Tag Archives: 20th century

Franz Kafka, A Country Doctor, (and Bob Dylan)

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Elk Viewing Sleigh Ride – Thunder Bay Resort, Hillman MI. Photo by Joe Ross. Via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 Certainly doctors are stupid, or rather, they’re not more stupid than other people but their pretensions are ridiculous; [but] you have to reckon with the fact that they become more and […]

Book Review of A Place in History: The biography of John C. Kendrew

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: A Place in History: The biography of John C. Kendrew. Remarkable scientific advances in the twentieth century were also crucial for the field of medicine. In the new field of molecular biology, for example, scientists applied the principles of physics and chemistry to elucidate the structure of […]

Mary Josephine Hannan: portrait of a pioneer

Katie King Atlanta, Georgia, United States   Mary Hannan. Photograph by Cowell, Simla. Via the Wellcome Collection. Public Domain. Mary Josephine Hannan was an Irish medical pioneer, an outspoken woman with a strong sense of morality, a fervid supporter of women’s rights, and a champion of children and public health. She spent her life fighting […]

The life of a trailblazer: Ogino Ginko, one of the first female doctors in Japan

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo of Ogino Ginko. From the National Diet Library. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. Ogino Ginko was Japan’s first female doctor of Western medicine. She lived a life full of struggles, achieved a flash of fame, and then quietly retreated into history. She advocated for the rights, safety, and […]

To wear or not to wear? Attitudes towards mask wearing then and now

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Mellieha, Malta   In September 1918, the Red Cross recommended two-layer gauze masks to halt the spread of “plague.” Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia. More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged around the globe, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial frontlines in the battle against […]

The proximity of death

Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author. […]

Ada English: the forgotten fighter

Laura King Atlanta, GA, United States   Photograph of Irish Politician Ada English. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 A reformer of psychiatric care, a fighter for Irish independence, and a forgotten figure in Irish history—that was Dr. Adeline (Ada) English. As a female physician working in Ireland from the beginning to the middle of the […]

Multiple sclerosis: early descriptions

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Clinical MS: Augustus D’Este, McKenzie Fig 1. MS plaques, by Robert Carswell. Source It was almost two centuries ago that the best known and possibly the first detailed patient’s description of multiple sclerosis (MS) was recorded. It survives in the diaries (1822-48) and almanac of Sir Augustus D’Este, the Harrovian […]

Medical and other memories of the Cold War and its Iron Curtain

Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe  Dundee, Scotland, UK   Iron Curtain as described by Churchill 1946. Edited from original. Original by BigSteve via Wikimedia. (CC BY 1.0) In 1946, Winston Churchill named the political barrier appearing between the Soviet bloc and the West the “Iron Curtain.” It lasted until 1991. I met or crossed it several times. The […]

Book Review of Viruses, Plagues, and History by M. B. A. Oldstone

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover The first edition of Viruses, Plagues, and History was published to great acclaim twenty years ago and has now been updated to include the pandemics of the twenty-first century. These include the SARS, MERS, and Zika virus outbreaks, which have now been eclipsed by COVID-19. The early story […]