A Weekend At Wellcome

Things are moving along at the same pace as always here in Edinburgh, minus the internship, thus the lull in blogging. Until the last couple of weeks I had been spending a day or two every week at the Sibbald Library doing research for my dissertation. Over the last few weeks I had a flurry of assignments, and then I headed down to London for a bit of research at the Wellcome Library.

The Wellcome Trust is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and medical research establishments in the world, and the world’s second largest supporter of medical research. It is, in it’s own words, ‘independent of both political and commercial interests,’ and funds a wide array of medical research including history of medicine, which is what I am interested in. The Wellcome Trust has a lovely building on Euston Road in London; it was built in 1932 to house the Wellcome Collection, which includes medical themed art, and historic artifacts associated with the study of medicine as well as the amazing and seemingly endless Wellcome Library. I was lucky enough to spend two days at the Wellcome Library in the last week and came across some real gems of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century medical pamphleting. I spent day one going through material I had reserved from their special collection, narrowing down what would be useful and what would not. On my second day there I went through the ‘useful’ material and uncovered a dispute between two highly regarded physicians of the day, mostly relating to smallpox inoculation, though the personal and snarky bits are what I’m looking at. Not necessarily in a gossipy way, though it is pretty gossipy at times, but as a means of understanding the early sociology of science and the professions and the collision of the two.

This pamphlet from the Wellcome collection doesn’t directly relate to what I am investigating, which I will discuss more in another blog entry, but it was so hilarious that I just had to photograph it. Plus, it relates to my favorite city.

The Stinkpot of Literature

The Stinkpot of Literature

I consider myself extremely lucky to laugh so often while doing research.


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