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Dittrick Medical History Center

Dittrick Medical History Center

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Upcoming Events

Deanna-DayApril 9th, 6:00 pm, The Percy Skuy Lecture: Reinventing the Safe Period: The Contested History of Fertility presented by Deanna Day, PhD.

Deanna Day is a historian, writer and postdoctoral fellow at the prestigious Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. In 2011 while a graduate student in Penn’s history of science program, Day came to the Dittrick to delve into our artifact collection and trade catalogues pertaining to clinical thermometry. Her dissertation “98.6: Fevers, Fertility, and the Patient Labor of American Medicine,” examines American women’s domestic medical work by following the medical thermometer through more than a century of home use.  Taking your temperature at home became a new way of controlling fertility and reinvented the idea of the “safe” period.

Ford Auditorium, Allen Memorial Medical Library at 6:00 pm
RSVP to Jennifer Nieves at or call 216/368-3648


April 16th, 6:00 pm. The Cleveland Medical Library Association presents a special lecture on Andreas Vesalius
The Body in the Book: the Fabrica and the Epitome (1543) presented by Dr. Sachiko Kusukawa

Dr. Sachiko Kusukawa is a leading Vesalius scholar, a Fellow in History and Philosophy of Science, Trinity College, Cambridge University, and her research has focused on the observational, descriptive and pictorial practices in the development of scientific knowledge in the early modern period (1500-1720). Her work on visual arguments in sixteenth-century botanical and anatomical works resulted in Picturing the Book of Nature, (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which received the 2014 Pfizer Prize as outstanding book in the history of science by the History of Science Society. The chapter on anatomy in Picturing the Book of Nature focused upon the work of Vesalius and that will be the topic of Professor Kusukawa’s lecture. More information…

Ford Auditorium, Allen Memorial Medical Library at 6:00 pm

The lecture is free and open to the public

Please RSVP by April 13th, call: 216-368-3642 or email:


November 8-16, 2015, Medical Humanities Tour of London

London-opThe College of Physicians of Philadelphia (home of the Mütter Museum) and the Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum are collaborating on a tour to London, Bath and Oxford on November 8-16. This tour will feature visits to medical landmarks and privileged conversations with leaders of world class medical history collections, most notably Simon Chaplin (Director of Culture & Society of the Wellcome Trust), Natasha McEnroe (Florence Nightingale Museum), and John Ford (Worshipful Society of Apothecaries). Our tour leaders will be Sue Weir and Carole Hiley, who bring years of experience as Blue Badge Guides of London. (Sue helped with the Dittrick’s London tours in 2004 and 2013.) Lest you fear that we will oversaturate the tour with everything medical, we’ve added day trips to Bath, via Stonhenge, to visit the Roman baths, and to Oxford to visit the Ashmolean Museum and their Museum of the History of Science.

For more information, visit the Jon Baines Tours site:


Temporary Exhibits now showing

September 8th through April 30th, Castele Gallery Exhibit
The Lakeside Unit: Cleveland Medicine in World War I

Lakeside-eventsIn 1914, two and a half years before the US entered World War I, Cleveland’s foremost physicians and surgeons gathered their resources and took a group, called the Lakeside Unit, to Paris to tend to injured French and British soldiers.  This was done on an entirely neutral platform and set the stage for the formation of similar university hospital units from all over the country.This trip was well documented in photographs, diary’s and other documents. These and some artifacts from this trip will be featured in the exhibit.

Jennifer Nieves, archivist at the Dittrick and Dianne O’Malia, archivist for University Hospitals, are nearing the completion of several projects that showcase the history of the Lakeside Unit. We’ve announced the pending completion of the Lakeside Unit website several times in the past few years. One thing or another delayed this process: change in web designers, web platforms and our fulltime positions, but we are now almost ready for release. During the past year we discovered photographs we hadn’t seen before, found interesting tidbits in George Crile’s diary not read earlier, and we acquired more Lakeside Unit related items that will be included in the site. We have also made contact with other institutions commemorating the WWI medical experience, and hope to work with them on future projects.

More information on Lakeside exhibit and related projects.