Monthly Archives: October 2014

Opening Hours w/b 3/11/14

Regrettably, due to ongoing staffing issues, the Unit Library will be unstaffed on Wednesdays for the next few months. In light of this, it is even more important that you contact us in advance of any visit to ensure that there will be a staff member present when you arrive.

Contact details can be found at

This week’s opening hours will therefore be:

Monday, Tuesday 2.15-5pm
Thursday, 2-4.30pm
Friday, 2.15-5pm

We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these issues, which we hope to resolve as soon as possible.

Have a lovely Hallowe’en, All Saints’ and bonfire weekend!


Wellcome Unit Seminars, Monday 3rd November

Michaelmas Term 2014 Seminar Series
‘Disease, Health, and Medicine since 1800’
Convener: Professor Mark Harrison, University of Oxford

Week 4 – 3 November

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

Saurabh Mishra, University of Sheffield

‘The Coolie’s long journey: Disease and mortality on ships carrying indentured labourers, 1834-1920’

Saurabh Mishra joined the History Department at the University of Sheffield in September 2012. He read history at Delhi University, at Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), and completed his Ph.D. at University of Oxford (2008). He subsequently held a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford for a project on disease, famines and livestock in colonial North India. Saurabh-Mishra

Dr Mishra is currently working on his second manuscript, titled Beastly Encounters of the Raj: Livelihoods, Livestock and Veterinary Health in India, 1790-1920. This monograph is the direct outcome of his post-doctoral project and examines various issues such as the nature of the colonial public health administration, the impact of famines on the livestock economy, the formation of caste identities (especially of tanners and leatherworkers), the politics of consumption of dairy products, and the organisation of the colonial cavalry.

Dr Mishra’s interests lie in exploring a wide range of themes connected with the social history of colonial and post-colonial South Asia. More specifically, his focus areas till now have included the following: the history of science and medicine in the subcontinent, the nature of Islam in South Asia, the history of agrarian processes and structures, and the formation of colonial policies and ideologies.

Selected Publications

Beastly Encounters of the Raj: Livelihoods, Livestock and Veterinary Health in India, 1790-1920 (In press, Manchester University Press)

Pilgrimage, Politics and Pestilence: The Haj from the Indian Subcontinent, 1860-1920, (Oxford University Press, Delhi, 2011)

The McGovern Lecture 2014

The McGovern Lecture 2014

Green Templeton’s annual lecture in the history of medicine
Thursday 6 November – 18:00-19:30

Venue: EP Abraham Lecture Theatre, Green Templeton College, Oxford
Dr Bryant Boutwell, University of Texas Health Science Centre at Houston

‘John P McGovern and his Oxford Connections’

Green Templeton’s annual lecture in the history of medicine.

Speaker: Dr Bryant Boutwell, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Boutwell,Bryant, studio portrait

This lecture will highlight the impact of Sir William Osler and Osler’s American student, Wilburt Davison, who trained with Osler at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and became the founding dean of Duke University School of Medicine where a young Jack McGovern came to train in the early 1940s. The influence of the Oxford/Osler/Davison connection changed McGovern’s life with positive implications on medical education to this day. Eight years after his death, Dr McGovern continues to touch our medical community on a global scale as the author’s stories of his life-and the back stories-will tell.

The Osler-McGovern Centre at Green Templeton College, Oxford University, the John P McGovern Health Museum in Houston, the McGovern Annual Lecture of the American Osler Society, the McGovern Library and Lectureship at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., McGovern endowed humanities programs at University of Texas medical schools in Houston and Galveston, the McGovern Award at the Smithsonian, the McGovern-Davison Children’s Health Center at Duke, Houston’s McGovern Children’s Zoo and McGovern Library … this list barely scratches the surface of the man’s legacy.

John P McGovern, M.D.(1921-2007) was described by his many friends in a 1980 festschrift with such words as: “brilliant clinician”, “revered professor”,  “insightful researcher”, “prolific author”,  “skilled administrator”, “dedicated medical historian”, “enlightened scholar”,  “concerned humanitarian”,  “gifted speaker”, “lifetime student”, “loyal friend”, and “devoted husband”.   Above all else, he was an Oslerian. While he died on 31 May 2007, just two days short of his 86th birthday, his legacy continues through the generosity of the foundation he created and grew.

This presentation provide the biographer’s perspective of knowing McGovern and researching the stories of his life to produce his biography, John P McGovern, M.D.: A Lifetime of Stories, recently published in 2014.  The book represents nearly four years of personal interviews with dozens of friends and colleagues along with a detailed review of his vast archives now located at the Texas Medical Center’s Historical Research Center.

Dr Boutwell has served the institutions of Houston’s Texas Medical Center for nearly 40 years.  He is the first holder of the John P McGovern Professorship in Oslerian Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School in Houston.  In 2013 he was recognised as a Distinguished Teaching Professor by The University of Texas System. His biography of his friend and colleague, John P McGovern, was published in 2014 and will be the focus of this presentation.

Venue: E P Abraham Lecture Theatre, GTC. No booking required.

At 09:30-11:00 the following morning there will be a seminar:
‘Sir William Osler: Connecting the dots’
at which Dr Boutwell will be present, to discuss the continuing legacy of Oslerian medicine.

Convenor: Professor Mark Harrison
Venue: Osler-McGovern Centre of Green Templeton College, 13 Norham Gardens.

All are welcome to attend


Red Cross Volunteers in the First World War

From the British Red Cross comes a range of information and resources on their activities during the First World War. 90,000 volunteers worked at home and abroad during World War One. They provided vital aid to naval and military forces, caring for sick and wounded sailors and soldiers, and the Red Cross is uploading personnel records into a searchable database.

The personnel records for surnames starting with A and B are currently available. Volunteers are updating the site with more names every few weeks.


Along with this, there are informative sections on Auxiliary Hospitals, famous volunteers and friends of the Red Cross, and downloadable information sheets on many aspects of the work of the Red Cross during WWI. There is also a page with photographs of unidentified volunteers – can you identify any?

Find out more at the Red Cross Website.

Wellcome Unit Seminar, Monday 27 October

Michaelmas Term 2014 Seminar Series
‘Disease, Health, and Medicine since 1800’
Convener: Professor Mark Harrison, University of Oxford

Week 3 – 27 October

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

Dr Tudor Georgescu, Oxford Brookes
‘Integrating the periphery: A history of Transylvanian Saxon medicine between Budapest, Bucharest, and Berlin, 1887-1944.’

Tudor Georgescu is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the Wellcome Trust funded Programme Grant investigating ‘Disputed Bodies: Subject’s narratives of medical research in Europe, 1940-2001’ at Oxford Brookes University, and an Associate Lecturer of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion and its Centre for Health Medicine and Society.

His core research interests revolve around the emergence of eugenic and fascist movements amongst interwar German ethnic minorities more widely and, in particular, the Transylvanian Saxons in Romania that were the subject of his PhD. The doctoral thesis sought to explore how ethnic minorities interpreted and appropriated the eugenic promise of a healthier, better, nation, and the degree to which the Transylvanian Saxons produced and empowered an indigenous agenda of national regeneration. Tracing these themes on the medicalised, politicised, and certainly instrumentalised body into the post-war era, his recent research has revolved around the construction of medical bioethics, with a particular focus on the issues surrounding reproductive medicine and the spectre of ‘bioslavery’ that emerged in response to a rapidly evolving biotechnical landscape.

Selected publications

Please note there is no parking at the unit.

Doctor or Doctress?

The Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Special Collections and Archives announces the launch of its new website:

Doctor or Doctress? Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians (

Through the resources in Doctor or Doctress?, students will learn core American history themes—such as the Age of Reform, the Civil War, the World Wars, the Progressive Era, the Great Depression and social justice issues—through the lens of 19th- and early 20th-century women physicians.

The collections at the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center reflect the history of one of its predecessor institutions, the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania–the first medical school in the world for women–as well as history of women in medicine internationally. Made possible through grants awarded by the Pew Heritage Philadelphia Program, the site makes the Center’s unique collection on women in medicine not only available, but truly accessible, to high school students and their teachers.

Video, audio, timelines, maps, contextualized presentations of primary source documents, guiding questions, and interpretive metadata provide the guidance that students need to place primary source documents in historical and cultural context.

Brookes Medical Humanities Seminar Series: A Medical History of the First World War

Seminar Programme: Convened by Tudor Georgescu in association with Oxford Central History Network (OxCen).

‘A Medical History of the First World War’

 21 October: Mark Harrison (University of Oxford),

 “War, Epidemics, and Empire: British military government in the Middle East, 1914-18”

4 November: Stephen Barker (Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum),

 “War and Public Engagement – Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.”

18 November: Jane Potter (Oxford Brookes University),

 “Working in a World of Hurt: Personal Narratives of Medical Personnel in the First World War “

2 December: Emily Mayhew (Imperial College London),

“Hidden Testimony: How Great War artists saw the truth of casualty and medical change on the Western Front”

Seminars meet on Tuesdays at 16:30 (tea and coffee from 16:15) in JHB 204 at Oxford Brookes University’s Headington Campus.

Wellcome Unit Seminar, Monday 20th October

Michaelmas Term 2014 Seminar Series
‘Disease, Health, and Medicine since 1800’
Convener: Professor Mark Harrison, University of Oxford

Week 2 – 20 October

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

Mark Harrison, University of Oxford Mark Harrison

The Army and the doctors in late Victorian Britain

Professor Mark Harrison has been Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford since 2001. He has published widely on the history of disease and medicine, especially in relation to the history of war and imperialism from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. He is currently working on a history of medicine and British imperial expansion, c.1700-1850.

Selected Publications

Contagion: How Commerce Has Spread Disease (Yale University Press 2012)

The Medical War: British Military Medicine in the First World War (Oxford University Press, 2010)  Winner of the Templer Medal Book Prize

Medicine in the Age of Commerce and Empire: Britain and its Tropical Colonies, 1660-1830 (Oxford University Press, 2010)

(with S. Bhattacharya and M. Worboys), Fractured States: Smallpox, Vaccination and Public Health Policy in British India, 1800-1947 (Orient Longman, August 2005)

Medicine and Victory: British Military Medicine in the Second World War (Oxford University Press, 2004)