• Photo Essay: Vesalius at 500

    Earlier this week I finally found the time to check out the exhibit, Vesalius at 500 at Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library in Toronto, curated by Philip Oldfield. The exhibit chronicles the history of anatomy and anatomical illustrations prior to, and following, the anatomist Andreas Vesalius’ (1514-1564) publication of De humani corporis fabrica (The Fabric… Continue Reading

  • Switching On Hearing

    It’s an iconic and powerful photo. The face of a young child, born deaf, hearing sounds for the first time. Jack Bradley, photojournalist from the Peoria Journal Star, captured the exact moment a doctor fitted five year old Harold Whittles with an earpiece and turned on the hearing aid. First printed in the February 1974… Continue Reading

  • On Sharing #histmed Images

    For those who follow me on Twitter or the FTHOQ Facebook page, you already know I share a lot of images on the history of medicine. I’ve come across many of these images while browsing through online archives collection data for my research on experiences of hearing and hearing loss in twentieth-century America. I’m particularly… Continue Reading

  • Word of the Day: Quacksalver KWAK-sal-ver (noun)

    quacksalver KWAK-sal-ver, noun: 1. a charlatan. 2. a quack doctor. And there was that quacksalver Mellowes again, with his pernicious theory that consumption was caused by an excess of oxygen. — Patrick O’Brian, Desolation Island, 1978 Anon, we grow persuaded that he traded both eyes for hooks and beneath the roof of his friend, Prince of Hesse Cassel,… Continue Reading

  • Friday Evening Discourse

    18 Savile Row. Burlington Gardens. W | 10 Feb 1860 Dear Mr. Faraday, Having been unsuccessful in my attempts to obtain a ticket for Mr. Huxley’s lecture* tonight I shall esteem it a favour if you can give me one. Believe me yours sincerely & obliged, Joseph Toynbee *Thomas Henry Huxley’s Friday Evening Discourse of… Continue Reading

  • A Digital Reader

    I was invited by Karen Bourrier, the project director of Nineteenth-Century Disability: A Digital Reader to write a post about a Victorian mourning ear trumpet. The digital reader is a remarkable project at the University of Western Ontario, an interdisciplinary approach to provide a collection of primary texts on physical and cognitive disability in the nineteenth century.… Continue Reading

  • REVIEW: “Performing Medicine” by Michael Brown

    Performing Medicine; Medical Culture and Identity in Provincial England, c.1760-1850 (Manchester & New York: Manchester University Press, 2011), 254pp. I get excited when I receive a new book that so wonderfully engages with some of the major themes covered in my dissertation, and even better, a book that nicely contextualizes the background upon which I… Continue Reading

  • The “Popular Prejudice”

    Throughout my research of nineteenth century works on aural surgery, as well as works on deafness and education for the deaf, I’ve come across the phrase “popular prejudice” often enough to warrant some analysis. The phrase reflects two crucial aspects of how deafness was perceived as a social image: Firstly, deaf-mutes were constructed as social… Continue Reading

  • Historiography of the Market for Health

    Parallel to my research on socio-educational institutions for the deaf, I’m hoping to tie together themes of technological progress, entrepreneurialism and consumerism with the broad and diverse medical community and marketplace—what we can aptly call medical pluralism. There’s been a lot of historical scholarship on the complex dynamics that wove together a diverse group of… Continue Reading

  • Deaf World/Hearing World

    As some of you may have gathered from my Tweets, my paper has been selected for the Deaf World/Hearing World: Spaces, Techniques, and Things in Culture and History Conference to take place on December 10-11 in Berlin. The conference is sponsored by the Max Planck Institute and Project Biocultures at the University of Chicago. The… Continue Reading

  • Meeting of the Three Societies

    In case you haven’t gathered from my increased Twitter activity this last week, I’ve been at the meeting of the Three Societies. Philadelphia is a gorgeous, historic city, and I found it to be an ideal setting for the meeting. And what a great meeting it was! It was fantastic to finally meet some of… Continue Reading