What do you do when you come down with a cold or an upset stomach? Most of us probably go to the nearest pharmacy to pick up an assortment of pills, syrups or sprays; or if it’s a mild case, we might just make tea with plenty of honey. But no matter what route we [Read more]
March is Women’s History Month! To celebrate, we’re taking a look at one of the most celebrated female authors in our collection: Mary Wollstonecraft. Wollstonecraft’s literary career began in 1787, when she arrived in London following failed ventures as a governess and schoolmistress. She quickly became friends with the liberal publisher Joseph Johnson, a relationship [Read more]
Walk into any modern library, and you’ll come across the reference section. This section contains works that provide researchers with fast facts and general information. For example, here in the medical library, some of the reference works in Archives and Rare Books include: “Polk’s Medical Register and Directory of North America,” “Encyclopedia Britannica” and the [Read more]
When we set out to do historical research, we’re often very focused on the text – we want the book, the chapter, the journal article. But sometimes it’s just as important to pay attention to the paratext. Paratext is a word used to describe additional material supplied by authors, editors, printers, and publishers – for [Read more]
Mary Shelley’s seminal novel “Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus” was published 200 years ago in 1818. Since then it has never gone out of print, and it has been reinterpreted in film, theatre, and even ballet. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to the timelessness of its themes. “Frankenstein” is not just a simple story [Read more]
Many of the items in our rare book collections feature beautiful illustrations of the human body. While these are often the obvious choices to use in exhibits and highlight on social media, a book does not need to be visually spectacular to be interesting. Some of our most fascinating holdings are small and unassuming in [Read more]
After a great start with Nina Siegal’s “The Anatomy Lesson,” we’re excited to announce that our next book selection will be “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks. Published in 2001, the novel was inspired by the true story of Eyam, England. “When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid [Read more]
April is National Poetry Month! That means it’s time for us to venture into the stacks and find examples of one of the most entertaining poetic subgenres: Medical Poetry.
Anyone with an interest in medicine, literature or history is invited to take part in Becker Library’s Special Collections Book Club. Every few months, we’ll hold a discussion about a novel that features some aspect of medical history, then look at the primary sources that bring the stories to life.
William Osler (1849-1919) is one of the most influential figures in North American medicine. After earning his MD from McGill University in 1872, he spent two years studying abroad in London, Berlin and Vienna before returning to McGill to teach. He remained at McGill until 1884, when he accepted the chair of clinical medicine at [Read more]