Thursday, February 24, 2011

Researching medical artifacts, part 2

Last month I posted a first entry on researching medical artifacts. Since then, I've given a presentation to Lewis & Clark College history students on this topic, and we've also started working with our Oregon College Art & Craft artists on their Scavenger Hunt artifacts. All of these discussions have focused on using primary resources - the artifact itself, and related materials from the time when the artifact was first in use. But we realize that not everyone has easy access to these resources. In these cases, starting your research with secondary resources can help you get started.

One book I've referred to repeatedly is:

Edmonson, James M. American Surgical Instruments: The History of Their Manufacture and a Directory of Instrument Makers to 1900. San Francisco: Norman Pub, 1997.

I recommend Edmonson's book as a user-friendly but thoroughly researched historical survey. It's a great entry point for learning about the history of the manufacture and use of medical equipment.

Some other relevant books held at OHSU Library are:]

Bennion, Elisabeth. Antique Dental Instruments. New York, NY: Sotheby's Publications, 1986.

Bennion, Elisabeth. Antique Medical Instruments. London: Sotheby Parke Bernet, 1979.

Davis, Audrey B., and Mark S. Dreyfuss. The Finest Instruments Ever Made: A Bibliography of Medical, Dental, Optical, and Pharmaceutical Company Trade Literature, 1700-1939. Arlington, Mass: Medical History Pub. Associates I, 1986.

Davis, Audrey B. Medicine and Its Technology: An Introduction to the History of Medical Instrumentation. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1981.

Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine, Gustav C. E. Weber, and James M. Edmonson. Nineteenth Century Surgical Instruments: A Catalogue of the Gustav Weber Collection at the Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine. Cleveland, Ohio: Historical Division, Cleveland Health Sciences Library, 1986.

Kirkup, John. The Evolution of Surgical Instruments: An Illustrated History from Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century. Novato, Calif: Historyofscience.com, 2006.

Ricci, James V. The Development of Gynaecological Surgery and Instruments; A Comprehensive Review of the Evolution of Surgery and Surgical Instruments for the Treatment of Female Diseases from the Hippocratic Age to the Antiseptic Period. Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1949.

OHSU patrons are free to check these books out from the library's main collections.

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