Few people I know like working at the UK National Archives. They find it too impersonal, too frigid, too strict. But since I first worked there in July 2014, it has become my archival home. The place is dependable — you can always find silence in the reading rooms, good espresso in the ground-floor café,… Read more →
I am a professor teaching at a public teaching university in Grand Junction, Colorado. I love research and thinking about research. However, I am poor in both time and funding. Like others at similar institutions, I teach a 4/4 load with close to 150 students per semester and my institution does not allow us to… Read more →
My friend’s father is in the hospital, and it’s been rough. His cancer treatment did not go as expected. “He’s suffering so much!” my friend sighed. “And the doctors, they’re just experimenting on him. It’s horrible.” When I heard this, I was confused. Was her father in some sort of experimental treatment? “No. But the… Read more →
On September 22, 1859, 30-year-old Margaret Merchant of Philadelphia was admitted to the obstetrical ward at the Blockley Almshouse. She was pregnant with her sixth child — a boy, though with the ultrasound almost exactly a century in the future, Mrs. Merchant could not have known that at the time. A mother of five, Mrs…. Read more →
The HeLa cell line, infamously derived in 1951 from the tumor of Henrietta Lacks, was cultured and immortalized to provide standardized research material for scientists, generating an astonishing 74,000 scientific publications. HeLa, originating from “female” cells, became the most widely used cell line in twentieth century biomedical science, including in critical areas such as cancer… Read more →
You’ve probably heard of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to earn a medical degree, but did you know that Dr. Blackwell came from a most extraordinary and progressive family? The Schlesinger Library at Harvard University recently announced the completion of a digitization project aimed at providing online access to approximately 120,000… Read more →
The possibility of having an “adventure in the archives” always seemed a bit far-fetched. My perceptions of academia, particularly as they related to notions of adventurousness, were dominated by images of Indiana Jones holding a dirty artifact and marking an X on a map. When Professor Carolyn Lewis (the adviser to whatever academic adventures loomed… Read more →
By Rachel Epp Buller
As historians, we often work with primary sources – documents about a place or records of a person’s existence. Paging through issues of a journal from a hundred years ago can feel like traveling through time, and reading personal letters now held in an archive offers not only remarkable insights but also feelings of intimacy and privilege. But, what happens when you see something that you wish you hadn’t?
By Elizabeth Reis
It is exciting to read about promising new gene therapies that might make living with various disabilities easier or even render them extinct. Researchers at University of Massachusetts Medical School are working on a way to “turn off” the extra chromosome found in people with Down syndrome. If the gene therapy works as they hope, turning off the chromosome would mitigate some of the effects of Down’s. So far this possibility has only been glimmered in a laboratory dish, but ultimately the goal would be to turn off the extra chromosome prenatally, so that the brain would form without developmental and intellectual encumbrances.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-Hippies worshipped Satan, smelled bad (according to voucher schools in Louisiana).
-Little House, alcohol, and gendered respectability.
-The immortal, shattered cells of Henrietta Lacks.
-Epidemiologist’s advice: Be afraid of your food.
-It’s been 45 years since the My Lai massacre.