Lieutenant Lowderback’s Short Snorter: A Flight Nurse’s Service and Souvenir in WWII

Lieutenant Ruth Banfield Lowderback was nervous on her first flight accompanying wounded and ill soldiers back to the mainland U.S. The plane barreled down the runway of Hawaii’s Hickam Airfield to embark on a twenty-hour flight to San Francisco. On February 17, 1945, twenty-seven-year-old Lowderback, newlywed and newly deployed, marked two milestones: her first service… Read more →

To Let Die: COVID-19 and the Banalization of Evil

The course of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a disturbing paradox as to how we deal with the disease. The two countries with the highest incidence and mortality statistics – the United States and Brazil – are the same places where there are large groups mobilizing against social distancing, mainly because of the actions of the… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Space is gay. A history of gloves. Black deaths matter. The hysteria accusation. How not to outlaw abortion. The long history of drinking games. How to confront a racist national history. Before Stonewall, there was a bookstore. We can’t end AIDS without fighting racism…. Read more →

Plastered Skulls: What can a 10,000 year old tradition teach us about coping with death?

Teaching about Death and Burial “Design your own burial” is an activity on my course syllabus. No matter how many times students see it on their handout and on the lecture screen, it takes them a minute to comprehend these words. Watching my twenty-something-year-old students think about their own mortality, their own death— sometimes for… Read more →

For the Sake of Humans: Animal Casualties and Medical Testing in Modern War

During the First World War, a group of British and American military engineers conducted a series of experiments to determine what kinds of dugouts would give soldiers the most protection from high explosive artillery shells. They did so in response to battlefield evidence that dead soldiers had been found with their bodies whole, with only… Read more →

“A keen vision and feeling of all ordinary life”: Pandemic Journaling in the History Classroom

In January 2020, I showed students a clip of historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in the documentary A Midwife’s Tale. Ulrich discusses how she reconstructed the life story of midwife Martha Ballard from the sparse entries left behind in Ballard’s diary. The diary covered all aspects of life on the Maine frontier in the late eighteenth… Read more →

Alvenia Fulton, Soul Food, and Black Liberation: An Interview with Travis Weisse

In Nursing Clio’s first annual best article prize, honorable mention went to Travis Weisse’s excellent and groundbreaking “‘Alone in a Sea of Rib-Tips’: Alvenia Fulton, Natural Health, and the Politics of Soul Food.” Known as the ‘Queen of Nutrition,’ Alvenia M. Fulton was a Black alternative health practitioner and health food promoter in Chicago from… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Party and protest. A history of tear gas. How we help the body breathe. Today’s Anglo-American eugenics. The past and future of Latinx voters. BleachMan says, “Clean it with Bleach!” The radical quilting of Rosie Lee Tompkins. Froth, feathers, fluff: the history of the… Read more →

Straightened Up and Dying Right? Queering Puritan Deathbeds

When I was ten, I was present at a close family friend’s deathbed, an experience that sparked my lifelong curiosity about what happens when a person moves from this life into whatever might or might not exist beyond it. Hence my interest in the Puritans. Few folks have expended more time and effort trying to… Read more →

Such a Pretty Tsaritsa

In her 2018 memoir Such A Pretty Girl, Nadina LaSpina describes her childhood in mid-twentieth century Sicily, and the pitying comments directed at her, a disabled girl, that cast her in two lights: attractive, but damaged.1 LaSpina contracted polio as a child, which left her without the use of her legs. Her family moved to… Read more →