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Library Blog

  1. 17
    Feb
    2017

    The dangers of tight lacing: the effects of the corset

    A look at the medical effects of tight corsets as worn by women in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Susan Isaac

  2. 10
    Feb
    2017

    Collections on the Move: How Project Transform will improve RCS’s Library, Museums and Archives Services

    Considering the many opportunities that the RCS's Project Transform will provide for the Library, Museums and Archives.

    Library, Museums and Archives staff

  3. 3
    Feb
    2017

    Rat Day: Boston, 13 February 1917

    This month marks 100 years since the first and only “Rat Day”, held in Boston on 13 February 1917. The finale to the Boston Rat Campaign led by the Boston Women’s Municipal League (BWML), the day saw prizes offered for the highest number of dead rats delivered to designated sanitary yards.

    Susan Isaac

  4. 27
    Jan
    2017

    Holocaust Memorial Day: the life of Eric Strach

    Eric Strach FRCS (1914-2011), an orthopaedic surgeon who worked in Liverpool, was one of a number of Fellows and Members who lost relatives in the Holocaust and worked in the concentration camps after they were liberated by the Allies.

    Sarah Gillam

  5. 20
    Jan
    2017

    Collections on the move

    Later this year we’ll be moving to temporary accommodation during the redevelopment of our home in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. We hosted an event in the Barry Reading Room a few months ago, showcasing how the Library, Museum and Archive teams are preparing for the move.

    Susan Isaac

  6. 13
    Jan
    2017

    MacCormac's Locked Book

    Sometimes in the archives we come across material which is not easily accessible. This was the case with the accounts book of Sir William MacCormac, which had remained locked for (possibly) over a century.

    Virginia Dawe-Woodings

  7. 6
    Jan
    2017

    Ethicon Cat-a-log

    The internet is full of cats doing funny things, but this isn’t just a recent phenomenon. Harry Pointer produced humorous pictures of his pet cats mimicking human activities in the 1870s.

    Susan Isaac

  8. 21
    Dec
    2016

    Festive Archives

    You might be forgiven for thinking that a medical archive wouldn’t contain much that is festive in nature. Therefore, it may come as a surprise to know that the Royal College of Surgeons archives contain a number of seasonal items.

    Geraldine O’Driscoll

  9. 16
    Dec
    2016

    Medical fiction for popular readers: The Stark Munro Letters (1895)

    Better known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle was also a graduate of medicine from the University of Edinburgh and had a short-lived career as a general practitioner and ophthalmologist. Alongside his detective stories, he wrote fiction inspired by his experiences of medical practice. His novella The Stark Munro Letters (1895) follows the early struggles of a young practitioner.

  10. 9
    Dec
    2016

    Mapping disease: John Snow and Cholera

    Cholera was one of the deadliest diseases to affect Britain in the nineteenth century. On the 150th anniversary of the fourth and final London pandemic in 1866, Fahema Begum looks at the work of John Snow, who's work was instrumental in the fight against the disease.

  11. 2
    Dec
    2016

    Conserve our Collections Event 2016

    On the 16th November we welcomed over 40 guests to our annual Conserve our Collections event. It’s an opportunity to promote the scheme and allow our guests to see items they have helped to conserve.

  12. 25
    Nov
    2016

    A Very Large Collection of Very Small Things

    Some of the finest microscope slides in the RCS museum collection were produced by John Thomas Quekett, who built a collection of slides giving the most astonishing overview of the natural world on a microscopic scale.

  13. 18
    Nov
    2016

    ClinicalKey: a resource RCS Members need to know about

    We see ClinicalKey as a valuable resource and members at all levels can access ClinicalKey using their College Login details.

  14. 11
    Nov
    2016

    Victoria Cross Winners

    Only three people have received the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, twice, and of these, two were surgeons – Arthur Martin-Leake FRCS and Noel Chavasse MRCS.

  15. 4
    Nov
    2016

    21,500 tracts and pamphlets available to view online: UK Medical Heritage Library project

    The shelves of our Erasmus Wilson Gallery are once again full as our contribution to the UK Medical Heritage Library is complete.

  16. 28
    Oct
    2016

    ​Skeletal rabbits at Halloween – Osteographia by William Cheselden

    The man who famously healed a blind boy by removing a clouded lens, and introduced the technique of ”cutting laterally for the stone” , was also the author of one of the truly memorable anatomical works of the period, Osteographia

  17. 21
    Oct
    2016

    The Great History Bake Off: Baking and Medicine in Early Modern Recipe Books

    Many of the foods which we enjoy today have their origins in the medical world. The recipe books in the Archives are excellent examples of the historical cross-overs between medicine and cooking.

  18. 14
    Oct
    2016

    Facsimile exhibition: Unusual and exceptional prizes

    Our new facsimile exhibition in the display cases on the ground floor reveal some of the College’s historic prize essays, some of which stand out for reasons other than their written text – due either to the beauty or nature of their illustrations, or to the significance of their author.

  19. 7
    Oct
    2016

    Sporting Surgeons

    After an exciting summer watching Olympics and Paralympics in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil, now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the achievements of our very own Olympic champion, Lord Porritt, who won a bronze medal ninety-two years ago.

  20. 21
    Apr
    2016

    Vaccination, Medicine and the Masses

    Vaccination is a medical procedure that is familiar to most of us. From babyhood to our later years, we are offered vaccinations to fight an ever-changing roster of diseases.

    Sally Frampton, University of Oxford

  21. 4
    Apr
    2016

    Samuel Gaskell’s Jacksonian Prize Essay: On the nature of the Processes of Suppuration and Ulceration - Illustrations, (1837)

    Samuel Gaskell’s "illustrations" includes 15 thin membranes of blood vessels, and 37 pieces of leathery ileum - and all are human specimens.

    Ginny Dawe-Woodings, Archives Project Cataloguer

  22. 22
    Mar
    2016

    Back from the Binders – William Woods’s Zoography; or, the beauties of nature displayed (1807)

    William Wood FRS, FLS (1774-1857) originally trained as a surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. He turned to the study of natural history with a particular interest in sea shells, for which he remains famous.

    Thalia Knight, Director of Library & Surgical Information Services

  23. 11
    Mar
    2016

    The Circle of Willis

    Visitors to the "Designing Bodies" exhibition will no doubt have seen the exquisite resin corrosion casts prepared by David Tompsett, including the cast of the arterial supply of the brain, demonstrating the arterial circle of Willis.

    Susan Standring, Emeritus Professor of Anatomy, King’s College London

  24. 4
    Mar
    2016

    International Women's Day 2016

    In celebration of International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March 2016, we would like to share some of the items in our collections that relate to the pioneering women who led the way for women to qualify as practising surgeons and members of the RCS.

    Sophie Gibbs, Senior Information Assistant

  25. 26
    Feb
    2016

    Back from the Binders – Francis Mason’s Cleft Lip and Palate (1877)

    This week we received our latest batch of conservation binding which had been funded via the Conserve our Collections programme.

    Hilary Webb, LSIS Collections Manager

  26. 16
    Feb
    2016

    Frozen in Time

    Plaster is peculiar stuff. As a chalky powder, heavier than dust, it can pervade a wide area. As a fluid it is mercurial and insubstantial, and could almost pass for milk.

    Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives

  27. 12
    Feb
    2016

    Happy Birthday, William Clift! (14/2/1775–20/6/1849)

    As it is William Clift’s birthday on St Valentine’s Day, we thought it was only right to acknowledge the debt of gratitude the Royal College of Surgeons of England owes to him.

    Geraldine O’Driscoll, Library & Archives Assistant

  28. 5
    Feb
    2016

    Our contribution to digital UK Medical Heritage Library is almost complete

    Soon the shelves in our Erasmus Wilson Gallery will again be full: we have nearly completed our contribution to the UK Medical Heritage Library.

    Dorothy Fouracre, Collections Librarian

  29. 29
    Jan
    2016

    Plarr's Lives of the Fellows

    At the beginning of this month, January 2016, after eight or so years of work, the editorial team in the Library finished uploading all nine of the printed volumes of Plarr’s Lives.

    Sarah Gillam, Assistant Editor

  30. 25
    Jan
    2016

    "Anatomy as Art" Facsimile Display

    The College’s collections are rich with artistic illustrations depicting human anatomy.

    Geraldine O’Driscoll, Library & Archives Assistant

  31. 15
    Jan
    2016

    Elsevier ClinicalKey

    The Library is pleased to announce its new subscription to Elsevier’s ClinicalKey resource.

    Library Services

  32. 8
    Jan
    2016

    Collections Review project is child’s play

    Occasionally we come across markings in books which remind us of their past role as personal objects: markings by children.

    Dorothy Fouracre, Collections Review Assistant

  33. 18
    Dec
    2015

    The Twelve Days of Christmas - Part 3

    We hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about the fascinating collection of books, archives and museum items that are held in our Designated collections.

    Collections Review Team

  34. 11
    Dec
    2015

    The Twelve Days of Christmas Part - 2

    As part of the RCS Collections Review project, the Museum’s visual works are currently being assessed. This category includes sculptures, pencil drawings, prints, oil paintings, pastels and watercolours.

    Collections Review Team

  35. 4
    Dec
    2015

    The Twelve Days of Christmas - Part 1

    Our Collections Review project, which has been running throughout 2015, has given us unprecedented insight into the College’s museum, library and archive holdings.

    Collections Review Team

  36. 13
    Nov
    2015

    Insecten-Belustigung (1746–1761) – August Johan Rösel

    August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof, 1705–1759, was born in Augustenburg and, having shown an early artistic talent, was apprenticed first to his uncle, the artist Wilhelm Röselvon Rosenhof, and then to Johan Daniel Preisler.

    Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

  37. 28
    Jul
    2015

    William Cheselden - Osteographia or the anatomy of the bones, 1733

    This outstanding book has been reviewed as “the most magnificent work of its kind now extant”. In it, Cheselden gives full and accurate descriptions of all the bones of the human body and many animal ones.

  38. 19
    May
    2015

    Tracts and Pamphlets: digitising for the UK Medical Heritage Library

    Over the next year, the Library at the Royal College of Surgeons of England will be preparing almost 2,500 volumes to send to the Wellcome Library for digitisation as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library.

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