Johns Hopkins


In 1884, after he was offered an appointment to the medical faculty of the newly created Johns Hopkins University, Dr. William Henry Welch wrote to his stepmother: “Such great things are expected of the medical faculty at the Johns Hopkins in the way of achievement and of reform of medical education in this country that I feel oppressed by the weight of responsibility. A reputation there will not be so cheaply earned as at Bellevue, but in so far the stimulus to do good work will be the greater.Read more »

The Paradoxical Doctor Benjamin Rush

To spend and be spent for the Good of Mankind is what I chiefly aim at

One of Benjamin Rush’s biographers has compared him to quicksilver, the brilliant and elusive element mercury that changes so unpredictably yet so curiously reflects the images around it. The metaphor is appropriate in another sense, too, for not only was Rush mercurial as a person, but as an eighteenth-century physician he freely resorted to the use of mercury in its various forms to purge patients of certain “morbific” or disease-making substances that were supposed to lurk in their bodily fluids. Dr.Read more »

The Small Bright World Of Anna Lindner

She was eighteen—pretty and sensitive, to judge by her photograph, taken in 1863. For many another girl, that age would have represented a new chapter in life in the form of a husband, children, a home of her own. But not so for Anna Lindner, for she had been crippled by polio when an infant in Germany, before her parents came to America; she could get about only on crutches, and was otherwise confined to a wheelchair. Instead 1863 marked the year of her first known dated painting.Read more »

FDR’s Extra Burden


This article is an excerpt from a new book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt recently published by Doubleday & Company. It is being publicized as The F.D.R. Memoir “as written by Bernard Asbell. ” Mr. Asbell undertakes to recount the story of the Roosevelt administration in the first person, as he thinks F.D.R. himself might have written it had he lived to do so. This literary ploy is sure to excite controversy, and one might reasonably fear that m years to come, confused or careless readers will attribute to Franklin D.Read more »

Disaster At Bari

It was the most devastating enemy surprise attack since Pearl Harbor—but what mysterious affliction were people dying of two days later?

The port of Bari, Italy, was crowded on the afternoon of December 2, 1943, when Captain Otto Heitmann returned to his ship, the John Bascom , with the two thousand dollars he had drawn from the U.S. Army Finance Section to pay his crew. Bari was a pleasant, peaceful city on the heel of the peninsula, little changed by the war except that in 1943 American and British military personnel crowded Victor Emmanuel Street and Corso Cavour instead of the Germans, who had been forced to flee northward.Read more »

The Sway Of The Grand Saloon

In the sumptuous history of transatlantic passenger travel it wasn’t all mahogany panelling and ten-course meals. Consider, for instance, war and seasickness

“THIS IS NOT A CANOE” Read more »

Sweet Extract Of Hokum

Patent medicines were usually neither patented nor medicinal, which is not to say they didn’t (and don’t) have any effect

If you can identify the period when gentlemen wore genuine ormolu lobs attached to their watches and the butcher threw in a slice of liver for the eat when he wrapped up the meat order, then you are close to establishing the date of the Golden Age of Secret Remedies. No family circle was complete without the brown or green bottle on sideboard or shell. Sometimes the contents were murky, mysterious, evil in taste and smell.Read more »