Evan P. Sullivan

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 →

Pathologizing Politics: Eugenics and Political Discourse in the Modern United States

Carrie Buck was three months shy of her twenty-second birthday when she was forcibly sterilized on October 19, 1927. Buck’s fate was based on the 1924 Virginia eugenic sterilization law, which marked individuals for sterilization based on vague and misleading concepts such as immorality, defectiveness, weak-mindedness, and promiscuity.1 Eugenicists, social hygienists, and lawmakers passed state… Read more →

Disability Identity and the Culture of Veteran Athletics in Modern America

In May 2020, Prince Harry will inaugurate the fifth Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands. An international sporting event for wounded, disabled, and sick veterans of modern war that began in 2014, the Invictus Games will bring together five hundred athletes from over a dozen countries competing in events like wheelchair basketball, cycling, and archery…. Read more →

Civil War Disability in the Light and the Dark: An Interview with Sarah Handley-Cousins

Sarah Handley-Cousins argues in her new book, Bodies in Blue: Disability in the Civil War North, that the bodies of disabled Union soldiers and veterans “were sites of powerful cultural beliefs about duty, honor, and sacrifice,” yet those ideals became complicated with men who failed to perform the socially accepted role of wounded warrior. Her work… Read more →

“Considerable Grief”: Dead Bodies, Mortuary Science, and Repatriation after the Great War

In September 1919, Mary McKenney was forced to relive the horrors of her husband Arthur’s death. Sergeant Arthur McKenney was wounded in France and returned to the United States.1 Despite his minor injury, he later died at a US Army hospital in Colonia, New Jersey from shock following an operation. After the autopsy, his body… Read more →

Quacks, Alternative Medicine, and the U.S. Army in the First World War

During the First World War, the Surgeon General received numerous pitches for miraculous cures for sick and wounded American soldiers. Ranging from anti-sea sickness remedies to complex elixirs for treating diseases like tuberculosis and venereal disease, America’s “quack” and non-traditional medical practitioners sought a seat at the table. Serving as a barrier between established medical… Read more →

Neuro-Psychiatry and Patient Protest in First World War American Hospitals

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. As historian and Nursing Clio writer Evan Sullivan tweeted earlier this week, “We’ve always benefitted from the proximity of living within a century’s distance from WWI, but after this Sunday, it will begin to drift further into history. It will be… Read more →

Between War and Water: Saratoga Springs and Veteran Health after the First World War

One month and eight days before world leaders signed the Armistice to end the First World War, New York Governor Charles Whitman wrote to Surgeon General William Gorgas to ensure that his state would play a role in caring for America’s veterans. He advocated on behalf of Saratoga Springs, a vibrant city forty miles north… Read more →

Neurasthenia, Capitalism, and Biopower in HBO’s Westworld

The HBO series Westworld has amassed a large fan base that has grown since the start of the second season. For those who haven’t tuned in, the show is set in the near future and follows the activity of a park full of robots who look and act like humans. Humans pay premium prices to… Read more →

Thrown Open to the Public: Medicine, Modernity, and Disabled Veterans on National Hospital Day in the Interwar Years

On May 12, 1923 hundreds of visitors poured into United States Veterans Hospital 81 for insane soldiers in the Bronx for the third annual National Hospital Day. New Yorkers toured the facilities and viewed exhibits of disabled veterans, paying particular attention to a new printing shop “where patients publish the hospital paper, Hospitality.” Touting the… Read more →