• Giveaway Contest!

    At long last, my first book will be published! Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History will be published by the University of Chicago Press and available in May 2020. Through lyrical history and personal memoir, this book raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. Taking us from the 1860s up… Continue Reading

  • Taking a Woman’s Pain Seriously

    The first time must have been a year or two ago, but I dismissed it, thinking it was nothing more than a muscle cramp or leftover period pain. It made its appearance then left, so there was nothing left to think about. Yet, it persisted. Occasionally throbbing or stabbing me. I was fine though, for… Continue Reading

  • [My Guest Post] Deafness as a Public Health Issue

    In May, I took up my position as the 2016 Klemperer Fellow in the History of Medicine at the New York Academy of Medicine. Thanks to the wonderful staff there, especially Arlene Shanter, I was able to dig through the library’s trove of materials on otologists in the 1920s and 1930s and their collaborations with social… Continue Reading

  • The Death of William Whitbread

    Despite the emerging popularity of Eustachian tube catheterization in France—particularly supported with Deleau’s air douche—British aurists remained ambivalent about applying the procedure for deaf patients. In addition to his herbal remedies, Alexander Turnbull performed surgical procedures on his patients, including syringing, removal of obstructions with forceps, and Eustachian tube catheterization. According to aurist William Wright,… Continue Reading

  • The Pretensions of Dr. Turnbull

    I wrote about Dr. Alexander Turnbull (c. 1794-1881) in a previous post discussing his advertisements for deafness, particularly the use of veratria as a catch-all cure. Even though nearly all medical practitioners of the nineteenth century advertised in one form or another, Turnbull was especially prolific in advertising his cures and remedies, and often supplemented… Continue Reading

  • What are the Causes? What are the Cures?

    What are the causes of these obstructions [in the Eustachian tube & auditory nerves]? Various traumas, parasites or foreign bodies introduced by mistake, unstable fluids, effects of climate or food, and of age… What are the cures? none when deafness had lasted for more than two years; the doctors were honest and declared it incurable. Otherwise they… Continue Reading

  • Dog Ears

    This has to possibly be one of my favourite engravings ever. “Curtis on Dog Ears?” This could be a mockery of Curtis and his Treatise, couldn’t it?  Wellcome Library no. 12120i

  • History Carnival #115

    Welcome to the 115th edition of the History Carnival, a round-up of some great posts written during the month of October. Special thanks to everyone who submitted in a nomination. Battles and Wounds Rumors of King Richard III and his “monstrous” birth has been hotly debated among historians. What happens once we dig up the… Continue Reading