Last fall, I spent a few days at a conference at Yale, which included a neat field trip that I have been woefully slow to blog about. It was a trip to the library at the Yale School of Medicine, which includes a historical library and a collection of brains. (More on the brains later.) First: old books at the Medical Historical Library.
They showed us many fabulous old books, which I would remember more about if I had written this eight months ago like I should have. I can tell you that among them was a nifty volume called Yaggy’s Anatomical Study, copyrighted 1885 in Chicago, Illinois (with patents granted in 1886). It came in several sections, for different parts of the body. The largest was a torso, with flaps. First you lift up the muscles, then the front of the ribcage:
…then the lungs, the heart, and onward until you see the back of the body cavity. Another section had an arm and a leg, with different flaps showing how the blood vessels and bones and muscles are situated. One page shows three views of a stomach; the last is captioned “a stomach, after ten or fifteen days continuous drinking.” It doesn’t look very healthy. Something to do with a temperance campaign, I guess.
Speaking of health campaigns, they also showed us a set of posters printed in 1928 for a Soviet public health campaign, warning women about the dangers of veneral disease. Like this one:
It’s titled “Gonorrhea can Deprive a Woman of the Joy of Motherhood.” See how sad she is? It’s because she has gonorrhea and can’t have children. The set of posters was meant to be taken around to instruct people on public health. They’ve digitized the whole album – you can see it here.
Here’s another one, because it’s always fun to mix ideology and public health:
The caption, according to the online album: “Capitalism generates the causes of prostitution: lack of rights, material want, homelessness.” (The next one, helpfully, says that with socialistic development, “improvement of women’s labor qualifications, involvement of women in political and social affairs, protection of women and children removes the causes of prostitution.”)
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