The culture of ancient Rome banned the moving or dividing of corpses. Christians of the third and fourth centuries maintained the desire for proper burial. A call for corporeal integrity runs throughout medieval culture. Bodies intact were ready for the Last Judgment when soul and body were reunited. [Read more…] about Napoleon’s Private Parts On Fifth Avenue: A Cautionary Tale
This week on The Historians Podcast, Jennet Conant discusses her book The Great Secret: The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer. Also heard is film maker Nick Spark who lobbied for U.S. government recognition of medical doctor Stewart Alexander whose work chronicling the Bari disaster in southern Italy was the impetus to developing chemotherapy. [Read more…] about Secrets, Poison Gas and Chemotherapy (Podcast)
The nurse’s cap, which was a de rigeur part of the nurse’s uniforms up until the end of the 20th century, evolved from a nun’s wimple, the traditional head covering. The larger caps had a practical purpose in keeping the hair in place, but by the First World War, the caps had shrunk to almost decorative purposes. By mid-century they were more a symbol of accomplishment and nursing pride. Capping ceremonies were held to commemorate the completion of a nurse’s studies. By the 1970s, they were almost totally out of favor, and largely not required. Today, bouffant caps or surgeon’s caps have replaced them, when needed. [Read more…] about Nursing Uniforms: A Short History
What historians now describe as the Victorian Age, was then referred to as the Electric Era. Electricity lit up city centers and transformed the means of communication. Constant availability of power led to automation which, in turn, allowed for the mass production of goods. Electricity gradually entered the home and convenience stores were filled with new household devices. Even the death penalty went electric. [Read more…] about Electropathic Cure: Quackery in the Electric Era
What we call “scrubs” originated as the white gowns and drapes that were worn by surgeons and operating staff. At first, everything was white – the doctor’s coats, the operating gowns and the nurse’s uniforms. Operating rooms were also a gleaming sanitary white, with bright task lighting. [Read more…] about Medical Scrubs: A Short History
Saranac Lake, NY’s history is full of professionals in medicine and science who had a passion for learning and an intense curiosity about the natural world. [Read more…] about Doctors in the Garden of Science
Thinkers of the Enlightenment rejected such notions. Having declared medical practice and religious doctrine as being incompatible, they initiated research in anesthetics. In 1799, chemist Humphry Davy undertook his exploration of the therapeutic potential of nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
The benefits of this gas were not fully tested for some time, which opened up opportunities for quacks to fool an eager but gullible public. [Read more…] about The Democracy of Dentures: Samuel Colt To Charles Goodyear
I imagine there was a lot more hand-wringing prior to the Covid-19 lockdown in Switzerland as compared to other countries, because since 2008 it has been a federal crime there to isolate social animals. Makes you wonder if Swiss authorities have brought charges against themselves yet, or whether they’re waiting until after the crisis lets up. [Read more…] about Social Isolation: Live Long and Prosper Together
Through Sophie’s Eyes (Cahaba, 2008) is a remarkable memoir by Sophie Kussmaul (1875-1968), granddaughter of Princess Regina Henry, first cousin to Frederick III, Emperor of Germany, and niece of Dr. Adolf Kussmaul, a noted Heidelberg physician.
Edited by Sinclair Seevers, the memoir spans her first six decades, two thirds of Kussmaul’s long life. It’s a vivid account of her shy childhood in the 1870s through the years of the Great Depression. [Read more…] about Memoir Recounts The Remarkable Life of Sophie Kussmaul
The Office of Cultural Education (OCE), made up of the New York State Archives, Library and Museum, has been working to support New York State’s cultural community throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. [Read more…] about NYS Pandemic Documentation Initiative Underway