March 5 - May 18, 2012
Lower Level 2
Archives & Special Collections is pleased to announce a new exhibit, "Civil War Medicine," commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Using original books, medical journals, letters, and documents, the exhibit tells how American medicine coped with the greatest war in our nation's history with total casualties of 620,000.
As one scholar noted, the Civil War took place during "the very last years of the medical middle ages." When war broke out in 1861, the bacteriological revolution of Pasteur, Lister, and Koch was still a decade away. The usual medical practice of bleeding the patient and of dosing him with massive quantities of calomel and antimony probably did more harm than good. Overall mortality for the sick and wounded was about 53% in the Union Army, perhaps higher among Confederates.
On display are the 1st U.S. edition of Florence Nightingale's "Notes on Nursing," which had a beneficial influence on American military hospital practice; "The Hand-Book for the Military Surgeon" (1861), an important work for Union army surgeons by Charles Tripler, an 1827 P&S graduate; Louisa May Alcott's "Hospital Sketches" (1863), recounting her experiences as an army nurse in Washington; and an original 1864 contract in which David Webb Hodgkins (P&S 1863) signed up to be a surgeon in the U.S. Army for $100 a month.
For more information, contact the exhibit curator, Stephen Novak, at email@example.com