New Book | Women Healers

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2022

From Penn Press:

Susan Brandt, Women Healers: Gender, Authority, and Medicine in Early Philadelphia (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022), 312 pages, ISBN: 978-0812253863, $40.

In her eighteenth-century medical recipe manuscript, the Philadelphia healer Elizabeth Coates Paschall asserted her ingenuity and authority with the bold strokes of her pen. Paschall developed an extensive healing practice, consulted medical texts, and conducted experiments based on personal observations. As British North America’s premier city of medicine and science, Philadelphia offered Paschall a nurturing environment enriched by diverse healing cultures and the Quaker values of gender equality and women’s education. She participated in transatlantic medical and scientific networks with her friend, Benjamin Franklin. Paschall was not unique, however. Women Healers recovers numerous women of European, African, and Native American descent who provided the bulk of health care in the greater Philadelphia area for centuries.

Although the history of women practitioners often begins with the 1850 founding of Philadelphia’s Female Medical College, the first women’s medical school in the United States, these students merely continued the legacies of women like Paschall. Remarkably, though, the lives and work of early American female practitioners have gone largely unexplored. While some sources depict these women as amateurs whose influence declined, Susan Brandt documents women’s authoritative medical work that continued well into the nineteenth century. Spanning a century and a half, Women Healers traces the transmission of European women’s medical remedies to the Delaware Valley where they blended with African and Indigenous women’s practices, forming hybrid healing cultures.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Brandt demonstrates that women healers were not inflexible traditional practitioners destined to fall victim to the onward march of Enlightenment science, capitalism, and medical professionalization. Instead, women of various classes and ethnicities found new sources of healing authority, engaged in the consumer medical marketplace, and resisted physicians’ attempts to marginalize them. Brandt reveals that women healers participated actively in medical and scientific knowledge production and the transition to market capitalism.

Susan H. Brandt is a Lecturer in the Department of History at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Exhibition | A Taste of One’s Own Medicine

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on June 20, 2022

Now on view at the Royal College of Physicians:

A Taste of One’s Own Medicine: Medical satire at the Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians, London, 3 May — 2 December 2022

We see countless satirical images in our everyday lives, from commercial advertisements and newspaper cartoons, to magazine covers and humorous internet memes. Graphic satire has saturated all levels of society since it emerged as a skilled artform in the 17th century. It developed into a thriving industry in the 18th century, becoming a powerful tool for expressing political and social opinions.

A Consultation of Physicians, unknown artist (Royal College of Physicians, photography by John Chase).

The enduring appeal of satirical images encompassed the wealthy and poor alike. Reproduced in their tens, hundreds or even thousands, prints could be bought, viewed in shop windows and later newspapers, and put up in public places such as barber shops, billiard rooms, and brothels. Like many public figures, medical professionals such as doctors, apothecaries, and surgeons were targeted by satirists and caricaturists. These artists used public opinion and personal agendas to ridicule, reprimand and malign their subjects and the work they were involved in.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) cares for a unique collection of medical satire prints from the mid-18th century to the 1980s, selected and given by doctors and members over its 500-year history. Like all satire, these prints are closely tied to a particular time and place. They responded to contemporary events and were consumed by audiences who understood the circumstances of their creation. Join us as we explore the diverse social, political, and historical contexts in which our satirical prints were produced and seek to decipher the complex narratives they contain.

satire, n. A work of art which uses humour, irony, exaggeration or ridicule to expose and criticise prevailing immorality or foolishness, especially as a form of social or political commentary.

caricature, n. Grotesque or ludicrous representation of persons or things by exaggeration of their most characteristic and striking features.

lampoon, n. A virulent or scurrilous satire upon an individual.

New Book | Patterns of Plague

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2022

From MQUP:

Lori Jones, Patterns of Plague: Changing Ideas about Plague in England and France, 1348–1750 (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2022), 408 pages, ISBN 978-0228010791 (hardcover), $130 / ISBN: 978-0228010807 (paperback), $40.

An innovative study of plague in medieval and early modern Europe reveals the changing perceptions surrounding epidemic disease over centuries and across national borders.

For centuries, recurrent plague outbreaks took a grim toll on populations across Europe and Asia. While medical interventions and treatments did not change significantly from the fourteenth century to the eighteenth century, understandings of where and how plague originated did. Through an innovative reading of medical advice literature produced in England and France, Patterns of Plague explores these changing perceptions across four centuries. When plague appeared in the Mediterranean region in 1348, physicians believed the epidemic’s timing and spread could be explained logically and the disease could be successfully treated. This confidence resulted in the widespread and long-term circulation of plague tracts, which described the causes and signs of the disease, offered advice for preventing infection, and recommended therapies in a largely consistent style. What, where, and especially who was blamed for plague outbreaks changed considerably, however, as political, religious, economic, intellectual, medical, and even publication circumstances evolved. Patterns of Plague sheds light on what was consistent about plague thinking and what was idiosyncratic to particular places and times, revealing the many factors that influence how people understand and respond to epidemic disease.

Lori Jones is a historian of medieval and early modern medicine at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

New Book | Rhetoric, Public Memory, and Campus History

Posted in books by Editor on June 20, 2022

From Clemson University Press in association with Liverpool University Press:

Rhondda Robinson Thomas, ed., Rhetoric, Public Memory, and Campus History (Clemson: Clemson University Press, 2022), 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1638040200, £95 / $130.

This essay collection explores the inextricable link between rhetoric, public memory, and campus history projects. Since the early twentieth century after Brown University appointed its Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, higher education institutions around the globe have launched initiatives to research, document, and share their connections to slavery and its legacies. Many of these explorations have led to investigations about the rhetorical nature of campus history projects, including the names of buildings, the installation of monuments, the publication of books, the production of resolutions, and the hosting of public programs. The essays in this collection examine the rhetorical nature of a range of initiatives, including the creation of land acknowledgement statements, the memorialization of universities’ historic financial ties to the slave trade, the installation and removal of monuments or historical markers, the development of curriculum for campus history projects. The book takes a chronological approach, beginning with the examination of a project at a university that was built on the site of a historic Native American town, moving through a series of essays about initiatives that grew out of universities’ associations with slavery and its legacies in the United Kingdom and America, and ending with a critique of several pedagological approaches in campus history courses designed for undergraduate students.

Rhondda Robinson Thomas is the Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University where she teaches and researches early African American Literature. She is author of Call My Name, Clemson: Documenting the Black Experience in an American University Community and Faculty Director of the award-winning Call My Name Project for which she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has published articles and books with Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press as well as in African American Review and American Literary History. She is also the research and community engagement coordinator for the Clemson’s Woodland Cemetery Project.


Rhondda Robinson Thomas — Introduction: The Inextricable Link between Rhetoric and Remembrance in Campus History Projects
1  Andrew Denson — ‘Always Cherokee Land’: Campus History and Indigenous Placemaking in Western North Carolina
2  Stephen Mullen — Acknowledging the Legacies of Enslavement in British Universities: Slavery, Abolition, and the University of Glasgow
3  Christopher P. Lehman — Acknowledging Slavery’s Ties to Minnesota’s Public Universities through Historical Markers
4  Monet Lewis-Timmons — Beyond Kitty’s Cottage: The Double-Containment of Catherine ‘Miss Kitty’ Boyd and Black Commemoration Practices in Oxford, Georgia
5  Cecelia Moore — Reckoning with Silent Sam: The Confederate Monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
6  Charles F. Irons — White Memory and White Violence at Elon University
7  Prithi Kanakamedala — ‘We Must Stand United’: Re-telling a Radical History of Bronx Community College at the City University of New York
8  Charissa Fryberger — Looking Racism in the Face at Clemson University

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