Monthly Archives: October 2013

Reminder – Unstaffed Tomorrow, 30/10/13

A reminder that the Unit Library will be unstaffed tomorrow, 28th October, as we will be attending the Bodleian History Faculty Library Information Fair. Graduate students strongly encouraged to attend!

More information can be found over at the HFL Blog.

We will be back on Thursday, 2.15-4.30pm.

Taking London’s Pulse – new e-resource

Medical Officer of Health Reports

Medical Officer of Health Reports

A new e-resource is launched today from the Wellcome Collection. London’s Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972 is a free online resource which brings together more than 5500 annual reports covering the City of London, 32 present-day London boroughs and their predecessors. These are fully-searchable, and provide detail on the health of Londoners, borough-by-borough, and even street-by-street, written by Medical Officers during over a century of massive social and technological changes and upheaval.

Simon Chaplin, head of Wellcome Library, said: “The Medical Officers of Health reports provide a fascinating portrait of London life and the lives of Londoners.  ‘London’s Pulse’ opens up a wealth of information about Londoners’ homes and workplaces, food and drink and of course health and illness, and enables researchers and curious readers to search and cross reference the reports with ease.  The resource helps fulfil the Wellcome Library’s ambition to make our collections freely available and accessible to all.”

The project was part-funded by JISC, and gaps in the Wellcome’s extensive collection were filled by the London Metropolitan Archives. Visit the Wellcome Collection Blog for a video introduction to this important new resource.

Opening hours w/b 28/10/13

Our opening hours next week will be as follows:

  • Monday, 2.15-5pm
  • Tuesday, 2.15-5pm
  • Wednesday – UNSTAFFED – this is due to taking part in the Information Fair for Historians at the Examination Schools. Attendance is highly recommended for graduate students!
  • Thursday – 2.15-4.30pm
  • Friday – 2.15-5pm

Please get in touch if you are planning a visit.

Happy Weekend!

Wellcome Unit Seminars, 28th October

‘Structures of Medical Knowledge’
Conveners: Drs Erica Charters and Elise Smith

Week 3 – 28 October

Claire Jones, University of Leeds

Selling Medicine to Professionals, Professionals Selling Medicine: Examining the Relationship between Market and Medic in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-century Britain

Claire Jones’ research centres on the cultural, economic and social history of medicine and health in modern Britain, with particular emphases on the relationship between medicine and commerce, and ways in which this relationship affects professional social structures, ethics, and technologies. Her first monograph on the development of medical industry in Britain titled The Medical Trade Catalogue in Britain, 1870-1914 has just been published.

Claire completed her PhD in the Department and in collaboration with the Thackray Museum in 2010, before returning in 2012 to become the new Director of the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Leeds. More about the Museum can be found here. Previously she was learning and access officer on a HLF project at the University of Worcester and was research fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick.

Selected Publications

  • “Re-Reading Medical Trade Catalogs: The Use of Professional Advertising in British Medical Practice, 1870- 1914,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 86:3 (October 2012), pp. 361–93.
  • “Instrument of Information: The Rise of the Medical Trade Catalog in Britain , 1750-1914,” Technology & Culture, 54:3 (July 2013), pp. 563-599.
  • “How to Make a University History of Science Museum: Lessons from Leeds,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Part A, (available online 30 July 2013).
  • The Medical Trade Catalogue in Britain, 1870 – 1914, (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2013).
From: A catalogue of surgical instruments manufactured and sold by Arnold and Sons ...  Published: Arnold and Sons35 and 36 West Smithfield, London  1873

From: A catalogue of surgical instruments manufactured and sold by Arnold and Sons …
Published: Arnold and Sons35 and 36 West Smithfield, London 1873

At: The Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine
Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford

Coffee is available from 2.00pm – Seminars begin at 2.15pm prompt

Wellcome Unit Seminars, Monday 21/10/13

‘Structures of Medical Knowledge’
Conveners: Drs Erica Charters and Elise Smith

Week 2 – 21 October
Rebecca Earle, University of Warwick
Casta Paintings and the Colonial Body: Embodying Race in Spanish America
‘From a Spanish man and a black woman is born a mulato.’  Such captions, accompanying a painted image of a man, his paramour, and their child, are the hallmarks of a Spanish American casta painting.  These remarkable eighteenth-century images representing the outcome of ‘racial mixing’ currently command both scholarly and commercial attention.  This paper situates the casta painting within the larger socio-cultural context of colonial Spanish America and offers a new interpretation of their meaning and appeal.

Professor Earle’s research has focused on five broad areas of Spanish American history: late colonial and early national Colombia; letters, print and modernity; the links between clothing, consumption and identity; the role of the past in shaping elite nationalisms; and the cultural history of food. Her most recent publications have explored the cultural history of food in Latin America. In 2012 I completed a study of the centrality of food the Spain’s colonial endeavours in the Americas. This was published as The Body of the Conquistador by Cambridge University Press. ‘If You Eat Their Food. . .’, the first instalment of this project, investigates the role of diet in creating the ‘Indian’ and ‘Spanish’ bodies that underpinned Spain’s colonial universe in the early modern era. She has also embarked on new research into the distinctive Spanish American pictorial genre known as casta painting, which will be the focus of her seminar paper.

Selected Publications



De Espanol, Y Negra

José de Paez, De Español, y Negra, Produce Mulato

Wellcome Unit Seminars, Monday 14th October

‘Structures of Medical Knowledge’

Conveners: Drs Erica Charters and Elise Smith

Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine,
Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PE

The seminars are on Mondays at 2.15pm
Coffee will be available from 2.00pm

The first of the termly Unit seminars will be held on Monday

Week 1 – 14 October

Laura Dawes, University of Cambridge

Childhood Obesity in America: Biography of an Epidemic

Laura Dawes is the Events and Outreach Officer at the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, whose research interests include the history of medicine since 1800; health activism; medicine and the law; public health; and childhood obesity. Laura has recently finished a book titled Husky John and Chubby Jane: A Century of Childhood Obesity in America which will be published by Oxford University Press (USA) in 2014. The book examines changes in understanding, diagnosis and treatment of childhood obesity since 1900. The later part of the book is about legal and public health approaches to the current childhood obesity epidemic. Her new project is a medical history of “phossy jaw”, a disease of 19th century match manufacturers. A similar condition today affects myeloma cancer sufferers who are treated with bisphonates. Along with investigating the nature of phossy jaw and its treatment, the book looks at the role doctors played—or failed to play—in early industrial hygiene and safety regulation. She also writes the Doctor Then blog, on the history behind current medical events at



Ave atque Vale

This week, we sadly say goodbye to the Unit Librarian, Alice Nelson. Alice has been a sunny presence in the library for the past three years, and has worked hard for the library, single-handedly starting up our social media presence, and running many user education sessions. Our loss is Hertford College’s gain, as she is starting as College Librarian on Monday – being thrown in at the deep end right at the beginning of 0th week! Needless to say we will all miss her very much.

In the interregnum, I will be trying to keep up Alice’s good work by running the blog and the twitter feed, as well as continuing to staff the library most afternoons. Please do keep an eye on the blog and the twitter feed for updates on opening hours! I hope to see our regular readers again soon as term begins, and look forward to welcoming our new intake from next week.

Have a good weekend!
Bethan, Library Assistant