Highlights from the State Medical Society Journals digitization project

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We’ve become somewhat accustomed to seeing “smoking doctor” pictures, typically the product of tobacco advertising cynically appealing to authority. The above image comes from a naturalistic setting however, depicting pathologist Dr. Harrison Martland (see table of contents below) at work.

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Dr. Martland is featured on the cover of the January 1984 edition of the Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey (Vol. 81 no. 1), digitized by the Internet Archive as part of the NEH grant-funded project to digitize many of our state medical society journals.

The journal lacks any commentary on the smoking but does lead us to an article on the analysis of Dr. Martland’s historical autopsy records performed at Newark City Hospital from 1908 to 1911.

The author draws some interesting conclusions about the safety and violence of Newark from Dr. Martland’s records, but perhaps one of the most interesting details is his attempt to record all his findings in Latin! He gave up eventually, doubtless making the author’s analysis that little bit easier.

Check out this and many other journals from our collection and four other libraries at the Internet Archive’s State Medical Society Journals project page. Expect continued updates to the collection throughout the year.

Joint Project to Digitize State Medical Society Journals, 1900 – 2000 Funded

librarylogo  The UCSF Library is collaborating with four other preeminent medical libraries on a project to digitize and make publicly accessible state medical journals. The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital resource on the history of medicine and health developed by an international consortium of cultural heritage repositories, has received funding in the amount of $275,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities for its proposal “Medicine at Ground Level: State Medical Societies, State Medical Journals, and the Development of American Medicine and Society.“ Additional funding has been provided by the Harvard Library.

Illustration for the article by Charles Kirkland Roys, M.D., published in the California State Journal of Medicine, Vol. Xi, No.3, March 1913.

Illustration for the article by Charles Kirkland Roys, M.D., published in the California State Journal of Medicine, Vol. XI, No.3, March 1913, page 116.

The project will create a substantial digital collection of American state medical society journals, digitizing 117 titles from 46 states, from 1900 to 2000, comprising 2,500,369 pages in 3,579 volumes. State medical society journal publishers agreed to provide free and open access to journal content currently under copyright. Once digitized, journals will join the more than 75,000 monographs, serials, pamphlets, and films now freely available in the MHL collection on the Internet ArchiveFull text search is available through the MHL website . MHL holdings can also be accessed through the Digital Public Library of America – DPLA, and the Wellcome Library’s UK-MHL.

Illustration for an article by Eugene S. Kilgore, M.D., published in the California State Journal of Medicine, Vol. XIII, No.12, December 1915, page 464.

Illustration for the article by Eugene S. Kilgore, M.D., published in the California State Journal of Medicine, Vol. XIII, No.12, December 1915, page 464.

State medical society journals document the transformation of American medicine in the twentieth century at both the local and national level. The journals have served as sites not only for scientific articles, but for medical talks (and, often, accounts of discussions following the talks), local news regarding sites of medical care and the medical profession, advertisements, and unexpurgated musings on medicine and society throughout the 20th century. When digitized and searchable as a single, comprehensive body of material, this collection will be able to support a limitless array of historical queries, including those framed geographically and/or temporally, offering new ways to examine and depict the evolution of medicine and the relationship between medicine and society.

UCSF is collaborating on this project with: The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University; the Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health at The New York Academy of Medicine; and the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, University of Maryland, the Founding Campus (UMB). The participants are currently reviewing their holdings, establishing workflows and will start digitizing the volumes this fall (UCSF holdings will be sent to the Internet Archive scanning facility in San Francisco); the project will be completed in April 2017.