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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 Politics

The Great Depression of the 1930s led to the organization of the unemployed, the increasing power of American labor, and the resurgence of the political left. Within medical circles, proposals or "socialized medicine" and national health insurance, the development of prepaid medical care experiments, and the establishment of Blue Cross health insurance plans all signaled a radical questioning of the traditional organization of private medical practice.

A generation of politically active and idealistic young physicians, looking for visionary leadership, found inspiration in the work and ideas of Henry E. Sigerist. Swept up in enthusiasm by the political currents of that turbulent decade, Sigerist presented history as a dynamic force moving inevitably toward a utopian and egalitarian future. He proposed that physicians, as the vanguard of a progressive movement for health and social justice, be the organizers of a new system of medical care for all the people.

A black and white photograph of an interior view of a woman, holding an infant, sitting on the edge of a bed, she has a rash on her legs; a young boy sits to her right, his face and feet are covered with grime. On one side of the bed is a cast iron stove, on the other is a small table.
United Features Syndicate.
Mother with an infant and a toddler sit on an unmade bed
United States
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: WA 11 C29 no. 199
Photoprint

A black and white photograph of a pregnant woman with a forlorn look on her face sitting in a chair in a wooden structure with dirt floor; behind her, in an area that may serve as a kitchen, are cans and a metal tub
Shabbily dressed pregnant woman sits in crude shelter
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: WA 11 C29 no. 220
Photoprint

A black and white photograph of a man, wearing an old coat and hat, sitting at a counter eating; he appears to be using bread to absorb the contents of a tin bowl; a tin cup is on the counter to the right.
Man eating from a tin bowl
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: WA 11 C29 no. 198
Photoprint

"1944" is an editorial cartoon marking the alliance between the United States and the USSR as the two powers join forces to squeeze Hitler.

Black and white illustration of a Russian solider and an American solider shaking hans with Hitler being squeezed between their two hands. At the bottom is written 1944.
Photographic reproduction

Courtesy of Walter Lear

A grand synthesis first presented in 1940 as the Messenger Lectures at Cornell University, Sigerist begins with two chapters on the material and economic determinants of disease in which he highlights, among other factors, the importance of the physical environment.

Page 37 of Henry E. Sigerist's book Civilization and Disease which discusses the importance of physical environment.
Henry E. Sigerist, M.D. (1891-1957)
Civilization and Disease
Ithaca, New York, 1943
NLM Call Number: WZ 9 S576c 1943, Page 37
Book

Delivered in 1938 as the Terry Lectures at Yale University, this compact work contains some of Sigerist's clearest statements about all citizens' right to health.

Pages 94 and 95 of Henry Sigerist's Medicine and Human Welfare book. These pages discuss his views on all citizens' right to health.
Henry E. Sigerist, M.D. (1891-1957)
Medicine and Human Welfare
New Haven, 1941
NLM Call Number: WZ 40 S574m 1941, Pages 94-95
Book

A pioneering medical editor, publisher, and historian, Robinson created the journal Medical Life which in the 1920s had several European scholarly luminaries on its editorial board, including Henry E. Sigerist. Robinson took political risks in his historical and editorial work and later drew praise from Sigerist as "a fighter and reformer, interested in a number of subjects that were not looked upon as orthodox."

A black and white photograph of the .Victor Robinson standing, three quarter length, front; hands in pockets.
Victor Robinson, M.D. (1886-1947)
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 5755
Photograph

Two of Robinson's early, politically daring historical publications.

The purple cover of An Essay on Hasheesh: Historical and Experimental by Victor Robinson. The title is at the top of the cover in gilt. A cream sticker with the NLM call number is in the upper left corner of the cover.
Victor Robinson, M.D. (1886-1947)
An Essay on Hasheesh: Historical and Experimental
New York, 1925
NLM Call Number: QV 80 R665e 1925, Cover
Book

Plain wrapper cover of Pioneers of Birth Control in England and America by Victor Robinson. A cream sticker with the NLM call number is in the upper left corner of the cover.
Victor Robinson, M.D. (1886-1947)
Pioneers of Birth Control in England and America
New York, 1919
NLM Call Number: HQ 766 R665p 1919, Cover
Book

Rosen first contacted Sigerist in the 1930s when, as an American medical student studying in Germany, he was looking for a medicohistorical thesis topic. On his return to the United States, Rosen became a prolific historical scholar, publishing a steady stream of articles in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine as well as an impressive number of books and monographs, such as this one on miners' diseases. Rosen later held a series of prominent positions at Columbia and Yale universities in public health and health education and in the history of medicine.

Page 172 and an illustrated page opposite page 172 of The History of Miners' Diseases: A Medical and Social Interpretation by George Rosen, M.D. (1910-1977), with an introduction by Henry E. Sigerist, M.D. The top illustration is ofthree Belgain Miners in a mine. Two of the miners are using a pickaxe while the third pushes a coal cart toward a man with a pony. The bottom image is of a position of a coal miner while at work. A man lies on his side holding a pickaxe. A lantern rests near his feet.
George Rosen, M.D. (1910-1977), with an introduction by Henry E. Sigerist, M.D.
The History of Miners' Diseases: A Medical and Social Interpretation
New York, 1943
NLM Call Number: WA 11 R813h 1943, Page 172
Book