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History of Medicine Lectures for 2017

The lecture series of the NLM’s History of Medicine Division promotes awareness and use of NLM and other historical collections for research, education, and public service in biomedicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. The series also supports the commitment of the NLM to recognizing and celebrating diversity.

All lectures are free and open to the public and are held in the NLM’s Lister Hill Auditorium or NLM Visitor Center, located on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. For directions and more information please go to Visit Us.

Beginning in March 2016 all lectures will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting. This public service is made possible through a generous gift to the NLM from the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Foundation. The NLM is authorized to accept donations in support of its mission.

Since 2013, the division’s blog Circulating Now, has published interviews along with each lecture. Through these interviews, lecturers from a variety of backgrounds share their perspectives on the history of medicine and discuss their research in NLM and other historical collections.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017 *New Location*

Collaboration and Curation: Creating the Exhibition Collaboration and Care

Loren Miller, PhD, Curatorial Assistant, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

In 1967, when the first three physician assistants (PAs) graduated from Duke University, it marked the birth of a new profession. In honor of the field’s 50th anniversary, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Physician Assistant Historical Society (PAHx) partnered to create an exhibition commemorating and celebrating the history of PAs. This lecture will discuss the process of developing the exhibition, Physician Assistants: Collaboration and Care, as a joint endeavor and the importance of shared authority in creating a successful exhibit. It will explore how the organizational partnership combined NLM and PAHx’s resources, knowledge, and archives in order to create the strongest exhibition possible, which represented both organizations’ needs and goals. By practicing shared authority, NLM and PAHx combined the profession’s history and prominent themes to produce an engaging exhibit that will appeal to experts and general audiences, and perhaps inspire a new generation of PAs.

This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NIH Natcher Conference Center, Building 45, Room E1/E2

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 – The Inaugural 2017 Michael E. DeBakey Lecture

“Intentional Impact:” The Legacy of Michael E. DeBakey Beyond the Operating Room

Shelley McKellar, PhD, The Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Associate Professor with Joint Appointment with the Department of Surgery, Western University, Canada

A Brief Look at Michael E. DeBakey's Role in Establishing the National Library of Medicine as It Is Today

George P. Noon, MD, Professor of Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine

Join us on this special occasion to learn about the legacy of Michael E. DeBakey as it exists in modern medical practice and in the ongoing public service of the National Library of Medicine.

The Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, is supported by a generous gift to the NLM by the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Foundation

These lectures will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Thursday, April 6, 2017

World War I Centenary Forum:
Stories from the Collections of the National Library of Medicine

On April 2, 1917, US President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war against Germany, stating that “The world must be made safe for democracy.” Four days later, on April 6, Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of a war declaration. The National Library of Medicine marks this important occasion with a forum that spotlights some its rich collections related to the war and the American experience of the period. Join us to hear a variety of stories drawn from these collections, as shared by our colleagues in the NLM’s History of Medicine Division.

Masking Devastation: Inside Anna Ladd’s Paris Studio

Sarah Eilers, Archivist, Historical Audiovisuals, NLM History of Medicine Division

The Frances Dupuy Fletcher Photo Album

Stephen J. Greenberg, PhD, Head, Rare Books & Early Manuscripts, NLM History of Medicine Division

A Call to Service: Red Cross Posters and Postcards During World War I

Ginny Roth, Archivist, Prints & Photographs, NLM History of Medicine Division

This forum will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:00 - 3:30 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – Special Event: Celebrating 20 Years of Harry Potter

A Look into the Pensieve: Reflections on Harry Potter at Twenty Years

Elizabeth Bland, Curator of the Library’s exhibition Harry Potter’s World and independent writer and illustrator

On June 26th, 1997, London-based publisher Bloomsbury released Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first novel in the Harry Potter series. Twenty years on, the ever-popular series continues to resonate with new readers. To mark the 20th Anniversary of the Harry Potter series, “A Look into the Pensieve” will revisit the Library’s exhibition Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance, Science, Magic, and Medicine, including links between author Rowling’s fictional world and writings featured in the collections of the Library; themes from the series that have continued relevance today; and the works’ impact on a now-adult fandom who matured right alongside The Boy Who Lived.

As part of a week-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the National Library of Medicine presents two special lectures. The celebration will also include a special display of the 15th, 16th, and 17th century books that influenced the Harry Potter series along with the six-banner traveling exhibition, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. Visit this special exhibition in the History of Medicine Reading Room, June 26 – 30, 2017.

This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Thursday, June 29, 2017 – Special Event: Celebrating 20 Years of Harry Potter

Monsters in the Stacks: How Harry Potter Came to NLM

Stephen Greenberg, PhD, Head, Rare Books & Early Manuscripts, NLM History of Medicine Division

Join us to learn how staff at the National Library of Medicine became inspired to undertake an exhibition about Harry Potter, drawing on collections of the Library, including works by real historical figures such as the alchemist Nicholas Flamel, who is a key figure in the first Harry Potter novel; the naturalist Conrad Gesner, who wrote about dragons and unicorns; and the mystic and toxicologist Paracelsus, whose potions and prophecies would have made him an excellent addition to the Hogwarts faculty.

As part of a week-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the National Library of Medicine presents two special lectures. The celebration will also include a special display of the 15th, 16th, and 17th century books that influenced the Harry Potter series along with the six-banner traveling exhibition, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine. Visit this special exhibition in the History of Medicine Reading Room, June 26 – 30, 2017.

This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Special Event: Celebrating Images of America: US National Library of Medicine

Introducing Images of America: US National Library of Medicine—A New, Illustrated, and Publicly-Available History of the World’s Largest Biomedical Library

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is proud to announce the forthcoming publication, on June 26, 2017, of a new, illustrated history of its development, from the early 19th century through the late 20th century. Co-edited by Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD, and Kenneth M. Koyle, chief and deputy chief of the NLM History of Medicine Division, and incorporating the research, writing, and technical expertise of staff from across the Library, this new book appears in the popular series Images of America, by Arcadia Publishing. A hardback version of the book is available from booksellers, and an electronic version of the complete book, including the 170+ black-and-white images which appear in it, will be freely available via NLM Digital Collections beginning June 26.

Many individuals have written about the National Library of Medicine and its origins as the Library of the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General. However, this book is unlike previous publications because it introduces the history of the Library primarily through images from its own rich collections, along with a handful of other images from the collections of the National Archives, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences at Tulane University. The book reveals the work of generations of visionary leaders and dedicated individuals who experienced the American Civil War, the world wars, the Cold War, and the dawn of the Information Age.

This forum will feature contributors to the book who will speak on how the book was envisioned and produced with an eye to creating an accessible and engaging public history of the NLM, one intended for a general audience and which complements Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, produced by NLM in 2011.

As with Hidden Treasure, the Intramural Research Program of the US National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, supported the research, writing, and editing of Images of America: US National Library of Medicine.

This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

2:30 - 4:00 p.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Building 10