Friday, October 25, 2013

New book: THE LUCKY FEW: The Fall of Saigon and the Rescue Mission of the USS Kirk

Bookcover.jpgTHE LUCKY FEW
The Fall of Saigon and the Rescue Mission of the USS Kirk
by Jan K. Herman

Published by Naval Institute Press

Binding: Hardcover & eBook Available at Publication Date
Number of Pages: 192
Subject: Vietnam War
Date Available: November 15, 2013


As the Vietnam War reached its tragic climax in the last days of April 1975, a task force of U.S. Navy ships cruised off South Vietnam’s coast. Their mission was to support the evacuation of American embassy personnel and military advisers. But the task force was also assigned to secure the safety of South Vietnamese who had “sensitive” military information in their possession and whose lives would be in danger once the North Vietnamese consolidated their inevitable victory.

The magnitude of a nation’s final collapse had suddenly become tangible. For days prior to the fall of Saigon, the by-products of the North Vietnamese army’s relentless conquest included thousands of panicked refugees trying to flee the country in anything that would float or fly.

“It was Dunkirk in reverse,” observed Paul Jacobs, commanding officer of USS Kirk during Frequent Wind, the operation that turned the destroyer escort into a haven for refugees escaping South Vietnam. Kirk’s officers and enlisted personnel—trained as warriors—instantly transformed their man-of-war into a humanitarian assistance ship. Desperation and suffering gave way to reassurance as crew members fed their unexpected and anguished guests, dispensed medical care, diapered infants, and provided hope to a dispirited people.

The Lucky Few focuses on one small U.S. Navy warship from that task force. Kirk took part in the rescue of not only the remnants of the South Vietnamese fleet, but also dealt with 32,000 refugees on board those ships. Although the Vietnam War ended in chaos and shame, the epic story of USS Kirk and her success in rendering humanitarian assistance under inconceivable circumstances reflects one of America’s few shining moments during this military withdrawal. Almost forty years later The Lucky Few brings to light this relatively unknown heroic tale in the South China Sea of a people caught up in the death throes of a nation and their subsequent passage to freedom.

~ Advance Praise for The Lucky Few

“Operation Frequent Wind and the last days of the Vietnam War have remained largely absent from the public eye—until now. What an irony that such a catastrophic war comes to a close with one of the U.S. military’s greatest humanitarian efforts of the twentieth century. Jan Herman has conducted tremendous research in The Lucky Few to illustrate the immense courage displayed by the men of the USS Kirk (FF-1087), which led to the successful rescue of over 32,000 South Vietnamese. Congratulations to the men of the USS Kirk and to all of CTF 76-1.”

—The Honorable Richard L. Armitage, 13th U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

“Jan Herman’s thoroughly researched and beautifully written account of the USS Kirk and her crew’s participation in the final days of the Vietnam War, the fall of Saigon, and the evacuation at sea of thousands of Vietnamese refugees underscores both the tragedy and the triumph of war. This book illustrates the dual purpose of our Navy—a weapon of war and also an instrument to provide humanitarian assistance and care anywhere and anytime. This story, lost until this writing, needs to be read by every American sailor and citizen. They will see first hand our Navy in action. They will also see the courage, compassion, and the stellar leadership of Captain Jacobs and his brilliant USS Kirk crew.”

—Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr., MC, USN (Ret.), 36th Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy

“Jan Herman’s extensively researched and meticulously detailed account of the USS Kirk during the final weeks of the Vietnam War is a riveting portrait of heroic men in unheroic circumstances; it provides a fresh and essential perspective on this troubled chapter in American history.”

—Rory Kennedy, filmmaker

The Author

Jan K. Herman served as the historian of the Navy Medical Department and as special assistant to the Surgeon General for thirty-three years. He also produced an hour-long documentary, The Lucky Few, which has gained international acclaim since its premiere at the Smithsonian in 2010.

He is the author of Battle Station Sick Bay, Frozen in Memory, Navy Medicine in Vietnam, Murray’s Ark and Other Stories, and lives in Takoma Park, MD.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Famous Tumors on Radiolab

When we first released Famous Tumors, Rebecca Skloot's book about the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks (and her famous cells) had just hit the shelves. Since then, some interesting things have happened to both Henrietta's cells and her family. So, 4 years later, we have a newly updated show!

This hour, we poke and prod at the good, bad, and ugly sides of tumors -- from the growth that killed Ulysses S. Grant, to mushy lumps leaping from the faces of infected Tasmanian Devils, to a mass that awakened a new (though pretty strange) kind of euphoria for one man. Plus, the updated story of one woman's medically miraculous cancer cells, and how they changed modern science and, eventually, her family's understanding of itself.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

History of medicine articles in today's Washington Post

Washington museums' hidden treasures

By Roger Catlin, 

Washington Post October 13 2013

Three of these are medical and Judy Chelnick and Diane Wendt are quoted -

Jarvik-7 artificial heart

National Museum of American History

Marie Curie's radium

National Museum of American History

White Eagle's Indian Rattle Snake Oil Liniment

National Museum of American History

and this wirestory is making the rounds -

Einstein's brain a wonder of  connectedness

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Other Civil War legs in DC besides Daniel Sickles

NATIONAL Museum of Health and Medicine open in spite of government shutdown.

Who needs the Smithsonian and National Gallery when there's the Medical Museum?

By ,

Since it's a federal government museum, and I don't see how it can be open during a government shutdown. The Museum director is a GS government employee. Especially if the contractors have no federal employees to supervise them. Unless they've added a uniformed military presence to their supervisory chain...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mutter Museum features Civil War medicine

Philly's Mutter Museum sharpens focus on the Civil War's slain and ...
"So the Army created the Army Medical Museum during the war, in Washington. There was a standing order for physicans in the field -- when they see something ...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

BUMED's Office of Medical History's 1000th item added to the Medical Heritage Library

The Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's Office of Medical History is uploading their 1000th item to the Medical Heritage Library ( ).  Oddly enough, the item, a logbook from Dr. James Ambler, is not medical. Instead it documents polar weather conditions.

In 1883, Lieutenants Giles B. Harber and William H. Schuetze journeyed to Siberia's Lena Delta to retrieve the bodies and personal effects of the crew of USS Jeannette, an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole. Among the remains was the body of Passed Assistant Surgeon James Markham
Ambler (1848-1881), his personal journal and a logbook of atmospheric conditions that he maintained throughout the expedition (1879-1881). One hundred and thirty years later, Dr. Ambler's journal and weather observations, in the respective collections of the National Archives
(NARA) and the Bureau of Medicine (BUMED), are to be used in the "Old Weather" project ( ) headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and NARA. BUMED's historians brought the logbook to NARA which photographed it in 2012. Volunteers at the "Old Weather" project, which uses Navy logs to track climate, should soon finish the official deck logs and be able to work on transcribing Ambler's log ( ).

Two versions of "Atmospheric Observations on board U.S. Arctic Steamer Jeannette, 1879-1881" are being uploaded for use in different viewers - the double page where a reader can see the entire page for the day is at
The single page version, which may work better on tablets, is at

For all of the items uploaded by BUMED, click
Adding to the value of items in the MHL, a full-text search of the interiors of publications is provided by Harvard University's Countway Library. Updated once a month, this feature can be used at the MHL homepage at

Attached is an image of Ambler, taken from a historical plaque in the
Office's collections and a picture of the logbook cover

James L. Monro, FRCS (1939 - 2013), great-grandson of Major Walter Reed.

James L. Monro, FRCS (1939 - 2013), great-grandson of Major Walter Reed.

I was informed last week by Mrs. Sean (Mary) O'Dwyer, the great-grandaughter of Major Walter Reed, that her brother, James L. Monro, FRCS, (great-grandson of Reed) died 29 August 2013 (see below). Dr. Monro, an accomplished paediatric cardiac surgeon, died at his home in Southampton, England after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Major Reed (1851-1902) and his wife Emilie (Lawrence) had two children, MG Walter Lawrence Reed and Emilie (Blossom).

His son, MG Reed (1877-1956) married Lucy Blackford and they had two daughters, Mary and Landon.

Landon Reed (1906-1999?) married Dr. John Monro (1903-1993) of England. They had a son and daughter, the two great-grandchildren of WR named above, James (1939-2013) and Mary (b.1941), a Nightingale Nurse.

In early 2000, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Yellow Fever Board, Dr. Monro was invited to attend ceremonies as guest of honor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Hospital obligations in England prevented him from doing so. His sister Mary, however, was keenly interested and, welcomed in his place, she visited the old Walter Reed AMC in October. She was warmly received by the staff. She gave a brief talk describing the family tree of Major Reed, toured the hospital, visited the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences where a lecture on the Yellow Fever Board was presented, and was shown archival material at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (then at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) by Mr. Michael Rhode.

Dr. Monro, a renown cardiac surgeon in his own right, was a modest man who seldom, if ever, alluded to his family heritage. But he kept prominently displayed in his office at Southampton General Hospital an old framed National Geographic map of northern Virginia (titled "Reaches of the Nation's Capital"). The map itself was illuminated, so to speak, with a border of a dozen small portraits of local historical figures and their birthplaces. Included in these embroidered figures was Major Reed -- Monro's only tip-of-the-hat to his great grandfather.

His funeral will be a private service for family only, 6 September.

A memorial service is scheduled for 23 October at Romsey Abbey, Hampshire, England.

-Dave Edmond Lounsbury, MD, FACP

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Passing of Nancy Dosch, NLM film curator

I was very sorry to receive this today, although I've known Nancy was in poor health for months. She was a great help and resource to me both at the Medical Museum, and now at BUMED.

Mike Rhode



Dear Colleagues, 


It saddens me greatly to inform you that Nancy Dosch, our dear colleague, has passed following a valiant fight for her health.


We will remember Nancy together for her infectious love of NLM's world-renowned audiovisual collections, and for her unwavering enthusiasm toward projects of scholarship, education, and public history that sought to reveal the value of the moving image.


Paul Theerman, who worked with Nancy for many years, has shared the following thoughts:


"Nancy was an esteemed colleague who has always had a real presence among us. Her work is now cut short. She belonged to a small community of audiovisual archivists working on the premier medium of the 20th century. Nancy's loss will be keenly felt among her peers. At NLM what I remember especially is her great dedication to the collection, its development, preservation, and cataloging. I remember her giving freely of her time with people coming to use the collections. I remember her dedicated work with donors, before and after the donation, especially those like Dr. Martine Work, whose husband, Dr. Telford Work, had created his films as home movies; some of them are now up in NLM's digital collections. I remember the discussions that she and I had over the historical audiovisuals collection, and while we did not always agree, I always admired her dedication and commitment, and I think that the collections are better for it!"


Personally, I will remember and always appreciate Nancy for her expertise, her generosity, and her sense of humor. I miss her already, as I am sure many of you do also, and I ask you to please join me in remembering Nancy for all she gave to the NLM during her thirteen-year tenure here as head of the historical audiovisual program within the History of Medicine Division.


Nancy received her doctorate in history from The Johns Hopkins University, completing her thesis entitled "Exploring alternatives: The Use of exercise as a medical therapeutic in mid-nineteenth century America," a copy of which, of course, is available here at the NLM.


Nancy dedicated her thesis to her parents, and to her father "whose love of history became a living legacy." Nancy's father would be proud that her love of history has been – and will remain – a legacy here at the NLM.


Funeral and related arrangements have yet to be announced; they will be forwarded when available.



Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD

Chief, History of Medicine Division

National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health

Monday, August 26, 2013

NLM History of Medicine Lecture on Medical Museum and SG Library

Dear Colleagues,

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture,
to be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in
the Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine, Building
38A, Bethesda, MD.

"The Civil War, the Army Medical Museum, and the Surgeon General's
Library: Medical Practice and the Science of American Medicine"

Shauna Devine, PhD; Western University, London, Ontario

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:

Sponsored by:
NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief

Event contact:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine, NIH

Monday, August 12, 2013

US Navy's BUMED's Office of Medical History interruption in service

Due to a flood over the weekend, th4e US Navy's BUMED's Office of Medical History will have an interruption in archival services. 95% of the collection was completely unaffected, but due to wet flooring and drywall, all of it will have to be packed up and placed in storage for at least a month. A set of 19th century hospital plans and maps did get wet, but are being freeze-dried.

For the next four weeks, limited reference services will be available. Telephone service has been interrupted, and voice mail messages should not be left.

Contacts are Archivist Michael Rhode at
or Historian Andre Sobocinski at

Friday, August 9, 2013

Renowned Vascular Surgeon to Complete Donating His Vietnam War Medical Collection to NMHM

Friday, Aug 09, 2013  Fort Detrick Standard
 Renowned Vascular Surgeon to Complete Donating His Vietnam War Medical Collection to NMHM
 by Melissa Brachfeld, National Museum of Health and Medicine
Additional material being donated by Norman Rich who sent similar material 40 years ago.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

800th item uploading to Medical Heritage Library by BUMED

Interview with former POW, LT Francis Barker, US Army survivor of the Bataan Death March and the Oryoku Maru (October 21, 2003)

Michael Rhode
Archivist / Curator
US Navy BUMED Office of Medical History

mailing address:
7700 Arlington Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22042

physical address:
BUMED Detachment, Falls Church.
Four Skyline Place, Suite 602,
5113 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Museum Bridges Gap between Medicine of the Past and Medicine of the Future


Monday, July 1, 2013

600th item uploaded to Medical Heritage Library by Navy Office of Medical History

United States Navy Medical News Letter Vol. 40 No. 12, 21 December 1962

Circulating Now blog, from the NLM's History of Medicine Division

Dear Colleagues:

On behalf of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of
Medicine, I am pleased to invite you to the launch of our new blog,
Circulating Now, which is intended to encourage greater exploration and
discovery of one of the world's largest and most treasured history of
medicine collections.

Circulating Now will bring the NLM's diverse historical collections to
life in new and exciting ways for researchers, educators, students, and
anyone else who is interested in the history of medicine. Whether you are
familiar with NLM's historical collections, or you are discovering them
for the first time, Circulating Now will be an exciting and engaging
resource to bookmark, share, and discuss with other readers.

Kicking off Circulating Now will be a series of posts that draws on the
NLM's historical collections and associated others to reenact in a unique
way a tumultuous event in medical and American history which occurred 132
years ago this summer: the assassination of, and attempts to save, our
nation's twentieth President, James A. Garfield.

Come visit Circulating Now at:

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
Bethesda, MD



Sunday, June 30, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Medical trade literature

One of the strengths of the NMHM's archives is it's trade literature / advertising material in the GMPI collection. Here's Steve Heller's Daily Heller blog pointing out the designer of Upjohn's Scope magazine

5.31.13 / Will Burtin's Beauty


The May-June 1955 issue of Print magazine, co-edited by Leo Lionni, was pretty special. In addition to Lioinni's bi-monthly injection of art and art history into the editorial mix of the magazine, an insert written and designed by Will Burtin titled "A Program in Print: Upjohn and Design" is seamlessly folded into the magazine.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Eben Smith, Civil War amputee

Eben Smith's case is well-documented because he's one of the rare survivors of an amputation at the hip. More images can be seen at

"Indomitable Will" saved local Civil War amputee
Photo Courtesy Surgeon Genera;'s Office, Army Medical Museum FRANKLIN — Bayview Cemetery is the final resting place of a Civil War soldier who survived ...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Slate finds some posters from the Medical Museum

As far as I can tell, these were never put into production

Four WWII Posters That Taught Soldiers How To Identify Chemical ...
Slate Magazine
The advent of chemical warfare during WWI was traumatic, and the stories from the front ... Thanks to Eric Boyle of the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

With all due respect to my friend, Eric, back when I was the archivist of the Museum, I put these and other pictures of chemical warfare up on Flickr in 2006 at 
Since I left in the fall of 2011, they haven't added any images to the almost 4,000 I loaded here - 
Similar World War II posters can be seen at the National Library of Medicine's Images in the History of Medicine website.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

CNN's World's 10 weirdest medical museums

World's 10 weirdest medical museums
CNN International
In honor of International Museum Day on May 18, here are the world's weirdest medical museums. Bart's Pathology Museum, England A university collection ...

Friday, May 10, 2013

Body Worlds plastination exhibit opens in NYC

Comfortable Out of Their Own Skin
New York Times May 10 2013

Three rare photographs of the US Navy Museum of Hygiene

All three images are bound in a copy of "Catalogue of The Exhibits in the Museum of Hygiene. Medical Department of the United States Navy." Compiled by Philip S. Wales, Medical Director, U.S.N. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893 now held in BUMED's Office of Medical History.

13-0103-003 The Museum. Present Home. 1707 New York Avenue, N.W. 1887-1893.
13-0103-002 The Museum. 2nd Home. S.E. Corner 18th & G Sts, NW. 1882-1887. 13-0103-002 13-0103-001 The Museum. Birth-place. 18th + K Sts, N.W. 1879-1882. 13-0103-001

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Posters at the National Library of Medicine

'Could you poison your child?': images from a century of medical propaganda; Health, history, and design collide at the National Library of Medicine
 By Amar Toor
The Verge April 12, 2013
The first image, about a sailor blinded at Pearl Harbor, is by the noted cartoonist Alex Raymond.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Medical museum in Bangkok

Bangkok's macabre museum of death
New Zealand Herald
By Emily Gibson Emily Gibson discovers the gruesome displays on offer at Bangkok's Siriraj Medical Museum - the Museum of Death.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New medical museums article out

Stephen C. Kenny. "The Development of Medical Museums in the Antebellum American South: Slave Bodies in Networks of Anatomical Exchange." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87.1 (2013): 32-62.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New article on Body Worlds and the tradition of displaying human remains

"Skinless Wonders": Body Worlds and the Victorian Freak Show
Nadja Durbach
J Hist Med Allied Sci (2012)
This was an overview article - interesting, but not too theoretical.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New article on Body Worlds and Victorian freak shows

  1. J Hist Med Allied Sci (2012) doi: 10.1093/jhmas/jrs035

"Skinless Wonders": Body Worlds and the Victorian Freak Show

  1. Nadja Durbach

+ Author Affiliations

  1. Department of History, University of Utah, Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building, 215 South Central Campus Drive, Room 310, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.
  1. Email:


In 2002, Gunther von Hagens's display of plastinated corpses opened in London. Although the public was fascinated by Body Worlds, the media largely castigated the exhibition by dismissing it as a resuscitated Victorian freak show. By using the freak show analogy, the British press expressed their moral objection to this type of bodily display. But Body Worlds and nineteenth-century displays of human anomalies were linked in more complex and telling ways as both attempted to be simultaneously entertaining and educational. This essay argues that these forms of corporeal exhibitionism are both examples of the dynamic relationship between the popular and professional cultures of the body that we often erroneously think of as separate and discrete. By reading Body Worlds against the Victorian freak show, I seek to generate a fuller understanding of the historical and enduring relationship between exhibitionary culture and the discourses of science, and thus to argue that the scientific and the spectacular have been, and clearly continue to be, symbiotic modes of generating bodily knowledge.

'Medical museum' auction in Canada

Odd sale catalogue rattles a few bones
The Age
The skeletons are among 3000 items from the former medical museum at Kryal Castle theme park, being sold in 291 lots. The skeletons are listed as Lot 285 ...

NLM History of Medicine Lecture: Influenza epidemic

Following on the National Library of Medicine's participation in the recent symposium Shared Horizons: Data, Biomedicine, and the Digital Humanities, and as part of its ongoing cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities, you are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Tuesday, April 30, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in the NLM Visitor Center, Building 38A on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD.

The speaker will be Dr. E. Thomas Ewing, from Virginia Tech, who will speak on
"'Scourge on Wane; Fatalities Fewer': Interpreting Newspaper Coverage of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic."


Please note that this lecture was announced earlier under a somewhat different title.


This lecture will describe how a team of researchers is harnessing the power of data mining techniques with the interpretive analytics of the humanities and social sciences to understand how newspapers shaped public opinion and represented authoritative knowledge during the deadly pandemic that struck the United States in 1918. The research methods developed through this project promise new insights into understanding the spread of information and the flow of disease in other societies facing the threat of pandemics.

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:

Sponsored by

NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief

Event contact:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine,

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

George Marshall Medical Museum in UK profiled

TV antiques show to highlight macabre museum
Evesham Journal
A MEDICAL museum based at a Worcester hospital and known for its ghoulish ... The George Marshall Medical Museum, based at the Charles Hastings Education ...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bontecou's Civil War medical photographs

Yale's Cushing-Whitney Library has a collection of RB Bontecou's Civil War photographs that is similar to part of the NMHM's one. You can see scans at


Some are new to me - especially this one with this neat human artifact

Friday, April 5, 2013

Metropolitan Museum of Art's Civil War exhibit

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Civil War exhibit includes photographs of wounded soldiers by Dr. Reed Bontecou that are now owned by Dr. Stanley Burns. Bontecou also sent copies of his photographs to the Medical Museum. Dr. Burns recently wrote a book on Bontecou's pictures.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New art exhibit at National Museum of Health and Medicine

Brain-injury survivors, including war and sports victims, are ...
Washington Post
Portraits Exhibit honors brain-injury survivors 'Whack'ed,' National Museum of Health and Medicine Hemorrhages, blunt-force trauma and bullet wounds don't ...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Who's buried in Booth's grave remains an issue

Booth mystery must remain so - for now
Their request for access to an alleged Booth specimen - three cervical vertebrae in the collection of the National Museum of Health and Medicine in ...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Death of Lorenz Zimmerman

Dr. Lorenz Zimmerman, a long-time Armed Forces Institute of Pathology staff member, died recently. Much of his work is in the medical museum, including early logbooks for the ophthalmic pathology registry. On a personal note, Dr. Zimmerman was a very nice and pleasant person to work with. An oral history the museum did with him twenty years ago can be seen here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Brain awareness week at NMHM

Brain Awareness Week looks to make science cool
The National Museum of Health and Medicine include a couple larger-than-life brain models from the 1950's, a far cry from today's real-life educational ...


Medical museum and library staff quoted on 10-year Iraq war

More than 50,000 U.S. troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan
Medical care, front-line tactics aid recovery rates
By Lee Bowman Scripps Howard News Service
 March 16, 2013

The article quotes Alan Hawk of the medical museum and Ken Koyle of NLM.

Another version is here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New issue of The Grog, A Journal of Navy Medical History and Culture

It is with great pleasure that we present to you the latest edition of The Grog, A Journal of Navy Medical History and Culture. In this issue, we offer our readers an original assortment of stories, essays, trivia and book reviews covering the topics of: the life and lessons of the heroic World War I nurse Edith Cavell; a look back at Hennesey, the only Navy Medicine-themed TV sitcom in history; the Navy's 115-year history of Global Health Engagement; Navy's Medicine and the Knickerbocker Theater Disaster; an illustrated look at service with the FMF; oral history interviews and their application to the arts; notes from the Navy Medical Archives; and a short review of Larry Berman's book, "Zumwalt." As always we hope you enjoy this tour on the high seas of Navy Medicine's past.


The Grog is accessible through the link below.  PDF versions are available upon request. 

Issue 36, 2013



Very Respectfully,




André B. Sobocinski

Historian/Publications Manager

Office of Medical History

Communications Directorate (M09B7C)

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another staff departure at NMHM

I hear through the grapevine that Mike Stanley, director of logistics for the Museum, is retiring. The hiring freeze on DOD may mean that he can't be replaced for a while. I'm sure Mike's job was pretty thankless for a long time as the closing of AFIP and the setting up of both a new museum and a new warehouse occurred on his watch.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Navy Medicine's 1993 John Wilkes Booth issue online now

The January 1993 issue of Navy Medicine is digitized and online. It features the article "Identification and Autopsy of John Wilkes Booth: Reexamining the Evidence" by L. F. Guttridge which argues that the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln may not have been caught and executed. Booth's vertebrae are in the Medical Museum.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Here's a cute article about a mini-medical museum

Hospital receives book with 5000 19th century remedies
Idaho State Journal
SODA SPRINGS — The Mini-Medical Museum at Caribou Memorial Hospital received a book from a descendent of Dr. William H. Anderson, who was a registered ...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

PR: Wellcome Library launches Codebreakers: makers of modern genetics

Yesterday saw the official launch of Codebreakers: makers of modern
genetics, the Wellcome Library's new digital resource which contains over
a million pages of books and archives relating to the history of genetics.

A further half million pages will be added over the coming weeks from the
holdings of the Wellcome Library and our partner institutions at Cold
Spring Harbor Laboratory Library, King's College London, University
College London, Glasgow University Archives and the Churchill Archives

Codebreakers contains twenty archives including the papers of Francis
Crick, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, as well as
archives of the Eugenics Society, made available by kind permission of the
Council of the Galton Institute, the papers of J B S Haldane, and the
collections of Guido Pontecorvo and his students Malcolm Ferguson-Smith
and James Renwick at Glasgow University.

Codebreakers also contains over a thousand digitised books covering the
science, history and social and cultural aspects of genetics and related
disciplines, mostly from the 20th century.

You can find out more about Codebreakers and the collections we have
digitised on our website

Phoebe Harkins
Communications Co-ordinator
Wellcome Library
The Wellcome Trust
183 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7611 8628
Mob:+44 (0) 7739 194907
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7611 8369

The Wellcome Trust is a charity registered in England, no. 210183. Its
sole trustee is The Wellcome Trust Limited, a company registered in
England, no. 2711000, whose registered office is at 215 Euston Road,
London NW1 2BE, UK.

An anatomical flap book, animated

Anatomical Flap-Up Illustrations from 1901 Adapted as Animated GIFs


Interesting article on medieval dissection

Grotesque Mummy Head Reveals Advanced Medieval Science

Doctors in medieval Europe weren't as idle as it may seem, as a new analysis of the oldest-known preserved human dissection in Europe reveals

March 12: NLM History of Medicine Lecture

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held on Tuesday, 12 March, 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in the Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine, Building 38A, Bethesda, MD. In recognition of Women's History Month, NLM presents:
"Dr. Sarah Loguen Fraser's Legacy of Social Justice in Medicine"
Sarah Berry, PhD
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
This presentation will address Dr. Fraser's entrance to medicine as the daughter of abolitionists, her career emphasis on providing healthcare for underserved African Americans, Native Americans, and Dominican women and children, and what a recovery project that continues the work of NLM's "Changing the Face of Medicine" exhibition can teach students about historical and present intersections among health, medicine, and justice.
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:
Sponsored by
NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief
Event contact:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine, NIH

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Do you know where the National Museum of Health and Medicine is located?"

Sure I do. It's on an Army base, in an industrial park, in a suburban neighborhood...

The National Museum of Health and Medicine
However, you'd have a hard time answering the following question, "Excuse me, do you know where the National Museum of Health and Medicine is located?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New medical museum opens in Kansas

New medical museum opens
Shawnee Dispatch
The museum tells that story through exhibits focusing on different countries, Native Americans, diseases, medicines, medical specialties and other areas of ...


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mutter museum article

Travel: It's what??? Philadelphia's Mutter Museum is 'disturbingly ...
Waterloo Record
The nation's finest and oldest medical museum — it's celebrating its 150th anniversary March 4 — bills itself as "disturbingly informative" and that is ...

Waterloo Record

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bits on medical museums on 2 continents

This is from a first-time visitor to the National Museum of Health and Medicine, who reflects on medical care during the Civil War and today:
C'est la guerre: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
by Donna McNeely Burke
In this article, a writer's favorite museum to revisit is the Welcome:
Literary City: Deborah Levy's London
Booker Prize–shortlisted author Deborah Levy takes us on a tour of her literary London. From her cozy garden shed to the medical museum she revisits to why you can wear a bikini on the bus and no one cares, she explores her city with Henry Krempels.
Feb 22, 2013

Why 'Lincoln' should win an Oscar for Best Picture...

...because there's a brief scene of General Daniel Sickles' leg on display at the Medical Museum. Sickles lost his leg at the battle of Gettysburg. The movie is inaccurate as it shows the leg still fully fleshed - which would have stunk amazingly as the flesh decayed off the bone. Instead Museum prepator Schafhirt would have cut and boiled the flesh off, and then wired the bones together so they looked like this picture.
Another scene of a pit of amputated limbs seems to have been influenced by RB Bontecou's photograph "Field Day." And here's the original label for Surgical Photograph 43, Sickle's "Right Tibia and Fibula comminuted by a Cannon Ball."

Upcoming lecture on Medical Museum in NY

What is a sense of place in relation to corporeal subjectivity? If an amputee leaves limb in one place and occupies body in another, how do we define place as rooted by personal location? Likewise if a nation is divided in two by war, what does it mean for a medical museum to display fragments of the bodies of honorable combatants and amputees? How does a museum shape our sense of self, our ideas about nationhood and place, and aid in collective mourning? I argue that the U.S. Army Medical Museum, founded in 1862 during the American Civil War, represented parts of the human body through practices of institutional display and within the pages of sponsored medical publications as both aesthetic objects and medically educational tools. Through an engagement with representations of corporeal fracture in the writings of S. Weir Mitchell and in period photography, lithography, and the field sketches of Winslow Homer, this paper argues that corporeal fracture - made evident within the walls of the U.S. Army Medical Museum and its publications - complicates fixed notions about placement and displacement during and after the American Civil War making living specimens out of some and offering a location for mourning for a nation. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

American Registry of Pathology retains museum staff contract

The American Registry of Pathology has a long, convoluted history, but was regularized in 1976 with a Congressional charter to support the now-defunct Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. During the time I worked in the Museum, they supplied contract labor for about 2/3 of the staff of the Museum. With the awarding of an almost $6 million dollar contract last week, that role will apparently continue.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Index to "Photographs of Surgical Cases and Specimens" online now

 A PDF scan of the finding aid for the Civil War pictures taken at and published by the Army Medical Museum - Index to "Photographs of Surgical Cases and Specimens" and Surgical Photographs, 3rd edition (1994) has been put online at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

African-American Civil War Surgeons in the NLM Collections lecture

You are cordially invited to the next NLM History of Medicine lecture, to be held Tuesday, 12 February 2013 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., in the Lister Hill Auditorium, National Library of Medicine, Building 38A, Bethesda, MD.  In recognition of African-American History Month, we present:
"Oak Leaves on his Shoulders: Discovering African-American Civil War Surgeons in the NLM Collections."
Jill L. Newmark
Exhibition Registrar/Traveling Exhibition Service,
History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine
During the American Civil War, African American men and women served as medical personnel in hospitals and on the battlefield.  Histories of Civil War Medicine often overlook their participation and contributions, since few personal accounts of black surgeons and nurses exist and materials are often hidden amongst the thousands of Civil War records throughout the country including the National Library of Medicine.  This presentation explores one hospital in Washington, D.C. and follows the journey of discovery that uncovered several African American Civil War surgeons.  The presentation will highlight newly discovered materials from the History of Medicine Division and how they illuminate the story of these surgeons. 
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:
Sponsored by
NLM's History of Medicine Division
Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, Chief
Event contact:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine, NIH

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Newspaper profile of the Mutter Museum

See Albert Einstein's brain and other matters of medical history ...
Allentown Morning Call
The nation's finest and oldest medical museum — celebrating its 150th anniversary March 4 — bills itself as "disturbingly informative" and that is ...