Tag Archives: 19th century

Arthur William Mayo-Robson

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Arthur William Mayo-Robson. Photogravure. Wellcome Images via Wikimedia. Public domain. Arthur William Robson (1853–1933) (Fig 1) was born the son of a chemist John Bonnington Robson, in Filey, a popular Yorkshire seaside resort.1 He later added Mayo to his surname. He is reported as attending Wesley […]

The Scriblerus and other clubs

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. John Gay, John Arbuthnot, and Thomas Parnell. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when transport was by horse and carriage, the opportunities for scholars and inventors to exchange ideas was limited. Consequently, there arose a number of small private gentlemen’s clubs, where members gathered for congenial […]

Fascist Italy: The Battle for Births

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Babies in a basket. Photo by Harris & Ewing, May 1923. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. “It’s up to you to create a generation of soldiers and pioneers for the defense of the empire.” – Benito Mussolini, to the women of Italy1 “Women are a charming pastime…but […]

J. Marion Sims and the reputation-character distinction

Jack E. Riggs Matthew S. Smith Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   J. Marion Sims (1813-1883) Sims’ reputation during his life garnished national and international awards and recognition. Image via Wikimedia. Public domain. “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.” — Thomas Paine (likely […]

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s bondage of opium

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   His grace, his God-knows-what: for Cupid’s cup With the first draught intoxicates apace, A quintessential laudanum or ‘black drop,’ This makes one drunk at once, …  Byron’s Don Juan (1823) Figure 1. Glass bottle inscribed “Laud:Liqv:Syd” (Sydenham’s laudanum) Figure 2. Kendal “Black Drop”   The opium or breadseed […]

Andersonville, Georgia and Elmira, New York: When Hell was on Earth

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” — Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy   Andersonville Prison, Georgia. South end view of the stockade, showing the sentry stands in the distance. Photographed by A.J. Riddle, August 17, 1864. Library of Congress Liljenquist Family Collection. No known restrictions on publication. Elmira Prison, Elmira, […]

The vulnerability of love

Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt, 1897, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation. Courtesy of the Huntington Art Museum, San Marino, California. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. On Thanksgiving Day, I watch my niece Jenn with her seven-month-old daughter Laila playing […]

The appendicitis conundrum

Jayant Radhakrishnan Nathaniel Koo Darien, Illinois, United States   Lorenz Heister (1683-1758) was a German surgeon and anatomist. In 1711, he described acute appendicitis in great detail and suggested that it be treated. From Institutiones chirurgicae, in quibus quicquid ad rem chirurgicam pertinet optima et novissima ratione pertractatur, Neapel, Antonio Cervone, 1749. Via Wikimedia. No […]

Robert Koch, M.D., and the cure for sleeping sickness: ethics versus economics

Howard Fischer  Uppsala, Sweden   Ugandans with their identity tags. 1907. In the activity report of the commission sent to East Africa to study sleeping sickness during the year 1906/1907 by R. Koch, M. Beck, and F. Kleine, p. 320. La Société francophone de médecine tropicale et santé internationale. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Primum non nocere. […]

Louis Braille: wondrous gift, punishing recipe

Lauren Hill Walnut Cove, North Carolina, United States Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States Louis Braille (1809–1852), blinded and ultimately dying by “opportunity” … but not before inventing a wondrous gift to humanity. From De Tampon, 1925. Via Wikimedia. No known restrictions on publication.   “… as need, the mother of all inventions, taught […]