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Ten Cent Beer and Pickled Herring!

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University of Buffalo's 3rd Medical School 24 High Street

University of Buffalo’s 3rd Medical School Building 24 High Street


While searching for some unrelated information, I came across an interesting article by Bruce Kershner in the December, 1986 Buffalo Physician on the history of the UB Medical School buildings.  It seems that the third building that housed the Medical School (1898-1953), on 24 High Street, was located opposite the German-American Brewery and its tavern.  Apparently the tavern was considered by the inhabitants of the school to be part of the school’s “campus”.  Mr. Kerchner described the appeal of the “campus” as written in an article by Dr. Berhardt Gottileb in the Buffalo Medical Review in 1968:


“With the purchase of a schooner of beer for 10 cents, the Brewery supplied to its students and faculty…pickled herring, pea soup, small franks, fair-sized hamburgers, pickles galore, a mountain of rye bread on every table, not to mention the onions….. Students made use of their “captive audience” situation with the faculty.  No matter how faculty longed to escape from the smell of onions and garlic reeking from students always eagerly pursuing them to ask endless questions, the nominal price and the huge quantities of good food proved too strong an incentive to forego”

1. Bruce Kershner.  140 Years of Medical Buildings. Buffalo Physician. Vol.20: no.1 December 1986,  p. 9

2. Bernhardt Gottlieb, MD. The Medical School of 1930. Buffalo Medical Review. Spring 1968, p. 26

3. Image of the German-American Brewery from the University at Buffalo Libraries Pan American Exposition Exhibit, 2001.

German-American Brewery. Photographer: Unidentified. Source: A History of the City of Buffalo : Its Men and Institutions : Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens. Buffalo, N.Y. : Buffalo Evening News, 1908. p.135wery.

German-American Brewery. Photographer: Unidentified. Source: A History of the City of Buffalo : Its Men and Institutions : Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens. Buffalo, N.Y. : Buffalo Evening News, 1908. p.135












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The Stereoscope: 3D for the 19th Century

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You may have heard of a View-Master…If you were like me, you might have even had one as a child (I loved mine). Using lenses and standard two-dimensional photographic images, these devices provide glimpses into a three-dimensional (3D) world, all contained within a bright plastic box.  Before the View-Master however, 3D images were already being enjoyed by earlier generations thanks to an invention known as the Stereoscope (seen in the image below). Using stereo cards placed at a fixed distance from the viewer’s eyes, those from the mid-19th century and onward could visit foreign countries, witness ghostly manifestations, or observe historical events in all three of life’s dimensions!

Holmes-style stereoscope, late 19th c., with a collection of dermatological stereo cards 1911)

Holmes-style stereoscope, late 19th c., with a collection of dermatological stereo cards.










The first stereoscope was invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838. Relying on a pair of mirrors mounted at 45 degree angles, viewers could fix an eye upon the left and right images to experiences a fusing of the images into one solid three-dimensional (3D) image.  In 1849, David Brewster of Britain refined Wheatstone’s creation with the development of a lens-based or lenticular stereoscope. Lenses enabled a reduction in the size of the stereoscope, allowing for the production of handheld devices.  Known as Brewster Stereoscopes, these devices were a hit when demonstrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851, famously gaining the admiration of Queen Victoria.

Upon further refinement by the Frenchman Jules Duboscq, a creator of stereoscopes and stereoscopic daguerreotypes (stereo cards), the 3D industry developed rapidly within the Western world. [1] Our Collection’s particular stereoscope most resembles the “American Stereoscope”. First developed by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (a prominent physician and father of the well-known Supreme Court Justice of the same name),  during the 1850’s, these stereoscopes allowed more light for visualizing, weighed less, and could comfortably be held in one hand. [2]

The medical profession found usages for the stereoscope, particularly for educational purposes. Stereo cards, able to provide a sense of space and dimension, introduced viewers to medical diseases and conditions, human anatomy, as well as procedural and technological standards. Using this method of instruction, doctors published both boxes of instructional images (textual descriptions explaining the images of the stereo card were printed on each card’s verso) and printed volumes which attached stereo cards to the bottom of thick, traditional-sized descriptive pages (See image below).

A page within Dr. James Case's Stereoroentgenography of the Alimentary Tract (1914), providing an example of the proper way to perform a vertical roentgenoscope; note on the cabinet (from which the man is reaching out for a cup of, most likely, bismuth) is specialized attachment for making stereoroentgenograms.

A page within Dr. James Case’s Stereoroentgenography of the Alimentary Tract (1914), providing an example of the proper way to perform a vertical roentgenoscope; note on the cabinet (from which the man is reaching out for a cup containing, most likely, bismuth) is specialized attachment for making stereoroentgenograms.

With the invention of reontgenography, or X-Ray technology, the interior of the living body itself was able to be captured in 3D. This was the first time technology could provide a 3D view of the living body’s interior for medical appreciation and study. The following quote offers a glimpse into the process of creating stereo-roentgenograms (and stereo cards in general, if we swap mention of “X-ray tubes” for “camera”). It is provided by James T. Case, M.D. within the introduction to his 1914 publication, Stereoroentgenography of the Alimentary Tract:

“Stereoscopic roentgenography involves the making of two roentgenograms, the second plate having exactly the position of the first. Before exposing the second plate, the tube [X-ray tube] should be shifted laterally a distance of six centimeters, which is the average interpupillary distance. A roentgenogram is thus made for each eye. The two roentgenograms are then studied in some device [a stereoscope] which permits the fusion of the two images upon the retina.” [3]  

Despite its initial popularity and utility, medical instruction moved away from the stereoscope sometime after the 1920’s. Perhaps this was due to the increasing availability of cadavers, or the availability of moving pictures for instruction, or maybe this change was due to the ready availability of plastic anatomical models.  Perhaps the rise of the beloved View-Master, introduced in 1939, shifted the opinions of medical educational community away from this form of 3D education. After all, medicine at this time was experiencing a professional upswing. The utilization of an object like the View-Master, which provided the public with such amusement, might have no longer been welcomed in medical classrooms, looking as they were to instill a sense of professionalism among their students.

If you are interested in learning more about the stereoscope, stereo cards, or the story of their rise and fall in medical education, feel free to stop by the Collection. There is so much history here just waiting to be uncovered!


Works Cited:



3. James T. Case (1914). Stereoroentgenography of the Alimentary Tract: Southworth Compnay, p.4 .

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Boces 2014!

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On October 24th the History of Medicine Collection was pleased once again to host a visit from students involved in the Erie 1 BOCES:Connections Health Related Careers program. This 1-year  program gives honors-level high school seniors the opportunity to observe careers in many allied health areas through a mentor relationship with a practicing professional in fields including Anatomy, Physiology and Disease, Health Core/Internship, English 12 and Social Studies: Participation in Government & Economics. Participants spend three hours each day at a designated hospital site taking course work and observing all aspects of health careers.” The two hospitals involved are Veterans and Millard Fillmore Suburban.  This group was guided by their always enthusiastic instructor, Christine Tillman.  The students also worked with HSL librarian Liz Stellrecht on how to locate and evaluate quality health sciences literature using UB Libraries’ resources.  Following a tour of the History of Medicine Collection, the students had the opportunity to explore old books and medical instruments “up close and personal.”  It was a most enjoyable experience to meet this new group of bright and motivated students!



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Dr. William C. Krauss of Buffalo: Champion of the Medical Library

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Dr. William Christopher Krauss

Dr. William Christopher Krauss

In recognition of Medical Librarians Month, I thought I would share an interesting address delivered at the January, 1905 annual meeting of the Medical Society of the County of Erie held in Buffalo, New York.  Dr. William C. Krauss, a prominent Buffalo physician, discussed his thoughts on the importance of having a “consolidated” medical library in the community that would serve as “an important adjunct to a medical center.”  He believed that “the library is practically a storehouse of medical literature with the advantage that all material is arranged and cared for so as to be available at a moment’s notice and that “the value of the medical library as a factor in medical education cannot be overestimated,…”  He also discusses the importance of professional medical library associations, specifically mentioning the Association of Medical Librarians, now the Medical Library Association, founded in 1898 by Sir William Osler, MD, George Milbry Gould, and Margaret Ridley Charlton. According to Dr. Krauss, the purpose of these organizations was to foster “medical libraries and the maintenance of an exchange of medical literature among its members…”

While Krauss felt strongly that the ideal scenario for medical knowledge acquisition would involve both a consolidated medical library and a professional medical library organization, he did mention an interesting alternative, a “sort of community of interest plan.” The five pillars of which included (for the Buffalo region):

1) Card index catalog of all participating public and private libraries

2) Periodicals across institutions would not be duplicated to allow for more extensive coverage of medical topics across the community

3) The development of each library’s collection to best serve their main constituents

4) Acquainting the profession with the Index Medicus and the Index Catalog of the Surgeon General Office, while fostering inter-library loan activities

5) To preserve the literary efforts of the Buffalo and Erie County medical profession in a central location.

Curious for more? The link to the article is below…I believe that it is well worth reading!

Buffalo Medical Journal Vol. 60 1904/1905

Dr. William Chrisopher Krauss himself was an interesting individual.  He received his MD from Bellevue in 1886 and another MD from Berlin in 1888.  His specialty was neurology and he was the first to study the effects of high voltage on the brain.  To read more about him follow this link:  Obituary starts at bottom of page 378.

Buffalo Medical Journal Vol. 65, 1909/1910

First volume of the Bulletin of the Association of Medical Librarians, 1902

First volume of the Bulletin of the Association of Medical Librarians, 1902












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What’s Happening in History of Medicine

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With the second week of October already upon us, the Fall Semester activities here at UB are certainly in full swing!We have had an exciting, busy semester thus far and have been fortunate to have hosted or participated in several very worthwhile endeavors.

On Friday, September 19th, 2014 the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection was privileged to host the Faculty of the UB School of Nursing as they celebrated the 18th Annual Bullough Endowed Lecture. While at this pre-lecture luncheon, Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the UB School of Nursing, guest speaker Marla Salmon, ScD, RN, FAAN., Professor of Nursing at the University of Washington, as well as several of the School’s faculty and emerita faculty joined Keith Mages, senior assistant librarian of the Collection and UB Nursing School alumnus, as he conducted a tour for the guests with a focus on the Bullough Nursing History Collection and our historical nursing artifacts.

Guests at the Bullough Luncheon

Guests at the Bullough Luncheon

Guests at the Bullough Luncheon

Guests at the Bullough Luncheon








Dr. Brandy Schillace

Dr. Brandy Schillace

Brandy Pic

Guests who attended the Friends of the Health Sciences Library’s Annual Program on October 6th, 2014 enjoyed a stimulating presentation by Dr. Brandy Schillace, Research Associate at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Sages Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  Dr. Schillace’s talk, Naissance Macbre: Birth, Death and Female  Anatomy, focused on the anatomy of the pregnant womb as depicted in works by anatomists and physicians such as Galen, Vesalius, William Smellie, and William Hunter.  The accompanying powerpoint further enhanced the talk which resulted in lively discussions afterwards.  A reception followed in the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection that gave the guests an opportunity to meet the speaker and ask additional questions.  Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!


The 48th Annual Membership Meeting of the Western New York Library Resources Council took place on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the Lockport Canalside Banquet Center in Lockport.  Following a boat ride on the Erie Canal and dinner, Eric Kinyon of the Town of Lockport IDA, gave a presentation on The Restoration of Lockport’s Erie Canal Flight of Five Locks.  On behalf of the University Libraries, Amy Lyons accepted the Outstanding Library/Program Award for Stress Relief Days, a time when Lockwood and Health Sciences Library provide a space for students to relax, eat, and, most importantly, play with dogs.  It was a great evening to see old friends and to meet new ones!

On the canal

On the Canal

Inside the Banquet Center

Inside the Banquet Center





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Destitution, Seduction and Abandonment, and the Drink: Prostitution in New York, 1853

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In the History of Medicine Collection!

Dr. William Wallace Sanger was born in Connecticut in 1819.  After receiving his MD from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York in 1847 he spent some time at Bellevue Hospital.  He was subsequently appointed as the first resident physician at the Blackwell’s Island Houses of Correction.  In 1853 concerns about the increase in prostitutes in New York prompted the city’s aldermen to authorize Dr. Sanger to investigate the reasons why women turned to prostitution.  Working with Sanger, police questioned 2,000 women in Blackwell’s venereal disease hospital about their ethnic and social backgrounds and their reasons for becoming prostitutes.  The results were published in Sanger’s landmark 1858 book The History of Prostitution.  (See image below left).  In addition to New York City, Sanger thought that it would be “advisable to ascertain the prevalence of the vice in some of the leading cities of the United States…”  He sent letters to the mayors of a number of cities asking them to respond to questions about prostitution in their cities.  The Mayor of Buffalo’s response is most interesting!



Prostitution in Buffalo












1) Wikipedia: William Wallace Sanger

(2) Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work.  Melissa Hope Ditmore, Ed.  2006. 424-425

(3) The history of Prostitution.  William W. Sanger. 1858




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Naissance Macabre: Birth, Death, and Female Anatomy

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You are cordially invited to the Annual Program of the Friends of the Health Sciences Library On Monday, October 6th, 2014.  Dr. Brandy Schillace, Research Associate at the Dittrick Medical History Center and Sages Teaching Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, will speak on “Naissance Macabre: Birth, Death and Female Anatomy.  The danse macabre, or dance of death, features whirling skeletons and other personifications of death stalking the living. These images appeared regularly in the medieval period, particularly after outbreaks of bubonic plague. One of the salient features was death and life pictured together, frequently in the form of a young and beautiful woman. The juxtaposition symbolized how fleeting life could be, and served as a warning against vice and vanity. While death and the maiden might remind viewers of their own mortality, another set of images became far more instructive to the preservation of life: death and the mother—the anatomy of the pregnant womb. In this talk, Dr. Schillace, author of Death’s Summer Coat, will discuss historical approaches to death in western culture and western medicine. How did we arrive at our current understanding of death, anatomy, the body, and all the relationships therein? What might our past tell us about our present–and our future?  If you would like to attend the program, please fill out the response form below and return to Linda Lohr, History of Medicine, Health Sciences Library, B5 Abbott Hall, 3435 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214 by September, 24, 2014.

We hope to see you there!



Email:   Phone: 829-5737

South Campus Map

Harriman Hall is building #17 Abbott Hall is building #3


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History of Medicine comes to the Family Health Fair!

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Some of the Many Providers at the Fair

Keith and I were very pleased to have the opportunity to represent the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection at the Family Health Fair on August 2, 2014 at the Amherst Senior Center.  The Fair was hosted by State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and the Amherst Senior Center in partnership with Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Assemblyman Raymond Walter, and Kaleida Health. More than 85 providers offered screenings and services to attendees including blood pressure checks, bone density heel scans, cholesterol and hearing screening and skin cancer screenings.  Surrounded by state of the art health care technology, the History of Medicine exhibit  displayed books and artifacts that provided a glimpse into some historical aspects of public health including well baby contests and child welfare, visiting nurses, and the life of a country doctor in Central New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  We were happy to hand out our new History of Medicine brochures to the numerous attendees who stopped at our tables to chat and share some of their stories.  One visitor, upon seeing a bottle of Cheracol cough medicine on display, told us that as a child she liked the taste of it so much that she once drank an entire bottle.  At that time Cheracol contained, among other ingredients, chloroform, codeine phosphate and alcohol!  It was great to meet new people and see folks who work or used to work at UB. We also held a drawing for the chance to win a pack of our botanical notecards.  Cards were mailed to five lucky winners.  The Health Fair gave Keith and me an invaluable opportunity to promote the Collection to an entirely new audience and hopefully attract more visitors to come and experience it in person.  We also made contacts that may result in our taking part in other events of this nature including participation in future Family Health Fairs.

Healthy Babies and Child Welfare

Healthy Babies and Child Welfare

Visiting Nurses and a Country Doctor

Visiting Nurses and a Country Doctor








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Conversations: No. 2

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Tyler Love behind the camera!

We first met Tyler Love as a UB Department of Library Studies graduate student who took our practicum
“Introduction to Special Collections: the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection” in early 2007. In this position, Tyler participated in day-to-day Collection activities such as reference work, exhibit preparation, and collection development. She also contributed her ample artistic and photographic talents to the promotion of the History of Medicine collection, photographing a number of items belonging to our Edgar McGuire Historical Instrument Collection and as well as our books.  Tyler is now an archivist working with the National Air and Space Museum. She previously worked in a similar position with the National Park Service.  As an “old” friend of the History of Medicine Collection we thought it would be fun to ask Tyler a few questions about herself and share the answers with you!


You work at the National Air and Space Museum, what a fascinating place to work! Could you tell us a little more about your role there?

I am an archivist. Before this I was the archivist for Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, which was equally fascinating – just sayin!

What projects have you been most excited to work on?

While working at Chaco, many projects required time out in the field – all of that was great. At NASM I am over the moon to have been selected to process the Arthur C. Clarke papers once they get here from Sri Lanka.

While you visited our Collection, you identified and photographed several woodblock prints and older illustrations. What is it about these pieces of visual culture that intrigue you?

Simply put, I love science and I love art. The books I choose to shoot blend both (or in some cases, what the author thought was science at the time!) I also purposely choose books with dense bindings that would be hard to scan, even with a specially made book scanner.

Random Question: Beer or Wine?

Beer! Especially Dog Fish Head’s Chicory Stout which I have a lot of trouble finding outside of Buffalo.


One of Tyler’s pics from a book by Blasii.

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Conversations: No. 1

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This is the first in a series of conversations with friends of the History of Medicine Collection both new and old.  Featured below are two graduates of the UB Medical School who, last fall, came down to the History of Medicine Collection by chance. While looking around they noticed the ongoing “dollar a book” sale carts and spent some time browsing the contents.  They ended up purchasing quite a few of the books and that is how Keith and I came to know Dr. Colleen Nugent and Dr. Peter Martin.  They periodically return to see what “new” items might be available and it’s always a pleasure to talk with them.  We wanted to learn a little more about Peter and Colleen and asked them to respond to several questions about themselves and their love of vintage medical books and history.  We know you’ll enjoy reading their answers!

Tell us a little about yourselves. How did you find our Collection?

We are both grew up in Western New York and met while still attending Canisius College.  We spent many hours in the Health Sciences Library as we each completed graduate and medical degrees through UB.  It was while studying for our specialty board examinations in the HSL that we first learned about the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection and realized that we found a hidden treasure.

You’ve purchased quite a few of our used books, made available during our ongoing book sale. What is it about vintage texts that appeals to you both?

Barrister bookshelf: the new home of the old books!

Barrister bookcase: the new home of some of the old books!

The experience of touching a unique piece of history is always exciting.  It is fascinating to see how much has changed in medicine and how much has remained the same over the past century.  In an age of electronic medical records and an increasingly computerized lifestyle, we enjoy the experience of sitting with an actual book and looking at the world through the medical lens of several generations of physicians. These texts hold the stories and patient descriptions despite being over 100 years old that remain vivid and richly describe the patient as a whole person.  We find ourselves easily able to conjure up an image of these century old encounters much easier and faster than modern EMR templated patients.

What place, if any, does history have in the practice of modern medicine?

There is so much to learn in modern medicine that it is difficult just to keep up-to-date on the newest breakthroughs.  Still, having an appreciation for how things were thought of in the past helps give perspective as to the way that medicine is practiced today.  The field of medicine is constantly reflecting on how to improve, and there are ample examples of how looking back at a previous way that something was thought of or done has been useful in the present.

Bonus Random Question!: If you were to be granted a trip to any location, during any time period, where and when would you choose?  

Buffalo at the turn of the 20th century.  1901 was the time that the lights literally came on in Buffalo.  It must have been an exciting time of rapid expansion industry, medicine and culture.  It would have been dazzling and exciting to see the infant incubator on the Midway.  We cannot help but find some similarities of the Pan- AM Expo with the current day progress with the new medical campus.

Dr. Peter and Dr. Colleen Nugent

Dr. Peter Martin and Dr. Colleen Nugent



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