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The Reynolds-Finley Associates, in conjunction with the Historical Collections (HC) unit of UAB Libraries, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), are pleased to announce the availability of short-term awards of up to $2,500 to individual researchers studying one or more aspects of the history of the health sciences during the 2020 calendar year. Intended to support research using the HC unit as a historical resource, the fellowship requires the on-site use of at least one of the unit’s three components, which are the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, and UAB Archives. All materials must be submitted by January 31, 2020 to receive consideration. Awards will be announced by February 28, 2020. For more information and application details, visit the fellowship page.

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Explore the new Research Guide for the Transactions of the Southern Surgical Association Digital Collection. Learn about the history and origin of this association that was founded in Birmingham in 1887. Need help navigating the digital collection? Read up on some searching and browsing tips and discover how the collection can be used to trace historical topics over more than a century in pages devoted to the surgical treatment of gallbladder disease and the development of organ transplantation. If you have additional questions or want more information, contact the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library.
portrait of da Vinci

The Anatomical Studies of Leonardo da Vinci, a new exhibit on display on the 3rd floor of Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, traces the various stages of Leonardo’s anatomical studies and puts his work within the context of contemporary and subsequent anatomical and physiological understanding. The anatomical drawings of Leonardo have been held by the Royal Library of Windsor Castle since the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) and are here displayed within reproductions and facsimiles from the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, alongside a life-size replica of a human skeleton from the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences. This fascinating new exhibit can be viewed from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, call (205) 934-4475.

Fisher's illustration of a patient with smallpox

The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library has recently acquired John Dix Fisher’s Description of the distinct, confluent, and inoculated small pox, varioloid disease, cow pox, and chicken pox (1835). Fisher’s notable book intended to distinguish smallpox from other diseases exhibiting skin eruptions through detailed illustrations. The American physician graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1825 and then spent two years in the hospitals of Paris, where he employed a French artist to illustrate eruptive diseases at the bed-side of patients during an epidemic of smallpox. The original plates and unsold copies were later destroyed in a fire, increasing the rarity and significance of the book. For more information on this and related works in the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, contact us.

Photo of Searcy Hospital in Mount Vernon, Alabama

UAB History intern for the spring semester, Olivia Evans, assisted in creating a display titled “The Black Hospital Movement” using Reynolds-Finley library materials and imagery found within. This was part of a larger project to further develop the library’s collections regarding African Americans in medicine and health care that she facilitated during her internship. As her display explains, “The Black Hospital Movement emerged in response to African American doctors and patients being excluded from most hospitals due to segregation laws.” The image shown here is of the Searcy Hospital in Mount Vernon, Alabama, which was the mental hospital for African Americans from 1902 to 1969. Come visit the display in Reynolds-Finley Historical Library.

Hughes Evans headshot.

The 40th Annual Reynolds-Finley Historical Lecture will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. "What Doctors Say and What Patients and Families Hear: Lessons from the History of Medicine and Pediatrics" will be presented by Hughes Evans, MD, PhD, Marcus Professor of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

Illustrated character with glasses and a beak.

Scourge: Diseases That Shaped History is a new exhibit curated by the four UAB Art History Capstone students of Assistant Professor of Art History, Noa Turel. Students Kelsey Jones, Oakleigh Pinson, Tina Ruggieri, and Brooklynne Todd created the exhibit using historical books and artifacts, all of which are held within the collections of the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences and the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library. It is on display on the 3rd floor of Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences until May 31, 2019. This fascinating new exhibit can be viewed from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Download the exhibit flyer

The Reynolds-Finley Associates, in conjunction with the Historical Collections (HC) unit of UAB Libraries, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), are pleased to announce the availability of short-term awards of up to $2,500 to individual researchers studying one or more aspects of the history of the health sciences during the 2019 calendar year. Intended to support research using the HC unit as a historical resource, the fellowship requires the on-site use of at least one of the unit’s three components, which are the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences, Reynolds-Finley Historical Library and UAB Archives.

Learn more

Man riding mythical creation in the sky.

Now on display at Mervyn H. Sterne Library, Witchcraft, Women & the Healing Arts in the Early Modern Period brings together materials from the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, and Sterne Library. Various topics covered include accusations of witchcraft against midwives and other folk healers, supernatural themes of alchemy and astrology found in academic medicine of the time, as well as the possibility that ergot poisoning contributed to the mass hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials. Contemporary conceptions of witchcraft, its practices and traditions, are also addressed.

Through the ages, the practices that came to be associated with witchcraft provided a connection to both the natural and the supernatural forces of the universe. However, beginning in the 13th century, witches became identified as those possessed by or in allegiance with the Devil or demons. Between the late 1400s and the mid-1700s, circulating guidebooks on how to properly identify witches, as well as growing social discord, often targeted individuals who practiced the healing arts during the well-known witch hunts and trials.

The Southern Surgical Association (SSA) was founded in 1887 by Birmingham brothers and surgeons, Drs. W. E. B. and J. D. S. Davis. Since the organization’s first annual meeting on December 4-6, 1888, publication of annual transactions have followed. These transactions include proceedings of the meetings as well as a publication of the scientific papers read therein, with transcriptions of subsequent paper discussions. In 1987, Lister Hill Library at the University of Alabama at Birmingham became the official archival repository for the Southern Surgical Association. The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library holds the archival copies of the association’s transactions, and the UAB Archives holds all other materials of the association’s archives.

In the process of establishing the SSA archives, the UAB Department of Surgery set up a fund in memory of Dr. Joseph M. Donald, the respected Birmingham surgeon who passed away just two months after his election to the organization’s presidency in December of 1960. As noted by Dr. Robert S. Sparkman in the organization’s 100-year anniversary volume (1987), the purpose of this fund “would be to ensure in perpetuity the maintenance and utilization of the Southern Surgical Association historical collection.” Now under the administration of Dr. Marshall M. Urist, this memorial fund continues to serve that purpose.

For over a year now, plans have been in the works between library staff and Dr. Urist for a mass digitization of the association’s transactions. Pricing estimates, assessments of scanning vendors and digital technology capabilities, and extensive copyright research are some of the issues and considerations that have gone into the planning process, involving a small group of essential collaborators within UAB Libraries.

We are pleased to announce that as of October 30, 2017, 109 volumes of the Transactions through to the copyright-determined date of 1997 have been scanned by Crowley Company of Frederick, Maryland. We are now working to upload the scanned volumes to the UAB Digital Collections and describe them with appropriate metadata. Further web development to exhibit the digital transactions are planned for the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library and Southern Surgical Association websites. One exciting feature of this digital collection will be the ability to search for particular terms, keywords, and names across all volumes of the transactions (and only the transactions) at one time. We will keep you posted on the progress of the project and will let you know when the collection is available online. In the meantime, we want to give special thanks to Dr. Urist, the Southern Surgical Association, and the UAB Department of Surgery, for supporting this effort.

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