Monthly Archives: April 2014

Opening hours w/b 28-04-14

Our staffed hours next week are slightly different from normal:

On Monday and Tuesday, we will be staffed 2.15-5pm; on Wednesday we will be open in the morning, 9am-12.30pm. Thursday we will be open 2.15-4pm, and on Friday we will be unstaffed.

Please also note that the Unit will be closed the following Monday, 5th May, because of the Bank Holiday, reopening on Tuesday 6th May.

Please get in touch if you want to schedule a visit.

Happy weekend!

Wellcome Unit Seminars, Trinity Term

The vacation has sped by, and suddenly it’s term time again! And so the Wellcome Unit Seminar Series begins once more. This term’s theme is

Reproduction, Gender, and Sexuality in the History of Medicine

Conveners: Marisa Benoit and Julianne Weis

The first seminar will be held on Monday 28th April (Monday 1st week). Our first speaker will be former WUHMO member Richard McKay, now of King’s College London, who will be presenting a paper entitled

‘Flush out the “gay ones”: venereal disease investigation and homosexual activity in post-WWII North America’

In 1964, the Mattachine Society of New York – then one of the United States’ largest groups advocating for the public understanding of homosexuals – found itself under pressure to address the issue of venereal disease (V.D.). Amid nation-wide concern that V.D. rates had been increasing steadily for a number of years, several reports highlighted the seemingly new and prominent role of homosexual men in the spread of sexually transmitted infections, particularly syphilis. At a time when homosexual relations were still penalized by law and many gay men were deeply uneasy about co-operating with public authorities, the New York Mattachine Society collaborated with the city’s health department to publish an informational leaflet, entitled ‘V.D. is no camp’, which was aimed specifically at this group.

This presentation will examine the delicate navigations undertaken by members of the Mattachine Society to produce and distribute its leaflet. It will contrast the organisation’s collaboration with the city’s health department, on the one hand, with the suspicion of public health authorities advocated by its Californian contemporaries on the other. The presentation’s focus on these debates will highlight the need to complicate a conventional historical periodization which implies that VD did not emerge as a serious concern for men having sex with men until the 1970s. Finally, by tracing the leaflet’s circulation beyond U.S. borders, the presentation suggests that a transnational framework may be important when analyzing responses to V.D. during the middle decades of the twentieth century.

Richard A McKay completed a Wellcome-Trust-funded DPhil in History at the University of Oxford before joining King’s in January 2011. His thesis – ‘Imagining “Patient Zero”: Sexuality, Blame, and the Origins of the North American AIDS Epidemic’ – examined the emergence, dissemination, and consequences of the ‘Patient Zero’ origin myth of HIV/AIDS. Before coming to Oxford in 2005 to read for an MSc in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, he studied film and history at the University of British Columbia. In June 2008, he received the H.N. Segall Prize for Best Student Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine.

His research interests include the social and cultural history of medicine in 19th and 20th century Britain and North America; Sexuality and sexually transmitted infections; History of HIV/AIDS; LGBT history; and social responses to epidemic disease.

The seminars will be held at on Mondays at 2.15pm

Coffee will be available from 2.00pm. Please note there is no parking at the Unit.

Ten people at a swimming pool, one of whom will be infected

BSHS Annual Conference 2014 – registration open

Registration is now open for the BSHS Annual Conference 2012. The conference will take place from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 July 2014 at the University of St. Andrews. Starting on the evening of 3 July with a plenary lecture delivered by Professor Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford) and a reception in the Museum of the University of St Andrews. The majority of the conference will take place in the University’s Gateway Building, opposite the Old Course. Our conference dinner will be held in the historic quadrangle of the United College of St Leonard and St Salvator, and there will – of course – be a ceilidh! The programme will include parallel themed sessions, plenary lectures, education and outreach activities, and an opportunity to explore the library, archival and museum resources available in St Andrews for historians of science, technology and medicine.

Opening hours this week

We hope you had a good Easter – we are now open again for the rest of the week starting this afternoon, 2.15-5pm, with these hours today (Tuesday 22nd), tomorrow and Friday. On Thursday, we are staffed 2.15-4.30pm. As ever, please get in touch if you need to visit.

Wellcome Library (London) and NLM partner up!

From the Wellcome Library press release:

Wellcome Library and NLM establish agreement to make 150 years of biomedical journals freely available online

14 April 2014

NLM - sm

Representatives of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the Wellcome Library have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to make thousands of complete back issues of historically significant biomedical journals freely available online.

The terms of the agreement include a donation of £750,000 ($1.2 million) to the NLM that will support coordination of the three-year project to scan original materials from NLM’s collection at the article level, and the Wellcome Library’s work to secure copyright clearances and permissions for electronic deposit from publishers. NLM will undertake conservation of the original material to ensure its preservation for future generations. NLM is authorised to accept donations in support of its mission.

Key journals charting the development of modern medicine over the last 150 years will be digitised in their entirety and made available on the National Institutes of Health life sciences repository PubMed Central (PMC) and its European counterpart, Europe PMC. The project builds on the Medical Journal Backfiles Digitisation Project (2004-2010), and will contribute substantially to the current PMC archive of over 3 million articles from medical journals.

Part of the project will concentrate on mental health journals, supporting a major archive digitisation programme also being undertaken by the Wellcome Library. Journals to be digitised include ‘Mental Health’, ‘Mental Hygiene’ and the ‘Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology’. Other journals have been selected for their general relevance, such as the ‘Indian Medical Gazette’, the ‘British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review’ and the ‘Transactions of the Epidemiology Society of London’.

Donald A B Lindberg, Director of the NLM, said “This is a wonderful step forward in our continuing partnership with the Wellcome Trust to preserve and make freely available important biomedical literature for research, education, and learning. It is an example of a truly useful collaboration, and NLM is grateful to the Wellcome for its generosity.”

Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, and Jeffrey S Reznick, Chief of the NLM’s History of Medicine Division, worked together to arrange the partnership in cooperation with their respective teams.

“We are delighted to partner with NLM to make these important archives freely available to users across the world,” said Chaplin. “It is crucial that digitised content can be found and used easily, and PubMed Central, and its European counterpart, Europe PMC, are at the top of the list for anyone searching for biomedical journals.”

Reznick said: “This partnership will benefit generations of individuals who wish to learn about biomedical history, the thousands who use PMC regularly today and the many more tomorrow who will discover and use its rich content to study the past for the benefit of the present and the future.”

In addition to images and searchable text, NLM will also create article-level citations for PubMed. Digitisation is expected to start in late 2014 and to be completed by 2017. Material will be added to PMC and Europe PMC as it is digitised.


Opening hours w/b 14/4/14

This week, our hours will be as follows:

Monday – Unstaffed

Tuesday-Wednesday, 2.15pm-5pm

Thursday, 2.15pm-4.30pm

The Unit will be closed over the Easter weekend from Friday 18th April to Monday 21st April inclusive. We re-open on Tuesday 22nd April.

Have a happy Easter!