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On the left So, What's New in the Past in blue lettering above The Multiple Meanings of Medical History in the bottom in red lettering. A montage of six images. The far left is a man is being beaten with a stick by another man; a third man stands to the left holding a watch, timing the beating. Next is a oman, half-length, left pose, full face; holding Cushman's Menthol Inhaler. Next a group of four physicians sit in consultation, two with walking sticks to their noses, while the patient looks on from his bed. Next a black and white half length, full face, seated at desk covered with books and papers, hand to chin of William Osler. Next a black and white photograph of Dr. Harvey Cushing dressed in medical scrubs and wearing gloves standing at the bedside of a young patient lying on their side with bandages on their head and covered with white sheets. Finally a head and shoulders photograph of Henry Sigrest in an advertisment for a talk.

HISTORY as Inspiration

By the turn of the twentieth century, the American Medical Association had mostly succeeded in winning its struggle for legitimacy and the medical profession was reorganizing under the banner of modern science. At this juncture, medical history became a means of preserving the best of traditional values at a time of rapid change.

New forms of medical education promoted the research ideal and clearly represented the new scientific spirit in medicine. But the increased emphasis on the "science" of the profession created anxieties among some practitioners and professors that the humanistic side of medical care would be lost. Medicine would cease being an art and a calling, becoming instead merely a technical discipline.

At Johns Hopkins University, professor of medicine William Osler, the beloved teacher and "Chief", used his passion for old books to inspire students with the virtues of history. Osler taught his students to model themselves on the exemplary lives of the great physicians of the past who embodied clinical wisdom and the values of courage, dedication, and empathy. Osler and his followers used history to celebrate the highest ideals of a scientific, yet sensitive and selfless, profession.

This photograph taken in the pharmacology lab at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in the 1920s shows medical students intently at work on their experiments. By this time, American medical education had been drastically overhauled, with a new focus on "hands on" science and rigorous demonstration.

Black and white photograph of a pharmacology laboratory featuring students at various tables performing scientific experiments.
Pharmacology laboratory
ca. 1920s
Photograph

Courtesy of the Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Archives

The Medical School of the University of Michigan was one of the leaders in the scientific reform of medical education. The University of Michigan also encouraged coeducation in the training of male and female medical students.

Two Centuries of American Medicine 1776-1976 by James Bordley, III, M.D., and A. McGehee Harvey, M.D. open on pages 20 and 21 to show the section on efforts to effect improvement of medical education 1840-1870. On page 21 is an exterior view of the Chemical Laboratory of the University of Michigan in the 1870s.
James Bordley, III, M.D., and A. McGehee Harvey, M.D.
Two Centuries of American Medicine 1776-1976
Philadelphia, 1976
NLM Call Number: WZ 70 AA1 B6t 1976, pages 20-21
Copyright 1976, Reprinted with permission from Elsevier Science
Book

The historical essay on "Medical Lore in the Older English Dramatists" had first been presented to the Historical Club of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Prominently published here in one of the most esteemed scientific medical journals of the time, it illustrates the high regard historical studies had attained for the medical leaders of the day.

Volume five of the Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital open to page 72 and 73 featuring an article by Robert Fletcher. On page 73 is an illustration of four views of hematology cells.
Robert Fletcher
The Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Vol. 5, 1895. p. 72-73.
NLM Call Number: W1 BU854F
Journal

This is the first American medical history source book, designed for study and teaching purposes. It was published by Charles N.B. Camac, one of Osler's former house officers who went on to a career at Cornell Medial School and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Cream colored title page of Epoch-Making Contributions to Medicine, Surgery and the Allied Sciences, being reprints of those communications which first conveyed epoch-making observations to the scientific world, together with biographical sketches of the observers by Charles N.B. Camac.
Charles N.B. Camac, M.D. (1868-1940)
Epoch-Making Contributions to Medicine, Surgery and the Allied Sciences, being reprints of those communications which first conveyed epoch-making observations to the scientific world, together with biographical sketches of the observers
Philadelphia, 1909
NLM Call Number: WZ 40 C172e 1909, Title Page
Book

This is the published version of notes taken by Joseph H. Pratt when he was a clinical clerk on Osler's service during his medical education at Johns Hopkins. Pratt later taught at the medical schools of Harvard and Tufts universities. Here he gives a vivid eye-witness account of Osler's method of clinically-integrated historical instruction.

Pages 34 and 35 of A Year with Osler 1896-1897: Notes taken at his Clinics in The Johns Hopkins Hospital by Joseph H. Pratt featuring clinical notes.
Joseph H. Pratt (1872-1956)
A Year with Osler 1896-1897: Notes taken at his Clinics in The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, 1949
NLM Call Number: WZ 100 O82p 1949, pages 34-35
Book

In this article, noted surgeon Lewis Pilcher describes medical history, in Osler's spirit, as "an antitoxin for medical commercialism." Pilcher served as editor of Annals of Surgery, America's leading surgical journal, from 1885 to 1934.

Volume 34 of The Physician and Surgeon, a professional medical journal open to pages 144 and 145. Page 144 has a head and shoulders photograph of Johann Flintermann. Page 145 begins an article by Lewis S. Pilcher titled An Antitoxin for Medical Commercialism.
The Physician and Surgeon, Vol. 34, No. 4, 1912. p. 144-145
NLM Call Number: W1 PH773T
Journal

Osler collected in this popular volume his previously published biographical and inspirational essays on Sir Thomas Browne, William Harvey, John Locke, and several favorite subjects. Many had originally been read at the Historical Club of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Titlep page and frontispiece of An Alabama Student and Other Biographical Essays by William Osler. The frontispiece is a black and white engraving of the head and shoulders right pose of John Bassett.
William Osler (1849-1919)
An Alabama Student and Other Biographical Essays
New York, 1909
NLM Call Number: WZ 112 O82a 1908, Title Page
Book

Cushing won the Pulitzer Prize for this meticulous and loving biography.

Pages 552 and 553 of The Life of Sir William Osler by Harvey Cushing. Page 553 features snapshots of Osler at the bedside by T. W. Clarke. The four snapshots of bedside visits are titled inspection, palpatation, ausculation, and contemplation.
Harvey Cushing (1869-1939)
The Life of Sir William Osler, Volume 1
Oxford, 1925
NLM Call Number: WZ 100 O82Cu 1925, Pages 552-553
Book

The first volume of the first major medical history journal published in the United States. Packard and the majority of associate editors were Osler's well-placed American friends, former students, or former colleagues.

Title page of volume 1 of Annals of Medical History. It features an oval sculture in the center of the bust of Hieronymus Fracastorius.
Francis R. Packard, M.D., editor
Annals of Medical History, Vol. 1, 1917. Title Page
NLM Call Number: W1 AN61G
Journal

Cushing (1869-1939) had been William Osler's junior colleague at Johns Hopkins University before moving on to a distinguished career at Harvard and Yale.

Black and white photograph of Dr. Harvey Cushing dressed in medical scrubs and wearing gloves standing at the bedside of a young patient lying on their side with bandages on their head and covered with white sheets. There is a baby doll leaning up against the patient.
Dr. Harvey Cushing and a young patient
1928
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 2
Photographic reproduction


Caricature of Sir William Osler above Johns Hopkins Hospital as an angel.
Max Brödel (1870-1941)
The Saint-Johns Hopkins Hospital
1896
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 5136.21
Photographic reproduction of a drawing in the Max Brödel Archives, Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Black and white half length, full face, seated at desk covered with books and papers, hand to chin of William Osler.
Sir William Osler seated at desk
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 5136.23
Photographic reproduction

All four medical luminaries were active members of the Historical Club of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Black and white photograph of a group portrait of unidentified Johns Hopkins Medical School graduating class with (left to right) professors Harvey Cushing, Howard Kelly, Sir William Osler, and William S. Thayer seated in foreground.
Johns Hopkins Hospital: Harvey Cushing, Howard Kelly, William Osler, and William S. Thayer (seated in front)
ca. 1900
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. Group 55-1
Photographic reproduction