Screaming Over the Rubble: The Shifting Role of the Family in American Disaster Victim Identification

When the South Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, collapsed in the early hours of June 24, I shuddered to think about how many lives had been lost. Because of my research on the history of disaster victim identification (DVI), however, I also started thinking ahead to the recovery of the dead. I knew that the… Read more →

Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, and the Physicians Who (Still) Find Them Threatening

During the 2021 Louisiana legislative session, I took part in a campaign to eliminate an unnecessary law that has sexist, racist, and classist origins and effects. In doing so, I witnessed a striking contemporary iteration of the long patriarchal and racist history of medicine. Physicians organized a vehement response to what they viewed as a… Read more →

Addressing the Language Gap: A Review of Marvels of Medicine: Literature and Scientific Enquiry in Early Colonial Spanish America

The year of reckoning with the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19 increasingly reminds us to attend to the relationships between health status and narrative experiences – how, for example, art and artists can express and contextualize our understanding of health experiences and inequities. Yet current research shows us the linguistic and cultural gaps still… Read more →

The Problem with Medical History in the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has prompted a proliferation of newspaper articles, think-pieces, and other public writing on the history of medicine. Some have been quite thoughtful, offering new perspectives on the past and present of science, technology, and healthcare, and making radical suggestions for the post-coronavirus future. Others, however, have indulged some of our worst instincts about… Read more →

Mare of Easttown: Not Just Another Dead Girl Show

The HBO crime drama Mare of Easttown captivated viewers, who flocked to social media with theories about who killed Erin McMenamin. The show follows detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) as she investigates this and other cases in Easttown, a suburb of Philadelphia. Billed as “an authentic examination of how family and past tragedies can define… Read more →

The School of Nursing at Starozakonnych Hospital in Interwar Warsaw: How Amelia Greenwald and Sabina Schindlerówna Challenged Antisemitism in the Nursing Profession

In the spring of 1923, Amelia Greenwald arrived in Warsaw, Poland, to undertake an urgent task. A nurse from the United States, she was to establish a school of nursing for young Jewish women at the Starozakonnych Hospital.[1] The project was funded by the Joint Distribution Committee, an organization founded during the Great War to… Read more →

When Philadelphia Became a Battlefield, Its Surgeons Bore Witness

In the summer of 1844, Philadelphians rioted with an intensity beyond anything the city had endured for decades. A new political party – dedicated to restricting the rights of immigrants – sought to gain followers by staging mass rallies throughout Philadelphia County. When they gathered in the predominantly Irish-Catholic Third Ward of Kensington in May,… Read more →

Captivity, Breastmilk, and the Myth of Colonial Supremacy: An Interview with Carla Cevasco

Carla Cevasco is the winner of the second annual Nursing Clio Prize for Best Journal Article. Her winning submission, “‘Look’d Like Milk’: Colonialism and Infant Feeding in the English Atlantic World,” appeared in the Journal of Early American History in 2020. Dr. Cevasco is an assistant professor of American Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her… Read more →

Manslaughter or Necessary Operation? Abortion and Murder in Early 20th-Century Missouri

In April 2021, I was part of an exciting experimental conference, hosted by Dr. Courtney Thompson through Mississippi State University: Archival Kismet. In “Archival Kismet: a Manifesto,” Dr. Thompson outlines the goals of and thinking behind the conference. For me, the conference allowed me to reach out to other scholars to discuss sources that were a… Read more →

Blood, Teeth, and Fire: A Dispatch from Cincinnati, 1844

This is a story about walking between worlds. It happens now (more or less; December 2020) and also then (October 1844). In the present, I was working on the Dr. Todd A. Herring Collection, re-sorting folders and looking for pieces to scan so I could transcribe them over winter break. I am an archives nerd;… Read more →