[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a contribution to debates on slave health and welfare, this article investigates the variety, functions, and overall significance of infirmaries for the enslaved in the antebellum South. Newspapers, case histories, and surviving institutional records of antebellum Southern infirmaries providing medical treatment for slaves offer a unique opportunity to examine the development of modern American medicine within the "peculiar institution," and to explore a complex site of interactions between the enslaved, physicians, and slave owners. The world of the medical college hospital in South Carolina and an experimenting clinic in Alabama are reconstructed using newspapers and medical case histories. The Patient Register of the Hotel Dieu (1859-64) and the Admission Book of Touro Infirmary (1855-60) are used to highlight the types of enslaved patients sent to these two New Orleans commercial hospitals and to explore connections between the practice of medicine and the business of slave trading in the city. In addition to providing physicians with a steady income, slave infirmaries were key players in the domestic slave trade, as well as mechanisms for professionalization and the mobilization of medical ideas in the American South.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 07/2009; 65(1):1-47.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article considers the development of two features of central Italian society in the post-Roman period (approximately the mid-fifth to the mid-ninth centuries) that have been thought to have affected significantly the condition of life of the peasantry there: rural settlement and the taxation system. It argues that we should be wary of attempting to reconstruct the settlement landscape from the surviving documents: too often, references to agrarian structures are misconstrued as references to settlements. The shape of the latter is rarely visible in the textual evidence, but can be appreciated far more certainly from archaeological surveys and excavations, which present a picture of the evolution of the human landscape that is far more varied than a simple transition ‘from villa to village’. Documentary sources are more helpful in tracing the fate of the Roman taxation system. They point to structural continuities in the way that the peasantry was exploited that did not significantly vary between neighbouring political territories, and that reveal how the powerful continued to affect both the location and the condition of peasant life.
Journal of Agrarian Change 12/2008; 9(1):92 - 119.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article examines the influence of slavery and race on medical education, practice and research in the American South. Drawing on the published autobiography, case-histories, and correspondence of American slave surgeon and 'pioneer' gynaecologist, James Marion Sims, the contribution highlights a lesser known episode from his early career, namely his surgical treatment of enslaved infants suffering from trismus nascentium (neonatal tetanus). Sims became a highly prestigious figure in his later medical career, but the foundations of his success relied on the use of slave bodies and enslaved patients. These were typically distinctive features of the life of an ambitious medical professional in the slave South, where the profession profited from the institution of slavery, and human experimentation and medical research were advanced specifically through the exploitation of the region's enslaved population.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Late-Victorian England witnessed a decline in the recorded level of violence. Recent historical scholarship ascribes this fall to the 19th-century “civilising offensive” and suggests that male violence was effectively targeted by legislators and subject to increasingly stringent punishment by the courts. Yet concern with violence persisted. During the 1890s, it was expressed both in the enduring debate on the problem of male violence against women and in the growing anxieties surrounding youth gangs and “hooliganism.” This paper examines a criminal trial, held in Birmingham in 1898, which effectively fused these apparently disparate phenomena. The conviction of a young metal polisher, an alleged gang member, for the manslaughter of his former “sweetheart” aroused considerable comment in the local press. Both gang membership and violence against women were denounced as problems of the Birmingham “slums.” Close inspection of the trial reports suggests that neither the perpetrator nor the victim in this case conformed fully to the stereotypes of the gang member and his “moll” that were applied to them. Yet these stereotypes performed an important ideological function, distancing the problem of violence from the mainstream of civic life and thus preserving the veneer of English civility, whilst masking the persistence of male violence within courtship as well as marriage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: "Natural measures of quantity, such as fathoms, cubits, inches, taken from the proportion of the human body, were once in use with every nation," taught Adam Smith in his lecture "Money as the measure of value and medium of exchange," delivered in 1763. "But by a little observation," he continued, "they found that one man's arm was longer or shorter than another's, and that one was not to be compared with the other; and therefore wise men who attended to these things would endeavour to fix upon some more accurate measure, that equal quantities might be of equal values. Their method became absolutely necessary when people came to deal in many commodities, and in great quantities of them." Smith's comments and the rationale underpinning them became increasingly urgent toward the end of the eighteenth century.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: At the end of the nineteenth century, medical paradigms of menstruation were located in a language of pathology and disability. Women were, therefore, perceived as incapable of competing with men in the world of education, work, and economics on account of their erratic and debilitating biology. This essay examines the challenge posed to this vision of menstrual disability by female medical practitioners in the early decades of the twentieth century. The new narratives of menstruation authored by these women not only re-cast normative menstrual experience as non-disabling, but were also formulated on the basis of canvassing the opinions of healthy schoolgirls rather than developing theories based on clinical contact with a minority of women defined as 'ill'. Yet female practitioners remained tied to a culture of 'menstrual discretion', thus perpetuating the secrecy and taboo associated with menstruation in the nineteenth century. This essay explores the tensions inherent in striving to overturn an oppressive medical model of menstruation whilst promoting menstrual discretion, and aims to place such apparent contradictions within the context of cultural notions of gendered identity and feminine sexuality.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Books reviewed in this article:Katrien Heene, The Legacy of Paradise. Marriage, Motherhood and Women in Carolingian Edifying LiteratureMarcelle Thiébaux (ed), Dhuoda, Handbook for her Warrior Son. Liber ManualisSally Crawford, Childhood in Anglo-Saxon England
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has sometimes been assumed that the Report of the Seebohm Committee on the Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services of 1968 and subsequent Local Authority (Social Services) Reorganization signalled a reduction in the influence of Medical Officers of Health in the care of poor and disorganized families and an increase in that of social workers. This article considers the role of Medical Officers of Health in the care of such families in the period after the Second World War, and their relationship with one of the key voluntary social work agencies in the field, Pacifist Service Units/Family Service Units. By examining the shift in responsibility from public health doctors to social workers and using the Bristol Family Service Unit as a case study, it argues that in many areas the Children and Young Persons Act of 1963 was used formally to transfer responsibility for such families to the Children's Departments and that the process was complete before the Seebohm Committee reported in 1968. It also suggests that those families in difficulty who remained the responsibility of the Public Health Department, and who were thought to have increased in number during the course of the 1960s, presented health visitors and public health doctors with a different range of problems, although they continued to be labelled problem families.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are three identifiable phases in comparing vaccination policy in England, Prussia and Imperial Germany. (1) Prior to the 1870's the tradition of medical police in Prussia resulted in the vaccination of the population being treated as a State responsibility earlier than in England and provided an appropriate administrative framework. The administrative pressure that could be exerted persuaded the Prussian authorities that legislation to make vaccination compulsory was unnecessary. In contrast, England and Wales lacked both the tradition and administrative structures of a medical police. Legislation (1840, 1853) for free and universal infant vaccination was followed by radical ideological and administrative innovation. (2) From 1875 to 1889 both countries provided free and compulsory vaccination for all. In England this was limited to infants; in Germany including Prussia, it included the re-vaccination of children. (3) After 1889 England and Germany began to diverge more sharply. In England vaccination rates fell and after 1898 conscientious objectors were excused from having to have their children vaccinated. Germany retained compulsory vaccination and rates in the two countries increasingly diverged. England came to rely on the local public health administration for the surveillance and containment of smallpox, including selective vaccination of contacts. Despite these differences smallpox mortality dropped sharply in both countries, although in Germany somewhat earlier. The English reliance on surveillance and containment prefigures that of the WHO in the eradication of smallpox in the Third World. It suggests that the emphasis on the importance of high levels of mass vaccination in the German literature should perhaps be revised.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: That voluntary and municipal hospitals in inter-war Britain enjoyed different levels of prestige is well known. This article explores ways in which the status of hospitals was reflected in the recruitment of probationer nurses on Merseyside and argues that there were overlapping hierarchies between and within the two sectors.
International history of nursing journal: IHNJ 02/1997; 2(3):5-16.