Category: History

Making Malaria History

Recently global headlines celebrated the news that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the RTS,S vaccine for use against malaria. While the headlines claimed this was “groundbreaking,” a “major milestone,” and a “historic day,” it didn’t take long for a note of caution to creep in.[1] The vaccine is less effective than many had… Read more →

What’s Old is New Again: The David Saunders Autopsy and Corporate Graverobbing in America

On August 24, 2021, 98-year-old David Saunders died from COVID-19 at a hospital near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Nearly two months later, on October 17, he was publicly dissected in front of hundreds of spectators in a Marriott hotel ballroom in Portland, Oregon. When news of the event reached the Saunders family, they were shocked. His… Read more →

Staging Anatomy for Profit . . . and Punishment

On October 17, 2021, the Oddities and Curiosities Expo hosted a public dissection in Portland, Oregon: Paying customers filed into a lower floor ballroom at the Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel. On a table in the center of the ballroom, a figure lay draped in a white sheet. The VIP customers, who paid the $500 ticket… Read more →

What Feminists Did the Last Time Abortion Was Illegal

As the US Supreme Court heard arguments over the Texas and Mississippi laws that threatened to weaken Roe v. Wade substantially, my thoughts turned to the abortion rights activists I interviewed in California in the wake of the 1989 Webster decision. Webster v. Reproductive Services also involved a Mississippi statute, one that required viability testing… Read more →

The Would-Be Female Doctor Who Believed Women’s Suffrage Would Eradicate Sexually Transmitted Infections

Edith Houghton didn’t have her heart set on medical school. But after she graduated from Bryn Mawr in 1900, she packed her bags and headed for Baltimore. Her mentor, M. Carey Thomas, had taken an interest in Edith, who excelled in chemistry and math, and encouraged her to pursue further studies at Johns Hopkins Medical… Read more →

Our Work is Not Complete Yet: The Tuberculosis Nurse Training Program at Virginia’s Piedmont Sanatorium

In May 1940, the Piedmont Sanatorium in Burkeville, Virginia, graduated eight African American nurses with advanced training in tuberculosis care. A “Class History” and “Class Prophecy” presented at the commencement ceremony articulated the value of educational attainment, individual determination, and collegial support. As discussed in the Nursing Clio series, Beyond Florence, the history of nursing… Read more →

The World Celebrates the First Malaria Vaccine—But Don’t Expect Malaria to Disappear

On October 6, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced it was recommending the first malaria vaccine, known as RTS,S, for broad use. The next day, we entered a University of Oregon classroom to meet 20 freshmen enrolled in Malaria: Science, Ethics, History, Technology. We wanted our students to know two things about the new… Read more →

In God’s Own Image: LGBT+ Community History at Lipscomb University

Growing up queer in evangelical Christian Southern culture is a unique experience. Having attended the same Christian K–12 school my entire life, I didn’t have access to the tools I needed to understand my gender or sexuality until relatively recently. Maybe I would have been able to do more of that in college had I… Read more →

Pandemic Parenting and the Lessons of Nineteenth-Century Romantic Friendship

When Mathilde Franziska Anneke and Mary Booth found their lives crumbling in 1860, they packed up their three youngest children and moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Zürich, Switzerland.[1] Mathilde and Mary were unusual. It was not common for two women to raise children together and leave a record of their intense affection for one another…. Read more →

Manhood, Madness, and Moonshine

In November 2015, Princeton University economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case published a startling report. Among 45 to 54 year olds with no more than a high school education, they found death rates increased by 134 per 100,000 from 1999 to 2014. These mortality rates, Deaton and Case argued, were not being driven by the… Read more →