If you’d like to read my dissertation, here it is.

Please cite as:

Suzanne Fischer, “Diseases of Men:  Sexual Health and Medical Expertise in Advertising Medical Institutes, 1900-1930,” PhD diss., University of Minnesota, 2009.

Creative Commons License
Diseases of Men: Sexual Health and Medical Expertise in Advertising Medical Institutes, 1900-1930 by Suzanne M Fischer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Over the last few months, the museum blogosphere has been talking about conferences.  Are conferences broken?  Yes.  (Particularly in environmental terms.)  Do we still need f2f conferences? Yes! Folks have been discussing other models, like virtual conferences, conferences as discrete points in ongoing conversations, Maker Faire (or skillshares in general?)  and camp.

I’m happy to say that I’m going to camp,  THATcamp, this weekend at CHNM.  There will be a bit of a mw2009 reunion there, it looks like (a conference that is not broken), and many of my favorite digital historians will be there, including many internet friends whom I’ve met and many I’ve yet to meet.  I expect that this will be an extremely well-tweeted conference, and also watch the THATcamp blog for ideas both already presented and emerging.

I see my role at THATcamp as mostly jumping up and down to say “What about museums?  What about material culture?”  That was basically my proposal:  “I’d like to talk about how to make museum collections, particularly three dimensional artifacts of material culture, part of ongoing digital humanities work. What are the challenges involved in 3D imaging, providing access, building ways for visitors and scholars to interact and engage with non-scanner-ready historical collections?”  Luckily, it looks like other campers are thinking about these issues too!  I’ll keep you posted on our discussions.

As this weekend many of my friends will be heading down to our alma mater for reunion, I thought it would be a good time to look over some web resources on Oberlin history.  This year is the college and town’s 175th birthday, and as the first college in the country to graduate women and African-Americans, as well as a center of social justice politics, Oberlin has had an important place in American history.

The college has a 175th portal with a few timelines:  the college timeline stops at 1850, so it’s not super useful at the moment.  The college president timeline is pretty nice, with a readable but not flashy interface.  An alumni-led effort, the Oberlin LGBT Community History Project, is a great online oral history repository.  The college library has a fascinating (well, I think it’s fascinating) article on library cataloguing at the college (note the brief mention of Cutter!) as well as digitized college and town publications.  The college archives have a huge wealth of resources on college and community history, a contentdm database of archives objects, and a bibliography of material on Oberlin history.  The Oberlin Historical and Improvement Organization also collects local history and the Electronic Oberlin Group has web exhibits.  Happy 175th and happy reunion!

The Oberlin College Archives are looking for a new archivist. If you are awesome, as all my readers are, and have a history degree plus an MLS (and maybe a CA), you should apply. Oberlin’s Mudd Library is one of my favorite places in the universe, and you would be able to work on the fourth floor there! managing terrific collections on American history! Living in a charming small town quite near a big city! Also in the near future you would get to help me research my book on Grahamites in the Midwest! I can’t stress enough how wonderful this would be for the right person. Go forth and apply.

Come by the U of M’s history of science colloquium this week for a talk by Evelynn Hammonds on the underrepresentation of women of color in science/technology/engineering/medicine.  She may discuss U of M’s own gender-equity class action suit, the Rajender case (a woman chemist, repeatedly passed over for tenure-track jobs, sued for gender discrimination in hiring in 1977.  The case became a class action suit under which over 300 people sued the university, particularly from the departments in the Institute of Technology).  (I regret that I won’t be able to make the talk, due to travel to an undisclosed location.)

Friday, November 30
Room 131, Tate Lab of Physics
3:35 p.m. (refreshments at 3:15 in Room 216)

Evelynn Hammonds
Holyoke Center
Harvard University

“The Marginalization of Experience”

ABSTRACT: This talk addresses the problem of the underrepresentation of women of color in STEM fields from a historical perspective.

For further information about the Colloquium, please contact Barbara Eastwold at (612) 624-7069 or For updates and changes check the web at

Good news! Not only was it just my birthday yesterday, but I have also now officially revised two chapters this month. For International Dissertation Writing Month (modeled on Nanowrimo), I pledged to revise three chapters, so I’m right on track. Here, FYI, is a tag cloud from Chapter Four, the one on Salvarsan and selling scientific medicine. I’m extremely pleased that “quack” doesn’t show up there at all.

administer administration advertising american around blood business chicago city code cure disease doctors dr drug ehrlich expertise health injection institute intravenous iv laboratories magic medical medicine methods microscope patient physicians popular practice practitioners regular reinhardts remedy salvarsan scientific selling skill specialists syphilis techniques technologies therapeutic therapy treatment used wassermann york

created at

Minnesota ghost towns, and towns that fear that fate. From the thinktank Minnesota 2020. Related event: ghost town tour up in Grant County, October 6.

Electrifying Minnesota Exhibit explores sustainable energy & encourages visitors to conserve energy.

The Bakken Museum unveils its newest exhibit, Electrifying Minnesota, this Saturday, September 29, 2007. The exhibit recounts the history of electricity in Minnesota since one of the nation’s first hydroelectric plants whirred into action 125 years ago at St. Anthony Falls. It shows how everyday life has been shaped by electrification through artifacts, photos, first-hand accounts, early advertisements and film from the 1880s to the 1950s. Electrifying Minnesota prompts visitors to imagine life without a computer, cell phone or microwave and demonstrates how not so long ago, appliances we take for granted today were often considered luxuries. It features hands-on activities that demonstrate electromagnetic induction, how the process utilizes natural resources and how the use of those resources impacts the environment. Visitors will learn about sustainable energy and how to take responsibility for their electrical future by joining The Bakken Team and taking the Minnesota Energy Challenge.

A survey for Minnesotans on the preservation of electronic records, from the state Office of Enterprise Technology.

The Hamline-Midway History Corps (in St Paul) is getting serious. Go to their organizational meeting on Oct 14 or one of their interesting programs.

Now open:  the Right on Lake Street exhibit at the Minnesota Historical Society, produced with students from Macalester and artists from In the Heart of the Beast.  I’ve lived within a few blocks of Lake St my whole time in Minneapolis, and I’ll review this exhibit here in a few weeks. To tide you over, there’s some neat web content, including a Flash ride on the 21A bus, something I never thought would be reproduced on the web.  (I live around the Cedar section.)

And now, for one academic link!

Meagan links to an article on the cost of the academic job search for one (probably average) scholar. It costs much more time and money than you’d think (unless you’ve been on the market already).

GRAND TOTAL= $5,126.81*

(*after reimbursement for airline tickets for campus interviews, total = $4,774.81**)

(**Annual stipend for TA at my institution = $12,000; range of advertised salaries: from an assistant professor at a Midwestern state college with a 4/4 teaching load, $38,000, to a non-tenure-track director of a writing center at a community college in California, with a one-course/year teaching load, $67,000)

Today is the first day of classes over at the U.  It doesn’t mean much to me, since I’m not teaching or taking classes, and haven’t for years. (And congrats to Abby on not teaching in her fellowship year!)  I biked in for an appointment today, grumbling about the huge crowds of people walking in the bike lane just because they feel like it or, worse, trying to peer at bridge wreckage.  I have realized, however, that I am now the most advanced grad student on campus in my program (6th year, if you’re wondering), everyone else in my cohort having moved away.

Meanwhile, AFSCME clerical, technical and healthcare workers at the U are probably going on strike beginning tomorrow, in response to a pathetic contract offer from admin.  There’ll be a rally tomorrow at noon at Northrup.  To help out, visit  I was involved in strike support the last time folks had to strike.  They struck for several weeks, we occupied Morrill Hall, and folks won a better contract.  I remember it particularly well because it was right after the victory party that I had to fly back to Detroit because my mother was dying.  It must be four years ago now.

On a slightly more pleasant note, an article from the Chronicle about the yearly job shortage hoax.  Welcome back to school!

Today, a roundup of resources for ’emerging professionals,’ ‘young professionals,’ ‘early career historians’ etc. 

This terminological problem (are you young? new? early?) is a clue to some growing pains associated with professionalization, of museum work particularly.  Old informal career paths marked by apprenticeships and being in the right place at the right time (grizzled museum professionals often start their stories “one day I walked into the museum and they gave me a job”) have not been wholly supplanted by degree programs, and no one quite knows what to do with folks just starting out.  This elision of ‘young’ and ‘new professional’ is also problematic for people moving into the field from other careers.  Here are some groups dedicated to easing entry into museum and history professions.

The AAM has an Emerging Museum Professionals Committee for folks in the first ten years of their career.  There were various sessions for EMPs at the recent Chicago meeting.  No website, but you can email them to get on a mailing list.

The Young Museum Professionals blog offers advice and community for ‘new museum professionals,’ with posts on topics such as avoiding burnout and working in intergenerational workplaces.

The AASLH seems very dedicated to nurturing new professionals.  Their mentor program pairs early career folks with seasoned veterans for professional guidance and networking, even help in navigating the AASLH’s annual meeting.  The program is so popular that there’s a six month waiting list, so get on the list now.  I met with my assigned mentor last week, and she was very friendly and gracious and knowledgable and helpful.

And lastly, a group of folks from the History of Science Society have been organizing a Graduate and Early Career Caucus, and we have a nice wordpress site, mostly set up by Lynnette Regouby from Oklahoma, with resources and information for folks in the early stages of their careers in the history of science.

 Any other resources to suggest?

Gov. Pawlenty astonishingly vetoed the money needed for the Minneapolis–Hennepin County library merger.  Meanwhile, my community library is still closed.

A scholar who moved from academe to public history (and a creator of the great, though never-updated, Beyond Academe) talks about the transition.

Another story of a move from academe to public history, this time in publishing, but with lots of strawmen.  Manan Ahmed responds.

Public Resource put 6000 photos from the Smithsonian on flickr to protest lack of  free access to public domain works.  Read their ‘dear internet’ letter.  The conversation about the project on MCN-L has been fascinating, especially around how the photo metadata was migrated from the SI to flickr.  The answer seems to be poorly, and brings the discussion back to the question of provenance and context.

Museum 2.0 on making 2.0 easy for museums–post-its, anyone?:

Web 2.0 means stepping away from fancy flash-based applications that lock content behind programmed doors and towards clear, text-based, multi-access content. It may not be gorgeous, but it’s easy to create, manipulate, and access for techies and newbies alike. The low barrier to entry makes it easy for users to transition from consumers to participants—whether in wikis, blogs, or on social networking sites.

Ray Bradbury says Fahrenheit 451 isn’t about censorship, it’s about TV.

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