“…I'm a jake walkin' papa with the jake walk blues”
“A preacher drank some ginger, he said he did it for `flu . That was his excuse for having the jake leg too.”
In a classic example of culture reflecting the conditions of the times, so sang the Allen Brothers and Vardaman Ray respectively in the 1930s. “Jake leg” or “jake walk” meant permanent paralysis for as many as 100,000 people who drank a certain patent medicine product known as Jamaica Ginger -- a ginger extract. During prohibition, the Treasury Department ordered the percentage of solids in patent medicine doubled to reduce “tippling”, and so a pair of zealous manufacturers added tri-ortho-cresyl-phosphate, TOCP, a "plasticizer" used to keep synthetic materials from becoming brittle, to their Jamaica Ginger product to meet this new regulation, thus introducing a potent neuro-toxin. Sounds a little like the recent pet food debacle that occurred in 2007!. Such incidents heighten awareness of the continuing need for agencies like the FDA to safeguard products that we assume are safe – read Emily Friedman’s commentary, Happy Tails, Jake Leg, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Western New York residents may wonder if our local Jog for the Jake run has anything to do with “jake leg” – the answer is it does NOT. The 5K road race and Kids' Fun Run, established in 2002 in memory of Dr. Lawrence D. Jacobs, Buffalo's world-renowned Multiple Sclerosis (MS) physician and researcher, raises funds for The Jacobs Neurological Institute to be used for neurological research. It is just coincidence that both “jake leg” and “Jog for the Jake” involve neurological conditions.
The Mosquito: Its Relation to Disease and Its Extermination. From the holdings of Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine—Harvard Medical School.
Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics -- Digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from Harvard University’s libraries, archives, and special collections that contribute to the understanding of the global, social–history, and public–policy implications of diseases and offer important historical perspectives on the science and the public policy of epidemiology today.
Library of the Benedictine Monastery of Admont, Austria
Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries -- just one section of Curious Expeditions, a site "devoted to unearthing and documenting the wondrous, the macabre and the obscure from around the globe." Read about skull art in Papua, New Guinea (discovered on a trip to Austria), or Teodoro Schwartz aka billionaire George Soros, one of just a thousand or so native Esperanto speakers on the planet. Truly an eclectic historical journey for the mind and soul!
Plate 57 from Rousseau - La Botanique (1805
In Rousseau's Own Hand—His Book, His Notes, and Botany features annotations written inside Dominique Chabrey's 1678 Omnium Stirpium Sciagraphia et Icones, a book verified in 2006 as having once belonged to the famous 18th century French philosopher and writer, as well as several other books owned and used by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the study of botany. The site includes scans of the original pages from these books, as well as background information on Rousseau and others who influenced his work.
Japanese Woodblock Print "Oranda"
Japanese Woodblock Print Collection at the U. of California, San Francisco offer a glimpse of traditional Japanese attitudes toward illness, the human body, women, religion, and the West. The four hundred prints on health-related themes, the largest in the U.S., offer a visual account of Japanese medical knowledge in the late Edo and Meiji periods dating to the mid-late nineteenth century, when Japan was opening to the West after almost two hundred and fifty years of self-imposed isolation. The print "Oranda" is in the "Foreigners & Disease" theme area.
Hermann Boerhaave, Dutch physician and professor of medicine
Medical History Podcasts, a fairly new entry to the Podbean.com site, contains an increasing list of eclectic podcasts in the history of medicine from scholars and Ph.D. candidates. Current samplings include such intriguing titles as "Elephants and Exclusivity" about veterinary history, and "Poetry, Climbing Boys, Health" about the occupational ills of chimney sweeps in the 17th and 18th centuries and connections to sentimentalism and other esoteric literary connections. Each podcast includes an introduction to the author, who then reads the topical paper. This cache of work offers unique access to medical historical writings that might otherwise be buried in Ph.D. chapters.
Mary Eubanks, 2003
Faces of Science, an exhibition by photographer Mariana Cook (the last protégé of Ansel Adams), portraits of some of the greatest men and women of the scientific community are paired with a short autobiographical essay explaining how the scientist became interested in his or her chosen field. This unique treasury of word and image, scientific and personal, illuminates the individual character of each scientist and reveals some of what they have in common: intellectual curiosity, a desire to help mankind, and an ability to work with others to accomplish their tasks. The exhibition runs from Aug. 7-Sep. 28 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.
Sir William Osler (1849 - 1919), father of modern medicine
Diseases of the Mind: Highlights of American Psychiatry through 1900, an exhibit from the National Library of Medicine History of Medicine web pages. Included is a brief entry on Rush, who "believed that mental diseases were caused by irritation of the blood vessels in the brain... treatment methods included bleeding, purging, hot and cold baths, and mercury.."
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos (in this case, Tyler's) from Flickr tagged with historyofmedicine. Make your own badge here.
A Flickr "badge" highlighting thumbnails of Tyler's photos
Need to write a research paper on a history topic? The U. of Wisconsin-Madison Ebling Library offers a Historical Resources for Students support page that offers a basic outline and a step-by-step method. While some of the resources are specific to Wisconsin's environment, most of the information is applicable to UB. Watch for our "History Helpline" corner, which will compile other resources to help!
Who Named It? -- whonamedit.com is "the world's most comprehensive dictionary of medical eponyms," that is, biographical information about persons who discovered or first described a disease, structure, operation, or procedure which now bears their name. Look up "Bonnet's Syndrome", named for Charles Bonnet, the author of our recently acquired Considerations sur les corps organises.