November 2010

Some history of medicine related links today:

The wonderful Holly Tucker has a new blog, Scientia Curiosa

A blog from the Medical Heritage Library, “a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries.”  Digitized materials are available at the Internet Archive.

The National Museum of Health and Medicine is a great medical history organization that’s been assiduously doing DIY digitization and putting materials up at the Internet Archive, Flickr and their blog.  They post a letter from their collections every day, and recently had an interesting exchange trying to puzzle out a patient ‘s sudden muscular atrophy and “prevention of marriage” (that’s 4 links in that sentence).  Historical diagnosis is tough–thanks for doing your work in public.

In other news:

Cliopatria award nominations are open!  Nominate your favorite history blogs.


The public image of what the war was like (bloody and muddy) and meant (pointless) has remained strikingly constant over the last four decades.

An interesting analysis of public memory of WWI in Britain, posted recently on H-Public.

Memorialization is always fraught and problematic.  But we can’t let Wilfred Owen do our history work for us. As a historian my personal practice is usually focused on the objects and people that we fail to insist are important, fail to remind ourselves of.   There are usually a few people who care deeply about these kinds of things (my dispatches from the fringes of the history of technology), at least intellectually. But when faced with enormous incidents of public memory around wars  I’m always struck by the depth of feeling that emerges, that billows over.  It’s about emotional truth–and public historians working on appropriate memorial institutions and projects–not treacly, hagiographic or inaccurate, but not cynical and contemptuous either–have hard decisions to make.  Here’s to historians trying to get the stories right.