Category Archives: Electronic resources

New online resource: Dissertations Read to the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh

This post has been reblogged from the Bodleian History Faculty Library’s blog.

Oxford users can now access the online archive of the Dissertations Read to the Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh (British Online Archives). Access is via SOLO (shortly) or OxLIP+.

On epilepsy / by William Adair. in DISSERTATIONS, ETC., 1751-1799, v1

On epilepsy / by William Adair. in DISSERTATIONS, ETC., 1751-1799, v1

Founded in 1737, the Royal Medical Society is the oldest student society of its kind in the United Kingdom, whose members were duty-bound to deliver a dissertation for examination by their peers.

This collection comprises over 200 volumes of hand-written dissertations, providing a unique insight into the development in medical teaching and thought during the last 250 years.

In subject, the dissertations range from framboesia to fear, from meningitis to mongolism and many represent the earliest original work of famous men of medicine.

The linked author index is in two parts: vols. 1-95 (1751-1833), and vols. 96-215 (1834-1968). Scanned from the microfilm of the Royal Medical Society collections in the Edinburgh University Library.

Some texts are difficult to read and images are faint. Use the zoom function to enlarge the text.

Images can be saved or printed individually as PDFs.

Related Links OxLIP+ | SOLO | Guide to using OxLIP+

History of Medicine Podcasts

pulse project

Pulse Project podcasts

Oxford Brookes University’s Pulse Project has recently published a new batch of podcasts  on the history of medicine.  They are recordings from last semester’s “Psychiatry in the Public and Private Spheres” series by the Centre for Health, Medicine, and Society.  Here are the details of the podcasts:

•1st Seminar: Dan Healey (University of Reading ), “Disabled Prisoners in the Stalin-era Gulag (1930-1953).” 5 February 2013.

•2nd Seminar: Tracey Loughran (Cardiff University), “‘You are a hero’: Masculinity and will in British medical discourse on shell-shock, c. 1914-1920.” 19 February 2013.

•3rd Seminar: Thomas Müller (University of Ulm at Ravensburg), “Medical History, the Historian’s Reality and the Public: The Example of National Socialist Psychiatry.” 5 March 2013.

•4th Seminar: Louise Hide (Birkbeck, University of London), “Rats Biting, Worms Crawling, Devils at Work: Can recorded delusions provide historians with insight into the subjective experiences of asylum patients?” 19 March 2013.

•5th Seminar:  Linda Reeder (University of Missouri), The Means to An End: Psychiatry and the Significance of Marriage in Liberal Italy.” 16 April 2013.

•6th Seminar: Waltraud Ernst (Oxford Brookes University), “Colonialism and Transnational Psychiatry: The Case of the Ranchi Indian Mental Hospital, c. 1925-1940.” 30 April 2013.

Other History of Medicine podcasts

Birkbeck Pain Project’s podcasts on “Pain and its meanings” (7-8 December 2012) and a number of other podcasts from earlier events organised by the project.

University College Dublin’s podcasts from the “Healthcare systems, regional and comparative perspectives in Britain and Ireland, 1850-1960” conference (8-9 June 2012)

sick city talks

Sick City podcasts on Sound Cloud

Sick City Talks [on London] which form part of a Wellcome Trust funded project on  the history, literature, art and science of medicine in London.

National Archives have various podcasts on the history of medicine and health, including Hamish Maxwell-Stewart on “Morbidity and mortality on convict voyages to 19th century Australia” and Julie Anderson’s “From wheelchair polo to winning professionals: the history of the Paralympics”

The Northern Centre for the History of Medicine, Newcastle University has a Pybus Podcast Collection of recording from the Pybus Seminar Series.

Related Links More free online resources lists on the HSMTOxford Delicious page



New free online history of medicine resources

This week we have come across three new free history of medicine resources on the web:

1) Social History of Medicine – special virtual issue on tuberculosis

shmSHM have published an online special issue on tuberculosis that is free to access until the end of May. This issue includes 9 research articles and 7 book reviews.  Articles include Sunil Amrith on tuberculosis in South Asia in the 1950s and William Johnston’s ‘Genealogy of  Tubercular Disease in Japan.’

Members of Oxford University can access all issues of Social History of Medicine via our online subscription using OxLIP+.

2) Journal of History of Science and Technology online v.6


This free to access online peer-reviewed journal is based in Lisbon, Portugal and publishes articles in English from researchers across the world. The most recent edition includes an article by Carlos Tabernero, Isabel Jiménez-Lucena and Jorge Molero-Mesa on “Scientific–medical knowledge management through media communication practices: a review of two opposite models in early 20th century Spain”.

3) Wellcome Library, London –  Codebreakers: makers of modern genetics


The Wellcome Library in London launched their new online digital resources, which contains over a million pages of books and archives relating to the history of genetics, with more to be added soon.

Codebreakers contains twenty archives including the papers of Francis Crick, James Watson, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, as well as archives of the Eugenics Society, made available by kind permission of the Council of the Galton Institute, the papers of J B S Haldane, and the collections of Guido Pontecorvo and his students Malcolm Ferguson-Smith and James Renwick at Glasgow University.

Codebreakers also contains over a thousand digitised books covering the science, history and social and cultural aspects of genetics and related disciplines, mostly from the 20th century.

It is very easy to browse using the timeline function or the topic list, which deliver results directly from their library catalogue.

Related Links OxfordHSMT links on Delicious | OxLIP+

Christmas Closure and Online Resources at the Wellcome Unit Library

Wellcome Unit in the snow by Bethan Jenkins

Wellcome Unit in the snow by Bethan Jenkins

The Welcome Unit Library will be open this week:

  • Tuesday 18 Dec (today) 2.15-5.00
  • Wednesday 19 Dec 2.15-5.00
  • Thursday 20 Dec 2.15-5.00
  • Friday 21 Dec 2.15-3.00 – closing early

The library will be closed from 3.00pm on Friday 21 Dec to 2.15 on Wednesday 2 Jan 2013.

Welcome Unit opening hours in start of January 2013

  • Wednesday 2 Jan 2.15-4.30
  • Thursday 3 Jan 2.15-4.30
  • Friday 4 Jan – Monday 7 Jan closed
  • Tuesday 8 – Friday 11 Jan 2.15-5.00

If you would like to visit the Wellcome Unit Library please contact us in advance to arrange an appointment by emailing

While the Library is closed there are lots of interesting online resources available for history of medicine scholars to access 24/7. We have a variety of websites bookmarked on our HSMTOxford Delicious page.

Free online books
Many out of copyright medical texts are available to read in full online via the Internet Archive and Google Books.  The Internet Archive’s Medical Heritage Library continues to be added to and currently has nearly 45000 items, including texts and videos, from various institutions, including the National Library of Medicine and New York Public Library. For French and Latin speakers, the Bibliotheque numerique Medic@ provides a wealth of original sources and also biographical information about key medical figures.

Contagions blog

Contagions blog

Blogs and Project websites
Find out what your fellow historians are researching on one of the many fascinating history of medicine blogs and project websites online.  Our favourites include:

If this has whetted your appetite, the Contagions blog is hosting this month’s On Giants’ Shoulders history of science carnival and has a great selection of links to current articles and blog posts across the web.

Related Links Wellcome Unit Library contact details | HSMTOxford Delicious page

New website and article on mental health institutions

Devon County Mental Hospital website

The Devon Country Mental Hospital website takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of the Devon County Lunatic Asylum at Exminster. Based on archival case notes and supplemented by Medical Superintendents’ and Commissioners of Lunacy’s reports as well as interviews with former staff, the website tells the stories of real patients and their journey into, and life within, the asylum, hoping to highlight changes in the legislation and care of people suffering from mental health problems.

Hosted by Exeter University, the site is based on a series of Wellcome Trust funded projects carried out since 2007 by Dr Nicole Baur and Prof Jo Melling (Centre for Medical History, University of Exeter), in collaboration with John Draisey from the Devon Heritage Centre (DHC).

Devon County Mental Hospital homepage

Collectors Weekly article on Willard Asylum

Another interesting article this week (discovered on Twitter from @KarenAbbott via @2nerdyhistgirls) was published in Collectors Weekly on the suitcases of patients the Willard Asylum.  Hunter Oatman-Stanford’s article, entitled ‘Abandoned Suitcases Reveal Private Lives of Insane Asylum Patients examines Jon Crispin’s project to photograph the suitcases that patients at the Willard Asylum in New York State brought with them when entering the institution.  The suitcases that were left in the institution, often when patients died and no one claimed their belongings, were kept by staff even after the asylum closed.  The collection has been photographed by Crispin in added to the New York State Museum.

(c) Market Street Media

Related Links


Courses on finding and using images next week

The following sessions are open to members of Oxford University.  History of medicine students and academics are likely to be particularly interested in these courses, given the wealth of relevant images out there, from pictures taken by missionaries to early engravings of the human body.

ARTstor and Bridgeman: Using images in teaching and learning

Tuesday 20 November, 14:00-16:00
The course examines two major digital image collections subscribed to by the University – ARTstor and Bridgeman Education – geared to research and teaching in the humanities, history of science and medicine, and social sciences. Viewing, presenting and managing images are also covered.
Booking at:

Digital images: Sourcing, adapting and safe keeping

Tuesday 13 November, 09:15-12:15
Digital images are a valuable part of your research, sometimes critically so. This three hour session will introduce you to some of the key issues that you need to be aware of when sourcing, adapting and using digital images. Although the focus is the use of images in an academic context, the ideas covered are equally relevant to your personal image collections.
Booking at:

(c) Bridgeman Eduction. Results page for a search on Leprosy

Related Links: WISER courses | OUCS courses

New History of Medicine journal subscription

Histoire, Medecine et Sante

The Bodleian Libraries have subscribed to a new French History of Medicine journal entitled: Histoire, Medecine et Sante.  The peer-reviewed journal, which is from the University of Toulouse II, will be published twice a year and include research articles, discussion of sources and historiography and reviews in English and French. Article summaries are provided in French and English at the end of the issue.


The topic of the first issue is “pudeurs” which translates as modesty in English.  Articles include Anne Carol on medical cadavers and Elsa Nicol on women with cancer in the 19th century.  There is also a book review of Morbid Curiosities : Medical Museums in Nineteenth-Century Britain (OUP, 2011), which is available to consult in the Wellcome Unit Library and the Bodleian Library’s Gladstone Link, as well as electronically as an ebook.

Available to consult

The first issue is now available to request from the Bodleian Stacks via SOLO for members of the Bodleian Libraries. The requested volume can be consulted in the Bodleian Libraries Reading Room of your choice. A full list of contents is available on the Historiens de la sante blog.

Related Links
SOLO | Bodleian Library | Historiens de la sante blog | HMS journal webpage

Online history of medicine resources

Sick City podcasts

During the summer we do have slightly more limited opening hours to cover staff leave and training.  However, there are lots of online history of medicine resources that can still be accessed, even when you are not in the library.  Here are some of our favourites.

Online resources – for University members

There are a wealth of online resources that can be accessed on and off campus.  University members can access Oxford’s journal and database subscriptions via OxLIP+ and can search for ebooks on the SOLO library catalogue (limit search results to online resources only).

Starr’s Brain Surgery (1893) from Medical Heritage Library

Online resources – free access for all

There are also a wealth of free online resources that University members and non-members alike can access.  Search for primary sources in the Medical Heritage Library, which includes over 10000 digitised rare books.  Example titles include an 1880 printing of Culpeper’s Complete Herbal and Hunter’s Lectures on the Principles of Surgery.

The Bibliotheque Numerique Medica is another fascinating digital library.  It includes profiles and digitised works by figures such as Ambroise Pare and Felix Vicq-d’Azyr and themed sections on medical specialities such as dermatology and veterinary medicine as well as many more.

(c) Dr Alun Withey

This week there have also been a number of interesting new blogs and podcasts. Here are our top 3:

1) Dr Alun Withey on the history of spectacles.  He also links out to another blog post of the use of puppies in medicine.

2) The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice on wandering wombs

3) Sick City’s latest podcast – their seventh guided walk around London

You can find out about more of our favourite online free resources via our Oxford HSMT Delicious page and see our latest new book purchases on LibraryThing.

Related Links: Oxford HSMT Delicious | Wellcome Unit LibraryThing new books catalogue | SOLO | OxLIP+

International Mission Photography Archive

(c) Uni of Southern California

We have just bookmarked the International Mission Photography Archive on the HSMT Oxford Delicious page.

This free online digital image archive offers over 50000 historical images from Protestant and Catholic missionary collections in Britain, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States. The photographs, which range in time from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, offer a visual record of missionary activities and experiences in Africa, China, Madagascar, India, Papua-New Guinea, and the Caribbean. 

The search tools are very effective, allowing you to search by country and/or keyword (e.g. nurse, medicine) and browse by date.  The results are presented as thumbnails in the ‘Lightbox view’, but switching to the ‘List view’ provides more details about the results.

Search result for keyword ‘leprosy’

The detailed results pages are really clearly laid out and provide lots of information.  As well as location, date and descriptions, additional subject terms have been added that allow further related searches.

The site is very easy to navigate and the information and images are of a high quality.

Related links: International Mission Photography Archive | HSMT Oxford Delicious page.

Medical ephemera in the US National Library of Medicine

This post by Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian of the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library, originally appeared on the John Johnson Collection’s Ephemera Resources blog.  We are very grateful to her for allowing us to re-post it here.  She has blogged about a number of other medical ephemera resources.

Medical ephemera in the US National Library of Medicine

(c) U.S. National Library of Medicine

Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) contains 69,271 images, including 7,763 posters and 4,445 postcards.These can be searched (including advanced searching) or browsed by an impressive range of categories under What, where and who. Although predominantly from the USA, these images are international with hundreds from the UK, France, China (notably Chinese anti-malaria and anti tuberculosis posters) and Switzerland.
Here today, here tomorrow: varieties of medical ephemera is the online version of a1995 exhibition of medical ephemera from the collections of William H. Helfand and the National Library of Medicine. It is arranged by theme: Addiction, Aids, Bookplates, Children, Medical education, Medical show, Public health, Tuberculosis and Women. The online version contains 140 of the original 400 items. The site also hosts separate online exhibitions of  Aids ephemera (based on an exhibition held in 2002) and Public health posters.

Ephemera and books on ephemera in the NLM collections can be found through Locator Plus.

(c) US National Library of Medicine and William H. Helfand

Related resources: US National Library of Medicine | John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera | More posts about medical ephemera