Article on Verina Morton Jones

Many WHOM members have encouraged and supported me in this research over many years, so wanted to share the news that some of my research on Verina Morton Jones has finally made it into print! Thanks.




Susan K. Rishworth, MLS, MA, CA


American College of Surgeons

633 N. St. Clair Street

Chicago, IL 60611


Published in: on June 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Query: Boston Lying-In and Boston Hospital for Women

Dear WHOM,
I am working on a brief history of gender and biomedical research at Brigham and Women’s, for a coffeetable-type book commemorating the 100th anniversary of the hospital.  I aim to include material from the Boston Lying-In and the Boston Hospital for Women/Free Hospital for Women, before they merged with the Brigham.  I am not familiar enough with histories of the American hospital to know what research has been done on these hospitals, but I am guessing there should be some great books/articles already out there.  I would be grateful for suggestions.
Lara Freidenfelds, Ph.D.
From Susan Reverby:
Dear Lara,
There is a history of the Lying-In by Frederick Irving (grandfather of novelist John Irving) on the BLI I think called Lying IN. Morris Vogel’s history of the modern hospital will give you the Boston context
The first chapter of my Ordered to Care book has some things from the papers of the BLI that I worked in decades ago. Virginia Drachman’s book on the New England Hospital for Women and Children will also give you some context. I have this vague memory that Gina Morantz-Sanchez has an article that compares death rates at BLI to the New England Hospital that would have appeared some time in the late 70s.
From Judy Leavitt:
I had it wrong, I think. Laurie Crumpacker gave a talk at a Berks
conference in c. 1974 and Gina was arguing against her contention that
there was a significant therapeutic difference between male and female
doctors. Gina’s article about this is with Sue Zschoche and published in
the Journal of American History in Dec 1980.
sorry for the confusion…

Judith W. Leavitt
Rupple Bascom and Ruth Bleier Professor
of Medical History, History of Science, and Gender and Women’s Studies
University of Wisconsin
1300 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 263-4560

That’s what is in my memory for now.


PS Delighted you are doing this.

Published in: on June 21, 2012 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Recent Publications

Dear all,

Sorry I missed the breakfast this year — and thanks to Lara Freidenfelds for working so hard to encourage broad participation, and for inviting those of us who weren’t there to share new scholarship.

I recently published an article on the medical-legal history of artificial insemination in the US, based on material I presented at AAHM in 2011:
“Adultery by Doctor: Artificial Insemination, 1890-1945,” Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 87, No. 2, 591-633, 2012

The full article is available for download here:

For those of you particularly interested in the topic, another article focused on the research at the University of Iowa that led to the first use of frozen-thawed sperm in human artificial insemination should be appearing in the summer issue of the Annals of Iowa.  Title:  “Fatherhood After Death:  The Mid-Century Origins of the Sperm Bank.”

Thanks to those WHOMers who gave me feedback on these pieces, at AAHM, by reading drafts, and through peer review!


Kara Swanson

Kara W. Swanson, J.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Northeastern University School of Law
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-8288
Office:  37 Cargill


Dear All,

I’d like to share news of a recent publication that Elizabeth Toon and I co-authored, “‘Here Man Learns About Himself!’: Visual Education and the Rise and Fall of the American Museum of Health.” It is online at


Erin McLeary
Independent Scholar
Exhibit Developer, National Constitution Center
Philadelphia, PA


Dear WHOM:

I managed to get four things published in 2011, as I reported at the Women Historians’ Breakfast in Baltimore:

A review of the book on Oliver Wendell Holmes edited by Scott Podolsky and Charles Bryan, in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences;

An essay (“Anticipatory grieving”) in the on-line Hektoen International: A Journal of Medical Humanities;

An article (“The Library of the Royal Society of PHysicians in Budapest becomes today’s Semmelweis Medical History Library”)–written in collaboration with two of my
Hungarian colleagues–in the Journal of the Medical Library Association; and

A book chapter(“Simpson and Semmelweis: Debating the Contagiousness of Puerperal Fever”) in James Young Simpson: Lad o Pairts (edited by Alison Nuttall and
Rosemary Mander), published in conjunction with a Symposium in Edinburgh (where I also presented a version of this as a paper) celebrating the bicentennial of
Simpson’s birth.

If these sometimes seem to me like small potatoes, I like to think of them as seed potatoes–there will be a bigger harvest one of these years!

Constance Putnam


Sorry to have missed the WHOM breakfast which is always such a treat and invigorating  event which helps sustain the long desert days of work.Lara mentioned that it would be good to send in information on current publications to the WHOM listserve.  I have a chapter in a new book (see below), Instituting Reform. The Social Museum of Harvard University, 1903-1933 which documents how Francis G. Peabody attempted to teach social ethics to Harvard students through the use of visual materials amid the often conflicting tensions prevalent in the early Progressive Era. The book contains reproductions of a great deal of visual material relating to health issues that is potentially of special interest to medical and public health historians  period as well as access to the Museum’s original collection.

I look forward to participating in future gatherings of WHOM, perhaps next year…

Julie Brown

Julie K. Brown, M.A., Ph.D.

Independent Scholar

Research Associate, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Faculty Associate, Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio


Dear WHOM members,

I’d like to draw to your attention some pieces of mine which I hope will have value to those working on a range of historical periods (in particular the e-article ‘Galen and the widow’ which does a close reading of some of the early materials used in Rachel Maines’ work) – see at the end of this message – and also a conference I am co-organising on ‘Retelling familiar tales of pregnancy and birth’, 3-4 July 2012 Oxford, which is aimed at a range of disciplines and periods: see for more information.

Thanks for your time!


Helen King

Professor of Classical Studies| The Open University| Walton Hall| Milton Keynes| MK7 6AA
Module Chair, A219, ‘Exploring the Classical World’ (

Recent podcasts: On ancient medicine, and ‘Gladiator’, April 2012: (NB the full content is not available if accessed on an iPad)

On Agnodike the ‘flashing midwife’, March 2012:

On the Hippocratic Oath, with Peter Pormann and Vivian Nutton, September 2011:

Recently published: ‘History without Historians? Medical History and the Internet’, Social History of Medicine 25 (2012), 212-221 and ‘Response to Shelton’, Social History of Medicine 25 (February 2012), 232-238

‘Inside and outside, cavities and containers: the organs of generation in seventeenth-century English medicine’ in Patricia A. Baker, Han Nijdam, Karine van ‘t Land (eds.), Medicine and Space: Body, Surroundings and Borders in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Visualising the Middle Ages (4). Leiden: Brill, December 2011, pp. 37–60

‘Galen and the widow. Towards a history of therapeutic masturbation in ancient gynaecology’, EuGeStA: Journal on Gender Studies in Antiquity 1 (December 2011), 205-235 (

The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).

Published in: on June 6, 2012 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment