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History in Focus

the guide to historical resources • Issue 3: Medical History •

Medical History


The web has a large selection of resources relating to Medical History. The following sites provide a small sample of the types of resources available. Try using Intute to locate other history web sites.



(a gateway from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University) which has a section on health and medicine.

History of the Health Sciences World Wide Web Links

(Dutch language)

History of Biomedicine
Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University

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Ancient Medicine

Ancient medicine/medicina antiqua

Ancient Medicine/Medicina Antiqua [AM/MA] is intended as a central resource site for researchers in the history of ancient medicine. The site contains online transcripts of English translations of several works by Galen, with links to a few other transcript sites; a small collection of short analytical essays (contributing authors: Lee T Pearcy; W Jeffrey Hurst and Deborah J Hurst; François P Retief and Louise Cilliers; Ann Ellis Hanson); and a few online bibliographies, including an overview of works on Greek and Roman medicine aimed at graduate students, plus external links to other bibliographic resources. Certain pages have not been updated for some time, resulting in a few broken external links. Also present are announcements of conferences, publications, etc, throughout the world, and details of the associated mailing list MEDANT-L and the Society for Ancient Medicine.

(Record courtesy of Intute - web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Medica: Society for the Study of Healing in the Middle Ages

'Medica: Society for the Study of Healing in the Middle Ages', is an academic association designed to explore the relationship between medicine and other scientific disciplines during the Middle Ages, while providing a forum for those interested in this topic to share their views and research. In terms of content, at present the site is somewhat thin, however there are two especially useful resources that may interest a wide array of students and scholars: The first is the Medica mailing list which may be joined by contacting its operator. The second is a helpful 'Bibliography of Medieval Medicine' divided into primary and secondary sources, and organized alphabetically by author.

(Record courtesy of Intute - web site catalogued by Jeff Dubberley).

Medieval Manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine

The Medieval Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine web site is an online version of an exhibit held by that National Library of Medicine from 18th May - 15th August 2000. This exhibition was designed to celebrate the medieval manuscripts holdings of the National Library of Medicine in general, and in particular their twelfth century manuscript 'Treatises on Medicine'. The site has been divided into the following main sections: Treatises on Medicine, The Articella, Arabic Legacies, Salerno, and English Leechcraft and Physick. Each section has a narrative on the topic and is accompanied by facsimile images from medieval manuscripts illustrating the topic.

Plague and Public Health in Renaissance Europe

The introductory section of this site briefly outlines the bubonic plague in Renaissance Europe. The introductory section also outlines the original aims of the project, which were to create a 'hypertext archive of narratives, medical consilia, governmental records, religious and spiritual writings and images documenting the arrival, impact and response to the problem of epidemic disease in Western Europe between 1348 and 1530'. The site currently provides access to some primary source material on Florence, Pistoia and Lucca in 1348. It will be interesting to see whether the site will fulfil its original aims as it has been a while since the content was last added to.

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Public health

The International Network for the History of Public Health

'Hygiea Internationalis' is a refereed electronic journal publishing on the history of public health. It is the official journal from the International Network for the History of Public Health (INHPH) based at Linköping University in Sweden. The INHPH aims to promote the study of the history of improvements in the health of populations from antiquity to modern times, with a particular focus on the interaction between ideas on public health, their implementation, public health organisations, and their social and demographic consequences.

'Hygiea Internationalis' was started in 1999 and is published annually. The articles are freely available from the web site as PDF files. The journal was set up with the support of the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, Swedish Council for Social Research and Swedish Council for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Information for authors wishing to submit material to the journal is available from the site.

ISSN: 1404 4013

John Snow

John Frerichs of the University of California School of epidemiology created this site in order to encourage interest in the life and work of John Snow. The site includes biographical information on John Snow including portraits. There are details of his work as an anaesthesiologist as well as his work on cholera. There is also a section which outlines the nineteenth century debates on what caused cholera. The full text of Snow's 1855 publication On the Mode of Communication of Cholera is included on the site. An interesting feature of this site are the online maps. There is a copy of a map originally published by James Reynolds in 1859. It is possible to zoom in and out of this map. There is also a map showing where the different water companies in London operated. The John Snow site is continually being developed.

Hauck Center for the Albert B Sabin Archives

This is the web site of the Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives. The Center was founded in 1995 at the Cincinnati Medical Heritage Center with a grant from the John Hauck Foundation. Albert Sabin's complete correspondence, laboratory materials, manuscripts, awards and medals are held by the Center. This collection provide details of the development and testing of the oral polio vaccine as well as of the growth of virology as a discipline. The Center aims to preserve this collection to ensure that it is available for future study and research. The Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives web site provides information about Sabin and an inventory of the archive. Other features of the site include a list of related links, an on line exhibition, information about the Center and a site map. It is possible to search the site.

Yellow Fever Collection

The Yellow Fever Collection web site has been developed by The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia. The site has two main sections, the first of which outlines major themes and personalities in the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission's search for a yellow fever vaccine.

The second part of the web site provides information about and access to the Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection from the Historical Collection at the University of Virginia Health Services. This collection includes correspondence, notes, reports, photographs, negatives and artifacts from the Walter Reed Series, Jesse Lazear Series, Henry Rose Carter Series, Jefferson Randolph Kean Series and the Philip S. Hench Series. It is possible to browse by date, series and subject. It is also possible to search the collection by keyword.

Other features of the web site includes a list of links, a who's who, a collection guide and help on navigating the site.

Global Project on the History of Leprosy

The Global Project on the History of Leprosy is an ongoing project aimed at creating a database of locations where leprosy archives can be found, so as to facilitate historical research into leprosy. The site intends to cover the modern history of leprosy, post 1847 (when Danielssen and Boeck published 'Om Spedalskhed'), although there are some materials and timelines that refer to the prior history of the disease.

While the database creates pathways for researchers, the project will also encourage the preservation of archives and a network of researchers.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by Intute Staff).

Leprosy Archives in Bergen

Picture of leper and physician

This site, which forms part of the National Archives of Norway web site, provides access to an online catalogue of leprosy records held by the Regional State Archives in Bergen (Statsarkivet i Bergen) and the City Archives in Bergen (Bergen byarkiv). These two institutions hold the majority of the leprosy archives in Norway. As well as providing access to the catalogue the site has brief details about the history of leprosy in Norway. There is also a section which outlines the history of the research that was carried out into leprosy in Bergen. The site has a list of links to other web sites.

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Archives and libraries

Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine

The Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine is one of the largest medical history libraries in the world. As the leading national resource in the history of medicine this site is accessed by international academics, historians, students and the general public. The site provides a comprehensive guide to the library's collection of books, journals, manuscripts, pictures, archives and films. Though somewhat confusing to navigate, packed as it is with information the online catalogue itself is simple to use with searches made by keyword, author, title or subject. Although none of the holdings are available to download there is information on a photocopying and inter-library loan service. Online access to a collection of over 120 000 digitised images from the Wellcome Trust's Medical Photographic Library will be available from Spring 2002.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by April Shaw).

Hospital Records Database

The Hospital Records Database, from the Wellcome Trust and the Public Record Office, provides information on the existence and location of hospital records in the United Kingdom. The database currently contains over 2800 records which can be searched by hospital or town name. The majority of the records in the database relate to holdings in local authority record offices. The coverage of hospital archives is limited. The database holds information on both administrative and clinical records; where they are held, what type of record is held and the date range. The database also has information on the name, management and type of hospital. The existence of other finding aids, lists and catalogues are listed, where known.

Directory of History of Medicine Collections

The directory of history of medicine collections web site has been created by the National Library of Medicine in the United States. The site aims to provide information about history of health sciences collections providing research, reference and inter library loan facilities. The main focus of the site is on collections held in the United States. Limited information on collections held in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom is also available. The information on the site is organized alphabetically by U.S. state and the non-U.S. collection are presented alphabetically by country. Each collection entry provides contact details (including web addresses), a brief abstract describing the collection and a holdings record.

World Health Organization - Historical Collections

The World Health Organization (WHO) historical collection was established in 1995 in association with the Picture of dispensaryInstitut Louis Jeantet d'Historie de la Médecine of the University of Geneva. The collection includes: administrative documents; information on the foundation of the WHO; official records; International Sanitary Conventions; and rare books (earliest dates from 1507).

A programme to scan selected works and the rare historical collections is currently being undertaken by the WHO. The facsimile images of these works are being made freely available from the web site as PDF files. Documents currently available include: rare books on plague, smallpox and epidemiology; material relating to the History of the World Health Organization; and the League of Nations malaria documents.

The WHO's Historical Collections web site also provides full details of the scope of the collection and on how to search the collection. Information for researchers wishing to use the collection is also provided on the site.

History & Special Collections at the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library

The UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History & Special Collections web site provides information about their collections, has online exhibits, and details of their online projects. The site has general information about the history and content of their collections. Details of opening hours and information on using the collection are also available for anyone wishing to consult the collections. As well as providing general information about the library and its collection the web site has a number of online exhibitions, including ones on the relief of pain and suffering, bloodletting, and smallpox. The History & Special Collections department of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library are developing a number of digital projects. Details of these projects are available from the site. The site also has a list of medical history web sites and details of fellowships and prizes.

National Library of Medicine: History of Medicine Division

The National Library of Medicine: History of Medicine Division web site provides access to a variety of resources relating to medical history. The web site is divided into three main sections: general information, research resources, and exhibitions and public programs. The first section provides information about the library and its collections, details for anyone who wishes to use the collections, and online factsheets about the library. The second section provides access to finding aids for resources available from both the National Library of Medicine and elsewhere. The final section on exhibitions and public programs currently has over twenty online exhibitions. A profiles in science series, which looks at the work of prominent twentieth century biomedical scientists, is also available from this section.

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National Museum of Civil War Medicine

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM) website provides general information on the museum's activities, together with a brief overview of the various aspects of medicine practised during the American Civil War between 1861 and 1865, and suggestions for further reading and research on the subject.

The NMCWM, an independent and non-profit making corporation, is located in Frederick, Maryland. It collects, exhibits and preserves medical artifacts, manuscripts, books, documents and other materials related to the Civil War to increase public understanding of this period in medical history.

The website also features an online shop and details on museum opening hours, location, membership, events and news

London's Museums of Health and Medicine

The London's museums of health and medicine site, created by the London Museums of Health and Medicine Group, provides information on twenty health and medical museums in London. The type of information available for each museum includes: a brief description of its collections, opening hours, address and how to get there, email addresses, and a link to the museum's web site (if available). The site also has a news section and maintains a news archive.

University of Iowa Health Care - Medical Museum

The University of Iowa Healthcare medical museum web site provides information about the museum and has a number of online exhibitions. There are nearly thirty exhibitions in total covering both historical and more contemporary topics. The online exhibitions are on a range of topics including: 'The Beat Goes On: A History of Cardiology', 'Nature's Pharmacy: Ancient Knowledge, Modern Medicine', and 'The Trail of Invisible Light: A Century of Medical Imaging'. Each exhibition provides a narrative which is illustrated by items or photographs held by the museum. The web site also has basic information about the museum; its collections, opening hours, collection policies, and their mission statement. A list of links is also available from the site.

Dittrick Medical History Center

The site provides information on the Dittrick Medical History Center (Cleveland, Ohio) and its collections of 60,000 rare books, 60,000 museum artifacts, 10,000 images, and archive listings.

Originally part of the Cleveland Medical Library Association (est. 1894), the Dittrick is now an interdisciplinary centre within the College of Arts and Sciences of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It is an international resource for the study of the history of medical technology, and provides research material for the study of specialty areas and local and international medical institutions.

The site has six main sections: the Dittrick Museum of Medical History which consists mainly of a collection of instruments gathered from Cleveland physicians dating from 19th and 20th centuries; the rare medical book collection dating from late 14th century to 20th century; a section featuring 4 small online exhibits (Cleveland's smallpox epidemic of 1902; Images of dissection; a tour of Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland; and Asklepios Murals at the Allen Memorial Library); sample lists and overviews of the centre's archives; the image collection; and a 'What's New?' section. Each section provides a very small sample of the collections housed at the center through the use of online images accompanied by brief background essays.

There are also pages listing the Centre's publications, events and links to medical museums, archives and libraries both in the USA and worldwide.

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Images from the History of Medicine

This site, from the National Library of Medicine, USA, provides access to nearly sixty thousand high-resolution facsimiles of items held in the prints and photographs collection of its History of Medicine Division. These images include portraits, caricatures, pictures of institutions, genre scenes and works of art illustrating social aspects of medicine. The items may be searched by keyword or browsed alphabetically. The site's presentation is first class.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by Paul Jump).

Duke University Medical Center Library: historical images in medicine

An online database containing over 3,000 photographs, illustrations, engravings, and bookplates for the history of medicine and life sciences in the Duke University Medical Center Library's History of Medicine collections. It is searchable by general keyword or by individual fields (description; author/artist name; title of image; title of source; place; date; subjects). The images presented via the web are reasonable but not of publication quality. Access to three special collections is also included in the database: 107 slides from Georg Bartisch's Ophthalmodouleia; Das is Augendienst (published 1583); The Four Seasons - 504 slides of 4 seventeenth-century copperplate engravings depicting seasons of the year with each season used as a metaphor of one of the 'ages of man'; and the 'Stewart Album' containing 206 photographs of German, French, Spanish, Italian and English physicians and scientists prominent in the mid nineteenth century. These subsets may be searched separately or as part of the entire HIM database.

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History of medicine societies and organisations

Centre for the History of Medicine

University of Birmingham

The Centre for the History of Medicine, part of the University of Birmingham's Medical School, was established in 2000 as a centre for research and both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. Particular areas of specialisation include the medical history of the West Midlands area, medicine and surgery in ancient times, and the history of Army and other military medicine. This departmental site contains brief profiles of staff and researchers, with some publication details; information on teaching programmes; a short history (running to around 7000 words, with references) of the University of Birmingham Medical School itself, written by the Senior Lecturer, Robert Arnott; listings for the Centre's seminar series; and details of recent and forthcoming conferences in the history of medicine. Also present is a section entitled "History of Medicine Resources", which notably includes the text of Robert Arnott's "Bibliography of Greek and Roman Medicine from Prehistory to the Byzantine World", and a brief guide to medicine and surgery in Ancient Egypt by Dr Ahmes L Pahor.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London

The Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (CHOSTM) is one of the largest units in Britain devoted to the historical side of the discipline. This departmental website provides contact details and publication lists for all teaching, research and affiliate staff; general information on research degrees; dedicated pages for PhD and MPhil researchers (although each provided only contact details at time of cataloguing); details of the Centre's Research Seminar series (chiefly featuring postgraduate researchers from the Centre and other London departments); and a list of research resources, museums and relevant departments in the London area. One of the Centre's notable specialist areas is the history of Imperial College itself, which played a key role in the professionalisation of British science: a page is devoted to the Imperial College Centenary Book Project undertaken by Hannah Gay, scheduled for completion in 2007. Also resident on this site is information on the London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology: this runs a taught MSc course and is operated jointly by the CHOSTM, the Department of Science and Technology Studies and Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL, and the Science Museum. The Imperial site also hosts listings for the South Kensington Institute for the History of Technology, a joint venture between the CHOSTM and the Science Museum which runs occasional seminars.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine

University College London

The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, formerly the Wellcome Institute, is now established as a research centre attached to University College London's Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, although it maintains its undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes. This small site offers news about the Centre, details of its recent publications, profiles of teaching and research staff (with only selective publication histories), course details and news of public lectures and symposia, with a page devoted specifically to the activities of the Centre's History of Twentieth Century Medicine Group. At present the Flash version of this site, accessible from the main menu, is utterly meretricious.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine

University of Oxford

The Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford, a subdepartment of the Modern History Faculty, operates as a centre for research and postgraduate teaching in most areas of the history of medicine. This website provides a brief overview of the Unit; news of its seminar series, occasional conferences and recent publications; profiles of researchers and staff attached to the Unit (with publication histories in many cases); library information; a collection of relevant links, and details of two current research projects: "A History of Malaria and its Control in 20th Century East Africa" and (at an external site) the Global Project on the History of Leprosy.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine

University of Manchester

The Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester is a relatively large department providing research and teaching across the full breadth of the discipline, although it has a particular focus on the history of medicine owing to the presence of the associated Wellcome Unit. Among the contents of this departmental website are listings for the Centre's workshops and seminar series; news of conferences and other events based at, or involving members of, the Centre; and details (including full module syllabi) of the Centre's undergraduate courses, MSc and intercalated BSc programmes. A contacts page gives addresses for all staff and most postgraduates, often with links to pages listing details of publications, responsibilities within the Centre etc. Other features include a comprehensive survey of library, museum and archive resources local to Manchester; details of projects such as the ongoing research project "Innovation, Assessment and the Hip Prosthesis"; and a very substantial links page covering research resources, departments, societies, journals and other sites relevant to the HSTM community. A site search facility is provided.

Reflecting Manchester's key role in the early history of the computer, the Centre is also home to the National Archive for the History of Computing (NAHC), a repository consisting largely of manuscript collections, plus photographs, manuals, catalogues and oral history materials. The site provides a detailed online catalogue of holdings and a small online exhibition illustrating "Treasures" in the Archive, including programming notes by Alan Turing; everyday life in a punched-card business; LEO, the early computer installed by Lyons in the 1950s; and selections from the Tootill Notebook, a diary of jottings relating to the running of the first stored-program computer. There are also details of the associated JISCmail mailing list, history-of-computing-uk.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

American Association for the History of Medicine

The web site of the American Association for the History of Medicine provides information about the work of the organisation. Details of meetings to be held, their publications (including their newsletter which has an online version from 1997-2000), and on how to join are provided. The site has a news section which issues calls for conferences, details of awards etc. Information on jobs, grants and fellowships are also available from the site. A searchable database of members of the association has been included on the site. Other features of the site include a useful list of links to relevant sites and organisations, and officers and bylaws of the association.

Society for the Social History of Medicine

The web site of the Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM) includes information on the activities of the organisation. It provides details of their conferences, prize competitions, and publications (including the journal "Social History of Medicine" published by Oxford University Press, and the SSHM's book series published by Routledge). From these pages you may download (pdf-file) a report on the one-day symposium on "Medical Practice around the Year 1000", held at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, Oxford, November 2000. A recent addition to the site is an online version of the organisation's newsletter, the "SSHM Gazette", each issue downloadable as a pdf-file. Other features include links to seminar series in the history of medicine, lists of officers of the Society, and the Society's constitution.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by Alun Edwards).

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Women in medicine & women's medicine

The Margaret Sanger Papers Project

Website of the Margaret Sanger Papers Project, devoted to the collection and publication of letters, manuscripts and articles by the birth control pioneer (1879-1966). The Project, sponsored by the Department of History at New York University, has so far produced a microfilm edition of the Sanger Papers, with a four-volume print edition scheduled for publication in 2002-5; the ultimate aim is to produce an online edition, proposed details of which appear on the site. Meanwhile, a small collection of Sanger's articles and speeches is provided in transcript form here, alongside a useful capsule biography, histories and staff details of the various organisations with which Sanger was involved, comprehensive primary and secondary bibliographies, and details of the Project's newsletter. There are also links to Sanger-related documents (mainly facsimiles and transcriptions of her work) held at other sites.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Elizabeth Blackwell, America's First Woman M.D.

The Elizabeth Blackwell, America's First Woman M.D. web site is an online version of an exhibit held at the National Library of Medicine from January to September 1999. The site provides a basic outline of the training and work of Elizabeth Blackwell, who in 1849 was the first woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States. This narrative is interspersed with a number of primary source documents held by the National Library of Medicine. The documents have been scanned and are available as facsimile images. Transcriptions of the documents are provided. The web site is divided into four main sections: admission, college life, graduation, and career.


DoHistory is an interactive web site, created by the Film Study Center at Harvard University, aimed at helping the user explore and piece together the lives of ordinary people in the past. Skills and research techniques are shown through the case study of Martha Ballard who was a midwife and healer in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Two in depth studies based on her diary are presented on the site. More general information about how to use primary sources and how to plan research and history projects is also available. As well as providing help on how to carry out research the site has an archive of primary sources. This archive provides access to letters, maps, newspaper and journal clippings, pictures, public and private records and diaries (including the diary of Martha Ballard from 1785-1812).

A selection of letters written by Florence Nightingale

This web site currently provides access to nearly forty letters written by Florence Nightingale. The site has been created by the Clengening History of Medicine Library at the University of Kansas in order to make its collection of Florence Nightingale letters freely available. The original letters have been scanned and are available from the site as facsimile images. These images are accompanied by a transcription of the text. Further research is being carried out on the letters and as this information becomes available footnotes are being added. The letters can be viewed chronologically, alphabetically or can be searched. The site also has a list of links to other sites related to Florence Nightingale.

A Short History of the Developments of Ultrasound in Obstretics and Gynecology

This site has been created by Joseph Woo. It provides a chronological overview of the history of the development and use of ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. Much of the information on the site has been written by the site creator, although links to external sites are also used where appropriate. As well as providing a chronology the site has an index which divides the information into the following categories: Early developments in ultrasonics; Short histories of the developement of medical ultrasonics in pioneering countries; Biographies and mentions; Gray scale and scan converter; The Real-time Scanner; The Transvaginal Scanner; Early Doppler ultrasound; Applications; Amniocentesis; Three dimensional ultrasound; Tissue characterization; Bio-safety; and Others.

Distinguished Women of Past and Present

This site has a section with information about women in medical and health science fields.

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Emotions and Disease

Emotions and Disease is an online exhibition from the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine. The exhibition aims to provide an explanation of the meaning and relevance of scientific developments linking neurophysiology to the functioning of the immune system. The site has an introductory section about the exhibition and a brief historical perspective on the topic. The main part of the exhibition is divided into five main parts: balance of passions; psychosomatic medicine; self-healing, patents and placebos; stress and depravation; and frontiers of the mind. These sections provide an outline of some of the issues of the topic. A bibliography accompanies the exhibition.

History of Medicine On-Line

History of Medicine On-Line is a peer reviewed on-line journal from Priory Lodge Education. The journal aims to publish articles on a broad range of medical history topics. The full text of the articles on this site are available free of charge. There are currently only a limited number of articles available, although further articles are planned. Another feature of the site under development is the creation of an annual bibliography relating to the history of medicine. Submissions to the journal are encouraged from anyone with an interest in medical history. Submission guidelines are available from the site.

ISSN 1471-5279

NHS History

NHS History is the work of Dr Geoffrey Rivett, a former medic and health administrator, author of the 1998 publication "From Cradle to Grave: Fifty Years of the NHS". The site, described as the "contemporary chapter" of that work, aims to carry the story of the National Health Service forward to the present day. The primary focus, therefore, is on events from 1998 onward, with a summary chronology and several analytical chapters dealing with organisational change, finance, hospital services, nursing and other areas. However, the site also reproduces the book's introduction (on the NHS's inheritance in 1948) and final chapter (on the period 1988-97), both substantially referenced; and those seeking a brief overview of the history of the NHS will find a chronological synopsis, running to about 3500 words, of the fifty-year period originally covered (see "Short NHS history" on the contents bar.) A basic search facility is provided.

Confusingly, this site exists in two forms with equivalent content. The other, based at http://www.nhshistory.com/ and entitled "Health Service History", employs frames and is rather less elegantly designed.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).

Anesthesia history files

Anesthesia History Files is a miscellaneous collection of resources in the history of anaesthesia and pain research, maintained by AJ Wright, librarian for the Department of Anesthesia in the University of Alabama at Birmingham. These include: full-text transcripts of around twenty primary publications on anaesthesia from the nineteenth century; a "Beginner's Guide to Anesthesia History" (under construction, and principally consisting of unannotated bibliography); further unannotated bibliographies of print articles and books; materials from the Anesthesia History Association, including programmes of AHA Annual Meetings; a large number of bibliographic citations and abstracts culled from the US National Library of Medicine databases MEDLINE, CATLINE, HISTLINE and SERLINE; full texts of relevant articles from the electronic journal "Educational Synopses of Anesthesiology and Critical Care"; assorted materials on the history of anaesthesia in Alabama; details of recent conferences, grants and obituaries; and a substantial collection of links in the history of anaesthesia and pain research, with some annotation. The presentation is unwieldy, with a long, single contents page in which many entries inexplicably appear three times.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by James Sumner).


This is the website of the science, medicine and technology division of the humanities online project (H-Net), based at Michigan State University but claiming to encompass scholars and teachers from all around the world. One of the chief functions of this project is to provide an email discussion group for the historical, philosophical and sociological study of science, technology and medicine. Accordingly, the site contains details of how to join the list, together with an archive of all previous submissions to it and a selected list of some of the more interesting exchanges it has hosted, including some concerning important recent secondary literature. In addition, for the aid of newcomers to the field, the site contains information about teaching and research resources, including bibliographies, and offers links to other relevant websites. Its presentation is basic but effective.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by Paul Jump).

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust: 150 years of caring for sick children

This Web site is produced by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust (with The Institute of Child Health), to mark the 150th birthday of Britain's first hospital for sick children. The site draws together medical notes and photographs that reveal a revolution in how young patients were treated. Quick links from the home page lead to: caring through the ages; what nursing was like; what surgery was like; Gallery - click through 150 years of history; key fact/dates and 150 years of achievement. As well as showing that many childhood ailments were a mystery to the medical profession 150 years ago, the site includes what will become one of the most comprehensive surveys of Victorian medicine.

A database is being created under the direction of medical historian Andrea Tanner to provide new insight into development of children's healthcare. Volunteers are compiling the database from microfilm copies of the original records (the first 10,000 have already been entered). The Wellcome Trust has funded the filming. Each entry has name, age, address, admission and discharge, illness, result and remarks. There will be a profile and progress report. Tanner explains that "At the beginning, the case notes are very chatty and unscientific, but they have the most extraordinary details - minute observation which could run to 30 or 40 pages. There were photos and drawings. Sometimes there are drawings by the children who needed to explain what was wrong with them. It is a microcosm of the child's life. Later, the notes became more scientific and concentrated more on measurements, such as temperature and dosage of medicine."

The database is likely to be of interest to family as well as students of the history of medicine and social historians.

Elsewhere on the site you can see that Florence Nightingale opposed the hospital, but Charles Dickens approved. So did J.M. Barrie - Great Ormond Street hospital still benefits from the royalties of Peter Pan. From 10 beds when it was first established in 1852, the hospital grew to 200 beds by the end of the 19th century, with 60 more for convalescence in north London. Today the 335-bed hospital treats 22,000 in-patients and 77,000 out-patients each year. The top-navigation of the site provides access to the hospital's current online presence.

(Record courtesy of Intute- web site catalogued by Alun Edwards).

Oxygen Therapy: The First Hundred and Fifty Years

This web site, created by Lawrence Martin, provides a basic history of the use of oxygen therapy between 1774 and 1928. The site takes the form of a narrative which is interspersed with extracts from numerous historical documents. Some use of images is made on the site. Links to other sites are made from the main body of the text, although unfortunately some of these links are out of date.

From Quackery to Bacteriology: The Emergence of Modern Medicine in 19th Century America

From quackery to bacteriology provides a basic narrative of the history of nineteenth century medical history in the United States. The site has been created by Barbara Floyd, an archivist at the University of Toledo, from nineteenth century printed works. The site is divided into the following main sections: scientific medicine, home health care, quackery, patent medicine, women's health care, mental health, physical fitness and nutrition, the public health movement, medicine in the civil war, nursing, and medical education. Each section is accompanied by a bibliography of the sources used. The text on the site is accompanied by a limited number of illustrations.

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