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DALHOUSIE SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF MEDICINE 1981–2020
CONTENTS Introduction 4
Founding of the Society 4
Officers of the Society 5
Special Meetings 7
Visiting lecturers 9
Medical Humanities Program 10
TJ Murray Visiting Scholar in Medical Humanities 10
The Avery Medal 11
Medical History Society of Nova Scotia 13
Meetings: Speakers and Topics 1981–2020 29
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INTRODUCTION The purpose of this booklet is to record the origins and activities of the Dalhousie Society for the History of Medicine over its first 40 years. In addition we will cover related aspects of the history of medicine in Nova Scotia. The aim is to provide the reader with an overview of the resources in medical history available in the province.
TF Baskett IA Cameron AE Marble TJ Murray
FOUNDING OF THE SOCIETY In May 1981, Dr. Jock Murray, a neurologist with an interest in the history of medicine, thought it would be a good idea to search out others at Dalhousie of a similar mind. He planned to organize a Samuel Johnson-style literary club that would meet in the University Club pub and discuss historical matters over a drink. He sent out notices for any one interested, but the large number of responses (>40) were too many for discussion over drinks. Thus, he decided on an evening meeting with dinner followed by the presentation of papers.
Murray formed a planning group of Carl Abbott (Internal Medicine), Steven Bedwell (Neurology), Ian Cameron (Family Medicine), Allan Marble (Surgery), Janet Murray (Journalist) and Chester Stewart (Emeritus Dean of Medicine). Jock Murray was appointed President and Steven Bedwell the Secretary- Treasurer. Meetings would be held on the first Monday of each month during the academic year. The group would meet at the University Club pub, move upstairs for dinner, followed by two or three papers on medical history.
As the years passed an increasing number of presenters completed historical projects and came forward, often in response to stimulation from Dr. Murray. The number of presentations was reduced to two per evening to allow for more comprehensive reports and discussion. Speakers were usually members of local universities, practicing physicians, community members, historians, medical students and anyone with an interest and a project in medical history.
Society membership is about 85 and 25–40 people come to each meeting. Medical students are invited to attend and up until 2017 the Society and the Humanities Program paid for their meal.
In 1985 Jock Murray went on sabbatical to work at the Wellcome Library in London and Ian Cameron became President and Allan Marble the Secretary-Treasurer. In 2009 Ian Cameron retired to Sherbrooke village and Murray again took over the presidency while Marble continued as Secretary-Treasurer. In 2017 Allan Marble became President, while maintaining the role of Secretary-Treasurer.
Susan Kerslake, a published poet and author, has been a member of the society for more than 30 years. During that time she has assisted the treasurer by greeting members at the monthly meeting and collecting the charge for the evening meal.
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OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY President
TJ Murray 1981–1985
IA Cameron 1985–2009
TJ Murray 2009–2017
AE Marble 2017–
SF Bedwell 1981–1986
AE Marble 1986–
TJ Murray IA Cameron
AE Marble SF Bedwell
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MEETINGS The regular meetings of the society were always held in the Dalhousie Faculty Club. The group convened at the Earl of Dalhousie Pub, before dinner and presentations in the dining room at 6:30 p.m. The president introduces the first speaker at 7 p.m. — there are usually two presentations. Monthly meetings are on Monday from October to May.
The cost of the dinner increased over the years: 1982 ($12.00), 1989($14.00), 1990($15.00), 1999($17.00), 2001($20.00), 2008($25.00), 2018($30.00).
In late 2018 Allan Marble discussed the future direction of the society with several long-standing members. The attendance at monthly meetings had fallen and, in particular, fewer young members were joining or attending. It was decided to send a questionnaire about the format of the monthly meetings to all members of the society. This was done in early 2019. The results favoured eliminating the dinner, but keeping the two-speaker format. Unfortunately it was not possible to book the Dalhousie Club room for meetings unless food was ordered and purchased from the Club. Dr. Marble explored other potential venues and settled on the Atkins Room in the Nova Scotia Archives building at the corner of Robie Street and University Avenue. The room seats 70, has audio-visual and lectern facilities, along with an adjacent kitchen. It is wheelchair accessible, has security presence, and the rental of $100 per meeting could be covered by the annual membership dues. This change of venue started in October 2019.
A list of the speakers and topics through the years is provided later in this booklet.
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SPECIAL MEETINGS Medicine in the Age of Mozart
This meeting was organized by Dr. Carl Abbott to honour the 200th anniversary of the death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It was held in the IWK Hospital Auditorium, Halifax on the weekend of 23–24 November, 1991. Local faculty were joined by four invited international speakers. During the intervals a string quartet played appropriate Mozart compositions.
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20th Anniversary Conference
This conference was held at the Tupper Medical Building on 24 November, 2001. The speakers and topics were as follows:
· Jock Murray. Multiple Sclerosis: the 19th century search for an entity.
· Ian Cameron. The Lawlors’ Island quarantine station: The apogee.
· Charles Roland — Keynote speaker. The comfort of each individual life; the heritage of the nineteenth century.
· Crystal Doyle. An author’s use of observation to describe heart disease in early twentieth century literature.
· Allan Marble. Morbidity, mortality, and medical therapy in Nova Scotia during the pre-confederation nineteenth century.
· Peter Twohig. A model for change: the Rockefellers and the Cape Breton Island public health unit.
· Barbara Clow. Defining disease, managing maladies: suffering, healing and the problem of cancer, 1900–1950.
· John Farley. Will they send our kids to the slaughter house too? Nova Scotia’s bovine tuberculosis controversy.
30th Anniversary Symposium
This symposium was held at the Tupper Medical building on 24 September, 2011. The speakers and topics were as follows:
· Allan Marble. Morbidity, mortality and medical therapy in pre-confederation Nova Scotia.
· Elizabeth Haigh. Doctoring or farming: Abraham Gesner’s dilemma.
· Jock Murray. The history of Dalhousie Medical School.
· Colin Howell. Alexander Peter Reid: Medicine, history and dreams of social transformation.
· Allan Marble. The legacy of Dr. John Stewart.
· Herbert Swick. Two unflappable frontier physicians: William Reynolds and Winifred Braine, Dalhousie class of 1900.
· Ron Stewart. Is there a doctor in house?
· Peter Twohig. The advantage of working together: The renegotiation of nursing practice during the 20th century.
· Allan Marble. The great influenza pandemic of 1918–1920: the Nova Scotia experience.
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· Ken Murray. Kenneth MacKenzie- educator, medical historian, pioneer cardiologist.
· Ross Langley. Chester Stewart and the actions that transformed Dalhousie Medical School.
· Jake Blacklaws. Stampeding people: Just push the ‘panic button’.
· Jeremy Moeller. Early anesthesia in Nova Scotia.
· Janet Murray. The medical contributions of the Sisters of Charity.
· Brydon Blacklaws. Get the blood out of your boots! The story of mechanised blood pressure control.
· Herbert Swick. A musical jaunt through medical history.
VISITING LECTURERS AMS — Pope Foundation lecturer
In 2012 Dr. Murray received a five-year grant from Associated Medical Services, (AMS) matched by a donation from the Robert Pope Foundation, to establish an annual lectureship in the History of Medicine. This grant was renewed in 2018.
2012 Rolando del Maestro. McGill University, Montreal. Leonardo da Vinci and the search for the soul.
2013 James Connor. Memorial University, St John’s. A tale of several Scottish cities: Joseph Lister, surgical knowledge transfer and Victorian Canada.
2014 John Crellin. Memorial University, St John’s. 20th century picture postcards: to what extent have they affirmed and shaped public attitudes toward physicians?
2015 Bruce Fye. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. The origins and evolution of the Mayo Clinic from 1864 to 1939. A Minnesota family practice becomes an international medical mecca.
2016 Michael Bliss. University of Toronto. Sour grapes and suicide: new light on the discovery of insulin.
2017 Shelly McKell