McGoogan News

From the archives: A man-mid-wife?

Man midwife

By John Schleicher

At the end of the 18th century, some male doctors began to build their medical practices by assisting normal births, previously the exclusive sphere of women. A controversy raged in Britain and America about these new man-midwives. The controversy over doctors assisting with childbirth continued throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th, as home births were decreasing and hospital births were on the rise.

The illustration is from Man-midwifery dissected: or, the obstetric family-instructor; for the use of married couples, and single adults of both sexes, by Samuel William Fores, published in London in 1793. The man-mid-wife cartoon depicts one view of the controversy in the form of a “Monster,” a half-male, half-female midwife. The text below the illustration, an advertisement for the book, says:

“A Man-Mid-Wife: or a newly discovered animal . . . for a more full description of this Monster, see an ingenious book, lately published . . . ‘Man-Midwifery dissected, containing a variety of well authenticated cases elucidating this animal’s propensities to cruelty & indecency, sold by the publisher of this print, who has presented the author with the above for a Frontispiece to his book.”

To see more works on obstetrics visit the library’s rare book rooms. Contact the Special Collections Department at 402-559-7094 to set up a tour or inquire at the AskUs desk.

Davis Lecture explores American childbirth, April 23

By John Schleicher

The history of childbirth in the United States will be the focus of the 7th Annual Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D. History of Medicine Lecture, to be held at noon on April 23 in the Eppley Science Hall Amphitheater (room 3010).

The guest speaker is Judith Leavitt, Ph.D., professor emerita in the department of medical history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The title of Dr. Leavitt’s lecture is “From ‘Brought to Bed’ to ‘Alone among Strangers': Medical and Social Issues in American Childbirth History.” She will focus on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the transition from home births to hospital births. Dr. Leavitt is author or co-author of several books including “Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750 to 1950,” and her most recent work “Make Room for Daddy: The Journey from Waiting Room to Birthing Room.”

Dr. Leavitt’s major research interests are 19th and 20th century public health and women’s health. Her other publications include: “The Healthiest City: Milwaukee and the Politics of Health Reform” and “Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health.”

She has edited “Sickness and Health in America” and “Women and Health in America,” and she chaired the department of medical history and bioethics at UW for 11 years. She was associate dean for faculty in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health for four years. She was president of the American Association for the History of Medicine from 2000-2002.

Box lunches provided for the first 75 attendees starting at 11:30 a.m. The McGoogan Library of Medicine is hosting the event.

The Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D., History of Medicine Lectureship brings national experts to the UNMC campus to discuss the history of medicine, in support of special collections at the McGoogan Library, including rare books and works on the history of medicine. The lectureship is supported through an endowed fund given by the late Richard B. Davis, M.D., Ph.D. (1926-2010), professor emeritus of internal medicine at UNMC, and his wife, Jean. Davis supported this lectureship out of his long-standing interest in the history of medicine; he was a faculty member at UNMC from 1969-1994.

From the archives: Hospital has nearly 100 year history

University Hospital, Omaha—opened for patients September 3, 1917.

University Hospital, Omaha—opened for patients September 3, 1917.

By John Schleicher

The first part of the University of Nebraska Hospital, with 130 beds, opened to patients in September 1917, designed by Omaha architects John Latenser and Son. A second wing followed ten years later in 1927. The Great Depression and World War II slowed campus development due to a lack of state funding and the war effort. It was not until 1961 that a third hospital wing was added, which was quickly followed by a fourth wing in 1969. A new clinic wing was added in 1977 (now called the Medical Sciences Building). In 1993 the outpatient care center was completed, later renamed the Durham Outpatient Center in 1999 in honor of Omaha philanthropists Charles and Marge Durham.

Many historical photos of the UNMC campus are available through the UNMC Archives, part of the Special Collections Department of the McGoogan Library of Medicine.

From the archives: UNMC yearbooks

Caduceus-feature

By John Schleicher

The various colleges on the UNMC campus issued a number of different yearbooks during many years of the 20th century. The College of Medicine published the “Caduceus” yearbook (see full image below) in 1929 and 1930, as well as the “Scope” which focused on the class of 1948. From 1951 through 1957 the College of Nursing (then the School of Nursing) published a yearbook called “Starch & Stripes.” The College of Pharmacy published its own yearbook from 1913-1920, while still located on the UNL city campus in Lincoln.

The library’s collections also house various years of the UNL “Cornhusker” yearbook from 1899 through 1968, which contain sections on the schools and/or Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Dentistry.

Caduceus-1930-p-113

 

 

From the archives: Telemedicine at UNMC

By John Schleicher

UNMC was a leader in using technology to carry out distance education and telemedicine. An early form of teleconferencing was used to present educational conferences to a number of participating locations across Nebraska as well as in other states. This innovation was first proposed in 1955 by Dr. Cecil Wittson (at that time head of the former Nebraska Psychiatric Institute), and developed through the cooperation of the Bell Telephone Company. The system was used weekly to share the lectures of the institute’s many nationally known visitors with other mental hospitals in four states.19xxPsychiatric_Institute_Benschoter

The first two-way closed circuit television system in the U.S. was conceived by Dr. Wittson and developed and tested through grant support secured in 1963. This television system made possible face-to-face communication between the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute located on the medical campus in Omaha and the Norfolk State Mental Hospital 112 miles away. Dr. Wittson’s close associate in these telemedicine innovations was Reba Benschoter, Ph.D. (shown). Wittson was chair of Psychiatry (1952-1964), COM Dean (1964-1968), and the first Chancellor of UNMC (1968-1972). Dr. Benschoter was later head of the Biomedical Communications Department and from 1985-1995 she was associate dean of the School of Allied Health Professions.