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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 Edifice

The explosive increase in scientific knowledge at the turn of the twentieth century generated new problems but also stimulated innovative solutions. If people were going to be able to use the rapidly accumulating information, it had to be organized and made accessible. Universities, branches of the federal government, and municipalities constructed great edifices in which library professionals could catalogue and scholars could synthesize this new knowledge.

Leaders in medicine like John Shaw Billings and William Henry Welch also built monumental libraries with the intention of bringing order to the overwhelming proliferation and threatening fragmentation of medical knowledge. Within these libraries, people gathered knowledge, recorded it in bibliographies, indexed it, and made it widely accessible. Welch believe the library was the foundation and unification of all medical knowledge, the history of medicine its synthesis and capstone, and the full-time professional historian the expert interpreter of its collections.

Exterior view of what later became the National Library of Medicine.

Exterior view of the Library and Museum of the Surgeon General's Office. Trees line the front facade; U.S. flag hangs in front of the building; trolley tracks are in the foreground.
Library and Museum of the Surgeon General's Office
Washington, D.C., 1887
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Z AD6 U56 C25 no. 21b
Hand-colored photograph

John Shaw Billings (1838-1913) sits at a table on the right in the Library Hall.

Interior view of Library and Museum of the Surgeon General's Office. John Shaw Billings is sitting at a table in the middle of Library Hall; Thomas W. Wise sits at a desk resting his elbow on the back of the chair. The three tier stacks are in the background, portraits are hanging off the second tier. A book truck with a duster is on the ground floor. Tables and chairs are in the foreground of the reading room. Windows run along the walls on all three tiers. There appears to be a sky light.
Library and Museum of the Surgeon General's Office
Washington, D.C., ca. 1890
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Z AD6 U56 C26 no. FI1
Photograph

The Welch Memorial Library was opened in 1929. The Institute of the History of Medicine was and is located on the top floor.

Exterior view of the Welch Memorial Library. Cars are parked on both sides of a street in front of the library; small trees are around the outside of the library; grass and a fence are in the foreground.
Welch Memorial Library, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions
Baltimore, Maryland, ca. 1940
Prints and Photographs Call Number: W 19 AM3 J6W7 no. 1
Photographic reproduction

Written after many years of "prodigious industry," Garrison's Introduction quickly became the standard text and general reference work for the history of medicine in the United States.

An Introduction to the History of Medicine, with Medical Chronology, Bibliographic Data and Test Questions by Fielding Garrison open to page 134 and 135. On page 134 on the left side is an illustration of a man with zodiac signs drawn over his body. On page 135 are two illustrations on the bottom. The left one is showing the points for blood-letting under the signs of the Zodiac. The right illustration is wound man showing a man with wounds from many different kinds of weapons.
Fielding H. Garrison, M.D. (1870-1935)
An Introduction to the History of Medicine, with Medical Chronology, Bibliographic Data and Test Questions
Philadelphia, 1914
NLM Call Number: WZ 40 G242i 1913, pages 134-135
Book

Garrison had been a junior colleague and then a successor to Billings at the Library of the Surgeon General's Office in Washington, D.C.

John Shaw Billings: A Memoir by Fielding Garrison open to page 296 and 297 describing the beginning of the New York Public Library.
Fielding H. Garrison, M.D. (1870-1935)
John Shaw Billings: A Memoir
New York, 1915
NLM Call Number: WZ 100 B598G 1915, pages 296-297
Book

The Index-Catalogue was one of Billings's great contributions to the bibliography of medicine and eventually evolved into the Index Medicus and Medline.

Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office open to show pages 54 and 55 showing the citations for medicines.
Army of the Surgeon-General's Office
Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office, United States Army
Washington, 1888
NLM Call Number: Z 675.M4 I38, page 56-57
Book

Group portrait: left to right, William Henry Welch (seated), Fielding Hudson Garrison, John Rathbone Oliver, Oswei Temkin, and Henry E. Sigerest (seated).
The staff of the Institute of the History of Medicine in the Welch Memorial Library, Johns Hopkins University. Seated: William Henry Welch and Henry E. Sigerist. Standing: Fielding H. Garrison, John Rathbone Oliver, and Owsei Temkin
ca. 1932
Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 2
Photographic reproduction

Two red bricks from two of the former National Library of Medicine.
Bricks from two of the former National Library of Medicine