Wednesday, 24 October 2007

From the archives

The History of Medicine is Medicine itself; permeating every specialty, binding together all the many and varied branches and forming a foundation and basis for the entire body of medical education. Only when this important fact is forgotten does the History of Medicine become lightly esteemed, as an occupation for elderly doctors, an array of curious and amusing facts, now absurd and obsolete; an account of the follies of our medical forefathers; at best, a story of some great discoveries and dramatic episodes, at worst, a new specialty, developed by a small band of people known as medical historians, with an outlook academic, rather than clinical, and forging no close link with modern medical practice.
From the Presidential Address to the Section of History of Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine, London, on 6 February 1957, by Dr. Douglas Guthrie, editor of the journal Medical History, which published it in October that year. (Link to PDF)

I wonder what Dr Guthrie would have thought of the idea that 50 years after publishing Whither Medical History?, it would be the subject of a post by a blogger from Brussels. We'll never know. But his point about medical history is about to become even more true than he could have imagined, as his journal is now open to the public, as yet another example of the media which are opening their archives up on the Internet to whomever is interested.

Here's the link. It's a treasure-trove for anyone even mildly interested in humankind. Just look at the contents of the latest issue alone:

“This Racial Menace”?: Public Health, Venereal Disease and Maori in New Zealand, 1930–1947

John Locke on Respiration

George S V Wills and the Westminster College of Chemistry and Pharmacy: A Chapter in Pharmaceutical Education in Great Britain

Texts and Documents
The Benefits of Psychological Surgery: John Scoffern's Satire on Isaac Baker Brown

News, Notes, and Queries
News, Notes, and Queries

Essay Review
Towards a History of Medical Missions

Book Reviews
Book Review: The Renaissance hospital: healing the body and healing the soul
Guenter B Risse

Book Review: Chemistry, pharmacy and revolution in France, 1777–1809
Charles C Gillispie

Book Review: Clinical psychiatry in imperial Germany: a history of psychiatric practice
Ian Dowbiggin

Book Review: Expunging variola: the control and eradication of smallpox in India, 1947–1977
Margaret Jones

Book Review: The practice of reform in health, medicine, and science, 1500–2000: essays for Charles Webster
Keir Waddington

Book Review: Aboriginal health in Canada: historical, cultural, and epidemiological perspectives
Maureen Lux

Book Review: La santé s'affiche au Québec: plus de 100 ans d'histoire
Roger Cooter

Book Review: Doctors at sea: emigrant voyages to colonial Australia
Sally Sheard

Book Review: Quackery and commerce in seventeenth-century London: the proprietary medicine business of Anthony Daffy, Medical History
Renate Wilson

Book Review: The worst of evils: the fight against pain
Richard Barnett

Book Review: Les médecins et la mort: XIXe–XXesiècle
Christiane Sinding

Book Review: Chemistry, medicine, and crime: Mateu J. B. Orfila (1787–1853) and his times
Jonathan Simon

Book Review: Krankheit und Heilkunde im Mittelalter
Kathleen Walker-Meikle

Book Review: Opera medica omnia
Peter Murray Jones

Book Review: Body counts: medical quantification in historical and sociological perspectives/ La Quantification médicale, perspectives historiques et sociologiques
Graham Mooney

Book Review: Health and society in twentieth-century Wales
Anne Borsay

Book Review: Illegitimacy in Britain, 1700–1920
Gayle Davis

Book Review: Die Entstehung der Geburtsklinik in Deutschland 1751–1850: Göttingen, Kassel, Braunschweig
Robert Jütte

Book Review: Who shall take care of our sick? Roman Catholic sisters and the development of Catholic hospitals in New York City
Andrea Tanner

Book Review: Children's health issues in historical perspective
Astri Andresen