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  • Diabetes and public health

    07/04/2016

    The theme for World Health Day 2016 is “Beat diabetes”. How did diabetes become a public health issue? Maybe public health officers from the past can shed some light. Diabetes is a complex condition. We’ve known of its existence for… Continue reading

  • The musings of melancholy

    30/03/2016

    Can writing about melancholy help alleviate it? Under the pseudonym Democritus Junior, this is what a 17th-century scholar was attempting to achieve through his book The Anatomy of Melancholy. The title caught my attention while working on the UK Medical… Continue reading

  • Christ carries death, sin and the devil up a ladder onto the cross

    Easter 1547: a warlord repents

    24/03/2016

    Easter provides a time for considering the significance of the gospels’ accounts of the last days of Jesus Christ: the sequence of crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. The woodcut above shows Martin Luther on the right and his protector Frederick the… Continue reading

  • Fish fingers and the coal face: launching the Tavistock Institute archive blog

    17/03/2016

    How do you organise the workplace so that it better reflects the needs of its workers? What do housewives think of fish fingers? How can psychology be used and applied to recruitment processes, to help get away from wearing-the-right-colour-tie biases… Continue reading

  • Fragment from 1562 almanac.

    The origins of the English almanac

    11/03/2016

    Almanacs have a long association with medicine. Potted health advice lent itself to inclusion in the sort of cheap booklets for a mass market that proliferated under the name ‘Almanack’ from the 16th century onwards. But what exactly is an… Continue reading

  • Hand in margin of manuscript.

    Hands, holes and hashtags: Wellcome MS. 550

    27/02/2016

    The first manuscript that I ever encountered face-to-face was Wellcome MS. 550. This volume, mainly in medieval Latin, dates from the early 15th century, and is a compendium of different medical and surgical writings. As my research involves the plague,… Continue reading

  • The rise and fall of Sequah

    24/02/2016

    Few patent medicine advertising campaigns could have been as quirky as that of the Sequah Medicine Company. A browse through the late 19th century issues of the Chemist and Druggist journal traces the rise and fall of the Sequah business.… Continue reading

  • Full Michael Ashburner archive catalogued

    22/02/2016

    Throughout 2015 the Michael Ashburner archive was catalogued and released in stages. The final batch of records has now been finished and the entire catalogue is available online (Wellcome Library reference: PP/MIA). Previous blog posts have demonstrated why Ashburner is… Continue reading

  • The archival afterlife of an artwork

    15/02/2016

    The ‘Would you mind?’ installation was commissioned from artist and writer Neil Bartlett for Wellcome Collection’s exhibition: the Institute of Sexology. The piece took the form of a questionnaire available to visitors in the final section of the show. Samples… Continue reading

  • A life researching sexually transmitted infections

    12/02/2016

    Hungarian-born Dr George Csonka (1916-2000) was a venereologist and an expert in his field. A man so dedicated to his profession, he even infected himself with non-gonococcal urethritis in order to find the right antibiotic (reference: PP/CSO/A/5). Dr Csonka’s personal papers… Continue reading