On June 26th Keith and I presented our third and last program of the Spring Speakers Series at the Amherst Center for Senior Services entitled “Medical Newspaper Clippings, 1901-1906” that was accompanied by a Power Point presentation that included the background of the collection. Housed in the stacks of the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection for many years were three large volumes marked “Invoices”. Upon closer inspection, the unassuming looking tomes turned out to be scrapbooks filled with fascinating articles, compiled by a clipping service, from various Buffalo newspapers during the years 1901 to 1906 that focused on public health and politics in Buffalo. The other interesting aspect of this collection is the fact that Buffalo had so many newspapers at that time. The articles were taken from papers including the News, the Courier, the Enquirer, the Times, the Review and the Express. There are also clippings from newspapers in German and other languages.
Because the clippings are so fragile it was decided to try to either digitize or photocopy them to make the materials useable while preserving the originals. The volumes were subsequently sent for reformatting to the University Libraries Preservation Department on the North Campus where the staff did an amazing job of photocopying and then digitizing these materials. Use of the clipping collection is now available through four acid-free, bound paper copies. After the photocopying was completed, each volume was examined for articles of particular interest and good examples of the overall content of the collection were digitized. This valuable resource is available for use by the University’s School of Public Health and Health Related Professions and other groups and individuals outside the University involved with or interested in public health issues.
The presentation focused on two specific diseases: smallpox and typhoid fever. Some historical background was provided that pre-dated the clippings after which selected news articles that demonstrated how these diseases were addressed and dealt with medically and politically over the years were shown. The four photocopied volumes and one of the original volumes were made available for viewing by the people attending the program.
It was a great pleasure for Keith and me to participate in the Spring Speaker Series at Senior Center and we hope to be invited back in the future!