history of medicine

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science by John Fleischman

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story About Brain Science

Phineas Gage was truly a man with a hole in his head.  Phineas, a railroad construction foreman, was blasting rock near Cavendish, Vermont, in 1848 when a thirteen-pound iron rod was shot through his brain.  Miraculously, he survived to live another eleven years and become a textbook case in brain science.  

What an amazing story!  The pictures and illustrations add to the narrative, and the cover photograph of his skull is very thought-provoking.  Phineas Gage: A Gruesome But True Story, by John Fleischman, approaches Phineas’s life after the accident from a scientific and psychological viewpoint. Fleischman includes interviews with people who knew Gage before his accident as well as after and observed the changes in his behavior.  The author also presents notes from the doctors who treated him over the eleven years following his accident. It is an amazing story of survival and the resilience of the human brain. Who would have thought that anyone could have survived even a little while--let alone talk, walk and function after such an event? 

Extraordinary Women of Medicine

By Darlene R. Stille

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Lively narratives briefly profile fifty female medical pioneers, beginning with women healers in ancient times. Chronological chapters proceed to the 1990s. Transitional chapters include First African American Doctors, Golden Age of Women Doctors, and Women in Medical Research.

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Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

By Gina Kolata

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"In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic felled the young and healthy virtually overnight. An estimated forty million people died as the epidemic raged. Children were left orphaned and families were devastated. As many American soldiers were killed by the 1918 flu as were killed in battle during World War I. And no area of the globe was safe. Eskimos living in remote outposts in the frozen tundra were sickened and killed by the flu in such numbers that entire villages were wiped out. Scientists have recently rediscovered shards of the flu virus frozen in Alaska and preserved in scraps of tissue in a government warehouse. Gina Kolata, an acclaimed reporter for The New York Times, unravels the mystery of this lethal virus with the high drama of a great adventure story. Delving into the history of the flu and previous epidemics, detailing the science and the latest understanding of this mortal disease, Kolata addresses the prospects for a great epidemic recurring, and, most important, what can be done to prevent it."

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The Dancing Plague: The Strange, True Story of an Extraordinary Illness

By John Waller

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"In the searing July heat of 1518, Frau Troffea stepped into the streets of Strasbourg and began to dance. Bathed in sweat, she continued to dance. Overcome with exhaustion, she stopped, and then resumed her solitary jig a few hours later. Over the next two months, roughly four hundred people succumbed to the same agonizing compulsion. At its peak, the epidemic claimed the lives of fifteen men, women, and children a day. Possibly 100 people danced to their deaths in one of the most bizarre and terrifying plagues in history.

"John Waller compellingly evokes the sights, sounds, and aromas; the diseases and hardships; the fervent supernaturalism and the desperate hedonism of the late medieval world. Based on new evidence, he explains why the plague occurred and how it came to an end... ."

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Science in Ancient Egypt

By Geraldine Woods

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Discover the achievements of the ancient Egyptians in science, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, agriculture, and technology.

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By the King's Patent Granted

"By the King's Patent Granted" was a common embossing on English medicines of the 18th century. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries patent medicines reigned supreme as cures for everything from "hooping" cough to kidney ailments.

Dr. Johnson's London: Coffee-houses and Climbing Boys, Medicine, Toothpaste and Gin, Poverty and Press-gangs, Freakshows and Female Education

By Liza Picard

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Coffee shops have been used as gathering places for a long time. During their mid-eighteenth century incarnation, they served as a meeting place for middle class up and comers and political radicals.

As might be surmised from the title, Dr. Johnson's London gives glimpses into the various sights, smells, and practical matters of life in long ago London for criminals, the poor, the middle class, high society and royalty. The author draws largely from original sources.

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Physick: The Professional Practice of Medicine in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1740-1775

By Sharon Cotner et al.

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Photographs and text from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation illuminate the practice of medicine in 18th century Virginia. Some of the featured topics include medical education, treatments, surgery, and brief biographical sketches of several local practictioners. The authors have worked together for years at the CWF's Pasteur and Galt Apothecary Shop and are specialists in 18th-century history.

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