AFIP when the AFIP is disestablished
in accordance with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in
September 2011. The JPC, in accordance with Section 722 of Public Law
110-181, will function as the reference center in pathology for the
Federal Government and will, at a minimum, provide pathology services to
the military healthcare system, Department of Veterans Affairs, and
other federal agencies.
The AFIP and other leaders in military healthcare are committed to
ensuring that DoD continues to have a one-stop shop for pathology
consultation and that the transition from the AFIP to the JPC in terms
of services will be transparent and seamless to our beneficiaries and
There should be no decrement in pathology consultative services as the
AFIP transitions to the JPC by 2011. We will keep you updated on this
process over the next several years.
So, please rest assured that the AFIP is open and definitely continues
to accept military, Veterans Affairs, and civilian cases in all
pathology departments and that the AFIP is committed to maintaining its
tradition of pathology consultative services, education and research.

NLM History of Medicine Summer of Seminars

History of Medicine Division
Summer of Seminars
Thursday, August 13, 2009, 2-3:30pm
NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A, NLM
Bethesda, MD

"Poster Children and the Construction of American International

Julia F. Irwin
Yale University

Throughout the twentieth century, American public health and medical
philanthropies relied on images of children to raise funds and awareness
for their international health and social welfare interventions. Such
images evoked innocence and vulnerability, but also promise and
possibility. Because of this combination of traits, representations of
children proved quite valuable for reformers trying to garner domestic
support for overseas assistance projects. They suggested, moreover, that
Americans had a moral obligation to share their biomedical, scientific,
and financial assets with the world. In a period in which the United
States was consolidating its political and economic influence in the
world to become a global power, these projections of altruistic American
internationalism carried important cultural weight.

The final HMD "Summer of Seminars" program will be held on Thursday,
August 27, 2-3:30pm, in the NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A. Miriam Posner
(Yale University) will speak on "Conventions of Display: Cultures of
Exhibition in Twentieth-Century Medicine."

All are Welcome

Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities
who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen
Greenberg at (301-435-4995), e-mail, or the
Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised
to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Friday, August 14, 2009

How good we have it

For all of the problems computers can give us, consider this. I've been processing a collection called the Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology, a compilation of personal papers, lab experiments, photos, correspondence, and so on of pathologists of note. Among them is Esmond R. Long, who published A History of Pathology in 1928 and A History of American Pathology in 1962 (among other books). In a letter to his publisher about the expected size of a new book, he asks if the publisher wants the Notes at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. He wants the publisher to, "Please decide now, so that I can number the pages accordingly." For us, in our cut-and-paste world and automatic renumbering, not a big deal, but for his 400-page book, I'd say it would be a pretty big inconvenience.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peter Parker painting collection online

Check out Yale's collection of clinical portraits commissioned by Peter Parker, which they've put online. These paintings were done in China by Lam Qua in the early 19th century. I'd seen a few reproduced before, but this is a very nice presentation of the whole collection.

Thanks to Masteribid for the tip.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

1336 new records added to EMU catalogue

Kathleen changed the Ball Ophthalmic Museum finding aid that she’d recently revised into a spreadsheet and we imported it into our EMU catalogue today. 1336 new records exist now.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cigars? Cigarettes? Gross photo?

The Washington Post is reporting that the US is going to follow the lead of Canada and other countries by putting graphic photographs of the damages caused by cigarettes on packaging. I'm glad to say that we've got a sample of Canada's packaging from some years ago - collected by Ass't Director for Collections Jim Connor, I think. I'm sure we'd be glad to get the US versions to complement it, if anyone reading this is a local smoker.

Roughly 1600 new records added to our EMU catalogue today

Jasmine converted the list of folders in the AFIP Historical Files to a spreadsheet and we imported them today. If you search on the title, you’ll get the folder title. A sample would be - Institutional Records of Afip or Museum - folder - Davis, Harry A. (1875-1951); Entomologist with AFIP  [AFIP Historical Files]  - Active - AFIP Box 55.


Hopefully we’ll get the catalogue open to the general public in 2010.

In the meantime, the existing finding aid is still online.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Another excellent cancer article in NY Times

Their series on the modern history of cancer continues.

Forty Years' War
Lack of Study Volunteers Hobbles Cancer Fight
Published: August 3, 2009
In the war on cancer, a major hurdle involves finding cancer patients willing to participate in clinical trials.

Michael Kimmelman on viewing art in a museum

We're not exactly an art museum, although we do have some pieces of art on the walls, but this article speaks to most museum experiences, I think, as it addresses the question of how does one view objects in a museum?

At Louvre, Many Stop to Snap but Few Stay to Focus
Published: August 3, 2009
Watching people look at art rekindles a question: What exactly are we looking for when we wander museums?

Friday, July 31, 2009

NLM History of Medicine Summer of Seminars

History of Medicine Division
Summer of Seminars
Thursday, August 6, 2009, 2-3:30pm
NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A, NLM
Bethesda, MD

"The Anatomist and the Book in the Early Sixteenth Century."

R. Allen Shotwell, Indiana University

The role of the book in the study of anatomy is an interesting one.
This presentation suggests that there are things to be learned by
looking at the history of anatomy as a topic in the larger history of
the book, but these lessons may not be as simple nor as pervasive as
some might think.

The next HMD "Summer of Seminars" program will be held on Thursday,
August 13, 2-3:30pm in the NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A. Julia F. Irwin
(Yale University) will speak on "Poster Children and the Construction of
American International Identity." The final program in the series will
be held Thursday, August 27, 2-3:30pm, also in the NLM Visitor Center,
Bldg 38A. Miriam Posner (Yale University) will speak on "Conventions of
Display: Cultures of Exhibition in Twentieth-Century Medicine."

All are Welcome

Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities
who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen
Greenberg at (301-435-4995), e-mail, or the
Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).

Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised
to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:

Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

History of battlefield medicine -

A former intern sent in this site - – which has some nice images, but note that the images don’t necessarily correspond to the text alongside them. There was no photography in the Napoleonic Wars for instance.


Monday, July 27, 2009

By popular demand! Weekday Medical Illustration class added at NMHM, August 6th.

“An Introduction to Techniques in Medical Illustration”

When: Thursday, August 6, 2009 (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)


Where: National Museum of Health and Medicine


What: This workshop will explore the delicate beauty of traditional carbon dust illustration. While working from real specimens, participants will learn about the careful observation and drawing techniques required to create beautiful and accurate drawings using carbon dust, colored pencil, and ink. Ages 13 to adult. All levels welcome.


Course leader: Elizabeth Lockett, Scientific Illustrator and Collections Manager of the Museum’s Human Developmental Anatomy Center


Pre-registration is required by July 31, 2009: or (202) 782-2673. Class limited to 15 students.


Cost: FREE!


Photo ID required.


Information: or (202) 782-2673

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New banner exhibition available from NLM

I am posting this message on behalf of a colleague.  Please direct any inquiries to her. Thanks!





The National Library of Medicine is accepting requests to host a new banner exhibition scheduled to be available October 4 2009. 

The title is Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wall-Paper”

In the late nineteenth century, at a time when women were challenging traditional ideas about gender that excluded them from political and intellectual life, medical and scientific experts drew on notions of female weakness to justify inequality between the sexes. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women's professional and creative opportunities.



As with our other banner exhibitions, we are asking host libraries to cover incoming FedX expenses, which usually run a few  hundred dollars. The booking period is six weeks. The online exhibition will feature K-12 lesson plans and a higher education module and will be available after Labor Day.


An additional note, historian Helen Horowitz advised on the project and developed the higher education module, and is currently writing a book about the topic. She’ll be speaking about her research on Gilman at the History of Medicine Division Seminar this September 9 for those who are interested.


Thank you.


Patricia Tuohy

Head, Exhibition Program

National Library of Medicine

8600 Rockville Pike

Building 38/Room 1E-21

Bethesda MD 20894

t: 301.435.5240

f: 301.402.0872




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Adler Museum Bulletin received

One of the publications we get is the Adler Museum Bulletin. The Adler is a medical museum in South Africa. The current issue arrived today and has got a nice article on the therapeutic uses of arsenic in it. Agatha Christie would be fascinated.


Monday, July 13, 2009

War Surgery book

Mike wrote a couple of days ago about the War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq book. We were able to get a disc with all of the images used in the book. For the last several months, on and off, I've been assigning each digital version a number, tracking down the corresponding one in the book and cross-referencing the number there, and building a spreadsheet with the numbers, diagnoses, and captions as noted in the book. When, if, I ever finish, it will all be uploaded into our database.

Here are two images I numbered today.

Radiographs of hand fracture stabilization with Kirschner wires.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wellcome Library Year in Review now available (PR)

The Wellcome is one of the great history of medicine collections -

The Wellcome Library Year In Review and vital stats are now online:

The Review covers our activities during 2008, specifically highlighting our digitisation programme. We also showcase some of our exciting  acquisitions from the year, including the casebooks of the 'father of modern forensics' Sir Bernard Spilsbury and the notebooks of double Nobel Prize winning geneticist Fred Sanger.

A limited number of print copies of the Year in Review will be available. If you would like to request a copy please contact

They link to a neat article about Spilsbury.

War Surgery book wins award

Dave Lounsbury one of the editors and authors wrote to me today saying:

I recv'd a letter today informing me that "War Surgery in Afghanistan & Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007" has won a national book award.

The American Medical Writers Association in Rockville, Maryland announces that "War Surgery": "is the winner of the distinguished 2009 AMWA Medical Book Award. AMWA's annual book awards "were established more than 30 years ago to recognize the very best in ... non-fictional medical writing." The textbook was "1 of 18 submitted ... and was evaluated by a panel of 4 judges."

The award will be formally presented in October in Dallas at the AMWA's 69th Annual Conference ... which may explain why notice of this award is not presently noted on its website

[For the record, the textbook was also nominated last spring for a Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, but in the end was not selected.]

The book has received uniformly favorable reviews from deployed medical officers (British & American) and in both lay (NYT, New York Review of Books, and The Economist) and peer-referenced (JAMA, NEJM, and Environmental & Wilderness Medicine, the journal of the Wilderness Medical Society) literature, as well as in the open media (BBC, NPR).

This is an excellent book, in the grand tradition of military medical publications, dating back to the Medical & Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. You can download the whole thing for free at the link above, or order the book from the Government Printing Office.

Flickr picture statistics

I spoke to someone who's writing a paper on Flickr use by archives the other day, so here's our most recent stats:

View counts

So far today Yesterday All time
Photos and Videos 295 689 1,049,485
Photostream 205 461 843,269
Sets 41 192 66,807

Total 541 1,342 1,959,561

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research photographic collection


In the 1960s and 70s (and possibly longer), doctors trained by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) were sent out to investigate tropical medicine while given cameras and film to document what they found. WRAIR had many photographs including film teams, all over the world including in Vietnam. The Vietnam still photos went to the National Archives when WRAIR moved into its current building, and the Medical Museum got 1/2 of the other still pictures that were left. We're now scanning WRAIR's third (thanks to their providing funding) and our third to create a digital collection that can be used by WRAIR and our researchers.


I put these samples of the first test batch of scans on Flickr. The captions are limited because they're being taken from a printout of an early computerized catalogue. As you can see, not all of the pictures deal directly with medicine.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm in IMDB?

Well, this was weird - I'm especially disappointed at being down 48%.

Michael Rhode 


STARmeter: ?
Down 48% in popularity this week.


  1. "Nova" (special thanks) (1 episode, 2004)
        - Life and Death in the War Zone (2004) TV episode (special thanks)


Museum's scanning statistics

So far, the Museum's had about 722,000 pages scanned, which doesn't work out to quite that many images since some of these are books that are then compiled into pdfs. Others are case files which the average person won't be able to see due to medical privacy restrictions. Overall it's a pretty impressive number though, and is still due to grow by 111,000 before the end of fiscal year 2009.

AFIP's online continuing medical education

I was in a meeting today on the digitization via scanning of the AFIP's records, and one part of that project is AskAFIP which provides courses for Continuing Medical Education credits. Doctors need CMEs to maintain their license. In June, AFIP provided about 2500 hours online at

You can also buy some of the Museum's photographs there - notably the McGee Russo-Japanese War collection which we haven't gotten online anywhere else yet.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Embryo Models Found

Jim Curley has been in contact with an anatomy professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School. It seems they are moving to new digs and a closet full of anatomical models had been found. Would the museum like them? Jim got some pics of the contents and were we excited. Not only were there what looked to be some Zeigler wax models, but there was a model that had originally been part of the Carnegie Collection. Beth, Jim and I went up today for a look and there were lots of Zeigler and Carnegie models! This is the kind of fun treasure hunt I expect most museum people live for, finding beautiful things thought the be lost.

Posted by Picasa

Bert Hansen on why we should celebrate today

See his blog post at

By popular demand: second Medical Illustration class added at NMHM, July 25th.

“An Introduction to Techniques in Medical Illustration”

When: Saturday, July 25, 2009 (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.)

**Note: The July 11th class has been filled to capacity. Spots for the July 25th class are filling quickly (only 9 left)—register today!


Where: National Museum of Health and Medicine


What: This workshop will explore the delicate beauty of traditional carbon dust illustration. While working from real specimens, participants will learn about the careful observation and drawing techniques required to create beautiful and accurate drawings using carbon dust, colored pencil, and ink. Ages 13 to adult. All levels welcome.


Course leader: Elizabeth Lockett, Scientific Illustrator and Collections Manager of the Museum’s Human Developmental Anatomy Center


Pre-registration is required by July 8, 2009: or (202) 782-2673. Class limited to 15 students.


Cost: FREE!


Photo ID required.


Information: or (202) 782-2673

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Are you up for some weirdness?

In one of those strange, how-did-I-get-here moments on the internet, I came across the abcnews website that shows some oddball x-rays. As they say, Viewer Discretion is Advised.