International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) Africa Meeting this August

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The first International Society of Ocular Oncology (ISOO) Africa meeting will be held live in Mombasa, Kenya, from August 21-23, 2023.

The ISOO mission is to promote the advancement of ocular oncology by coordination with general ophthalmology, general oncology, ophthalmic pathology, and allied sciences, by the encouragement of research, by the improvement of teaching and technical methods, and by improvement of patient care, through scientific meetings and other activities worldwide.

Nearly 200 participants from over 40 countries have already registered for the in-person meeting.

The organisers are now pleased to also present ISOO AFRICA VIRTUAL, which will allow you to view all presentations taking place in the plenary hall via your personal computer or meeting app. 

For further details and registration, please visit the website at


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Johann Gottfried Bremser’s early 19th century medical books on parasitic worms with hand-coloured plates. LSHTM Rare Books Blog Series No. 7. August 2023

The Austrian physician Johann Gottfried Bremser (1767-1827) was born in Wertheim am Main in present-day Germany. He studied medicine in Jena and Vienna where he obtained a licence to practice medicine in 1797. Bremser made a special study of parasitic worm infections in humans and travelled to Paris in 1815 to carry out further research.  He experimented and developed remedies against worm infestations and he also treated poorer sections of the community. He actively promoted the benefits of vaccination against smallpox. He died in Vienna in 1827 aged 60.

Portrait of Johann Gottfried Bremser (lithograph ca. 1820)

Vienna was a leading city of culture and science in the 18th century. Its Naturhistorisches Museum was making a special collection of parasitic worms found in humans and animals when Bremser joined it as a volunteer. In 1811 he was appointed curator of the helminth collection by which time 40,000 host animals had been dissected and he published host-parasite (and parasite-host) catalogues (Bremser 1811).  

His book, Über lebende Würmer im lebenden Menschen [living worms in living humans] was also based on specimens in the museum collection (Bremser 1819).  

Titlepage of Bremser 1819 showing engraved vignette.

The book has 284 pages of text and four hand-coloured plates.  Several parasitic worm species including nematodes, trematodes (flukes) and cestodes (tapeworms) are shown on each plate with each one identified and named in a key on the facing page.  The plates are unusual because the worms are pictured against a black background, a practical solution sometimes adopted when depicting transparent or white objects.  Most worms would have been white or grey when Bremser examined them – the same colour as the paper they were to be printed on – after whatever natural colour they may have had in life had been leached out by the preservative material.  A black background gave a strong contrast to the worm figures, to which only light brown or grey watercolours were applied, and contributed to the visual impact of the picture.

These four plates were produced by engraving which was the traditional method for illustrating 18th and early 19th century books. The process was expensive as it involved the employment of an artist, an engraver to transfer the artist’s drawing onto a metal plate, a printer and a colourist and may explain why this book has only four plates.  The names of the artist and engraver credited for the plates are Joh. Febmayer / Febmeir (1785-1866) and Austrian Heinr. Mansfeld respectively.

1819. Plate 2. Bothriocephalus latus, now Diphyllobothrium latum.

Bremser was the first person to write a scientific description of Bothriocephalus latus (now Diphyllobothrium latum) (Bremser 1819 : 88-96, pl 2; Scholz et al 2009 : table 1, p. 147).  Diphyllobothrium tapeworms – commonly called broad tapeworms or fish tapeworms cause diphyllobothriosis in humans affecting an estimated 20 million people worldwide. It is caused by the consumption of raw or undercooked infected fish.  They are among the largest human parasites and may grow up to 15 metres in length in the intestine. The maximum length recorded was 25 metres and had 4000 segments. They can grow 22 centimetres a day and may live for 20 years. In its life cycle the tapeworm has two intermediate hosts – first a copepod and secondly a fish – before coming to its final destination – a human’s intestine (Scholze et al 2009). 

The 1819 copy of Bremser was presented to the LSHTM Library by the Medical College of Virginia on 26 November 1958 still in its original paper wrappers.

Five years after publication of the German edition an enlarged French edition was published in Paris Traite zoologique et physiologique sur les vers intestinaux de l’homme (Bremser 1824) with 12 hand-coloured lithographic plates. Lithography was invented in 1796 in Germany, a printing technique which involved drawing on a block of fine-grained limestone. Due to the relative ease of the process of lithography and cheapness compared to engraving, it became the most popular method of book plate illustration in the 19th century.  Artists themselves frequently learnt lithography and the plates in this edition were both drawn and lithographed by Delevieux and printed by Charles-Louis Malapeaux (1795-c1878) in Paris.  As in the 1819 edition all 12 plates have a black background, the figures coloured with grey shades of watercolours. A comparison of the figures in the two books shows that some in the 1824 book were copied from the 1819 plates in reverse.

1824 Plate 1. Nematode species

1824 Planche I Key to the plate of nematode figures

1824 Plate 5 Bothriocephalus

The LSHTM Library holds only the Atlas of 12 plates of the French edition (still with its original orange-coloured wrappers) which was acquired on 16 February 1951; a previous owner of this copy was a Robert D??kins M D 47 Finsbury Square [London] whose signature is in the front.


BREMSER, J.G., 1811. Nachricht von einer betrachtlichen Sammlung thireischer Eingeweidewürmer, und Einladung zu einer literarischen Verbindung, um dieselbe zu vervollkommen, und sie für die Wissenschaft und die Liebhaber allgemein nützlich zu machen. Vindobonae : Typis Antonii Strauss: 1811: 31, [1] pages;

BREMSER, J.G., 1819. Dr. Bremser, über lebende Würmer im lebenden Menschen :  Ein Buch für ausübende Aerzte. Mit nach der Natur gezeichneten Abbildungen auf vier Tafeln. Nebst einem Anhange über Pseudo-Helminthen. Wien [Vienna] : Bei Carl Schaumburg et Comp.  xii, 284 pages,  [4] leaves, 4 plates (LSHTM Library *M 1819 fol) (viewed 14 June 2023)

BREMSER, J.G., 1824.  Traite zoologique et physiologique sur les vers intestinaux de l’homme,  Paris : Imprimerie de C.L.F. Panckoucke. [6]  pages, 12 plates (LSHTM Library *M 1824 fol ATLAS only) (viewed 14 June 2023); (viewed 14 June 2023)

SATTMAN, H., 2000. Profile : Johann Gottfried Bremser (1767-1827). Systematic Parasitology 47 : 232-232 port.

SCHOLZ, T., GARCIA, H.H., KUCHTA, R., WICHT, B., 2009. Update on the human broad tapeworm (Genus Diphyllobothrium), including clinical relevance. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 22 (1) : 146-160.  Doi: 10.1128/CMR.00033-08

LSHTM Library Rare Books Collection Blogs is an occasional posting highlighting books that are landmarks in the understanding of tropical medicine and public health.  The Rare Books Collection  was initiated by Cyril Cuthbert Barnard (1894-1959), the first Librarian, from donations and purchases, assisted with grants from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. There are approximately 1600 historically important rare and antiquarian books in the Rare Books Collection.      

Many of the LSHTM Library’s rare books were digitized as part of the UK Medical Heritage Library. This provides high-quality copyright-free downloads of over 200,000 books and pamphlets for the 19th and early 20th century. To help preserve the rare books, please consult the digital copy in the first instance.

If the book has not been digitized or if you need to consult the physical object, please request access on the Library’s Discover search service. Use the search function to find the book you would like to view. Click the title to view more information and then click ‘Request’. You can also email with details of the item you wish to view. A librarian will get in touch to arrange a time for you to view the item.

Researchers wishing to view the physical rare books must abide by the Guidelines for using the archives and complete and sign a registration form which signifies their agreement to abide by the archive rules. More information is available on the Visiting Archives webpage.

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India in the Historical Collection (pt. 1): Food and Diet

As we’ve already seen in this blog series, the Historical Collection furnishes a huge variety of pre-twentieth-century material that is of value to anyone interested in the history of science or social studies or LSHTM as an institution. The work done to improve catalogue records for this Collection added valuable information on the book’s binding and material condition, as well as information on past ownership, provenance, and if it contains culturally sensitive material.

Volumes on India appear frequently in the Collection, something likely unsurprising given the way LSHTM was founded in response to the health research demands of the British Empire. This post will investigate what just a few of the books’ own provenances and history might tell us in conjunction with their contents. It will focus especially on the material we have that looks both at India and at food and foodstuffs. It’ll suggest that writers at the time saw food as an important resource for furthering and maintaining the power of the British Empire, in both a logistical and cultural sense.

Banting in India 

This volume, also available as a digitised copy on the Internet Archive, requires some explanation, as the title is rather enigmatic for anyone not au fait with dieting trends of the mid-1800s. “Banting” was a diet popularised in England by William Banting, an undertaker, in the 1860s. Its key feature was restricted carbohydrate consumption for the purpose of weight loss. Indeed, the short letter to the Pall Mall Gazette pasted into the front endpapers of our copy is also diet-related. It discusses an extreme meat-and-water diet (sorry: “beefsteak and hot water cure”) and offers advice on how to follow it “safely.”

The endpapers to Banting in India, with a blue flower pattern, and a newspaper cutting pasted onto one side from a January 1886 edition of the Pall Mall Gazette of a letter to the editor detailing the 'beefsteak and hot water cure' for losing weight, by a doctor named Solomon C. Smith.

In this volume, Joshua Duke attempted to make recommendations about how the diet could be followed in India. There is some ambiguity in the text itself about exactly who in India was meant to be following this diet. For instance, the appeals in the opening chapter of the third edition (the one in our collection) to the so-called traditional diet and lifestyle of the English and the iniquities of modern “estheticism,” or the occasional implications that its imagined audience was a British soldier, might suggest its main audience was those who had travelled from Britain to India as part of the colonial administration. Yet the final chapter, explaining how his modified diet might be applied to a Hindu or Muslim diet, implies that it was meant to have wider appeal. Jaime Michelle Miller explored how Duke’s book fitted into the adoption of an English-styled asceticism in India and the ways British and Indian people in India imagined themselves and their diets in a PhD thesis on Banting.

Various other passages also stand out. Duke’s recommendation to consume extracts from the coca plant to alleviate the difficulties of dieting rings differently nowadays, given that that coca’s best-known product is cocaine. The association of diet and health was not entirely unique in the context of post-1850s India, either. Sam Goodman has analysed how writers of this time dealt with food and drink as medicine. 

“In the latter half of the present century, the rapid strides of civilization and forced education have altered a great deal of the former simplicity of English men and women. The school-master is abroad in every corner of the land, and the beautiful rusticity of country-life is being materially altered. Books of every kind and description, whether good or bad, can be purchased for a small sum. New religious sects are springing up every day, while atheism, and as a necessary result, immorality, have, hand in hand, made rapid strides … Effeminacy, unmanliness, and perhaps unwomanliness are represented by the Esthete and Estheticism.”

Joshua Duke, Banting in India, 3rd ed., pp. 9-10.

Joshua Duke was, according to his 1920 obituary in the BMJ, a lifelong medic in the British Army. The third of a Clapham doctor’s eight sons, he was a surgeon in Australia and Kashmir, also fighting in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. He eventually retired in 1902 but rejoined the army in 1914 for the First World War, working at the “York Place Indian Hospital” in Brighton and subsequently in Bermondsey. His publishing record reflects his career and the places in which he was active. Aside from Banting in India, he also produced works entitled Queries at a mess table: what shall I eat? what shall I drink?; Recollections of the Kabul Campaign, Kashmir and Jammu: A guide for visitors; and The Prevention of Cholera.

The BMJ obituary also notes that his son, Dr H. Lyndhurst Duke, was also “of the Colonial Service (Uganda)”. This younger Duke appears in the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War project as a captain in the Uganda Medical Services and later as deputy director and then director of the Human Trypanosomiasis Research Institute in Entebbe, where he published extensively on his experiments with and on trypanosomiasis, including on local volunteers. The Duke family therefore contributed two figures to colonial medicine in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each of them sought to further contribute to the British Empire’s colonialist endeavours by disseminating knowledge gained from their military and medical work. The profit made by the Empire from either “improving” the diets and lifestyles of local Indian elites and soldiers stationed there, or from improving treatments for trypanosomiasis, was always paramount.

Our copy of Banting in India has little information on when precisely it entered the Library, though it does have a tantalisingly vague handwritten inscription on the title page that says, “Presented by Dr Duncan.” This might have been Dr James T. Duncan, who worked at the School in the early and mid-twentieth century. If that is the case, then the book entered the library already as something of a historical artefact. But while the society Joshua Duke described and engaged with had changed, the machinery of empire continued to rumble on: for instance, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 was likely not yet passed by the time the library received the book. 

Food-Grains of India 

Other aspects of food in India also preoccupied writers. This volume, written by Arthur Herbert Church and published in 1886, is an excellent example and is also available online at the Internet Archive. In terms of subject matter and aims, Herbert is explicit about his concerns in the Preface:

“The present Handbook has been prepared mainly with the object of furnishing to Indian officials and to students of Indian agriculture a compact account of the alimentary value of the chief Food-Grains of our Eastern Empire.”

A. H. Church, Food-Grains of India, p. vii.

The volume’s textual material covers, firstly, what was then known about the chemical composition of foodstuffs (i.e., water, fibre, starch, etc.), the then discusses ideal diets, and finally offers a summary of different crops grown in India, from cereals to buckwheats and pulses. It is also illustrated throughout with black-and-white woodcut illustrations of the plants in question.

Church was known as both an artist and a chemist; indeed, he held the post of professor of chemistry at the Royal Academy of Art. Two of his paintings seem to be held at the Victoria and Albert Museum where they were donated after his death, apparently according to his wishes. Aside from this volume, he published one other handbook on food and otherwise many books on on pottery, dyes, and mineralogy – his Wikipedia article gives an extensive list of these publications. He was also previously associated with the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, which goes some way to explaining his dual interests.

There is little biographical evidence, however, that links Church to India. Indeed, his Preface to this volume implies that he might never have been to India and instead relied on secondary sources and analyses performed in Britain on samples. He says, regarding “Indian” names for plants, that “I have no first-hand knowledge of the subject, and, having been obliged to gather the names of places and products from a great variety of sources, neither accuracy nor uniformity of transliteration has been secured.” That he was able to compile a book on this subject is testament to the extent of the circulation of information in Britain about India. But it also demonstrates the subordination of Indian agriculture to analysts thousands of miles away: data and samples from India were transported to Britain, analysed and compiled by an English writer, then shipped back to officials to inform their decision making.

Much like Banting in India, this volume cannot be said to have been at LSHTM during the period immediately after it was published. A bookplate in it states that it was accessioned on 15th January 1959. That means that it was likely to have been a historical curiosity rather than an actively referenced contemporary work.

How to get these books

Library users are welcome to consult any of the physical copies of books on Library premises. Each of the books discussed above has their catalogue entry linked in the section title. To reserve a book for consultation, just go to their catalogue entry on Discover while logged into your LSHTM account and follow the instructions underneath the heading “Get It.” You’ll receive an email when it’s available. However, please note that you will need to read these books within the Library and cannot borrow them like most other resources. 

World Hepatitis Day – 28 July

Symptoms of Hepatitis B Infographic illustration [Image by brgfx on Freepik]

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It is “most commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids during sex with an infected partner, unsafe injections or exposures to sharp instruments” (

The World Hepatitis Day campaign theme for 2023 is “We’re not waiting”. It is “a call to accelerate elimination efforts of viral hepatitis now and the urgent need for testing and treatment for the real people who need it.” (

28 July was chosen by the WHO to be World Hepatitis Day because it falls on the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011). Dr. Blumberg not only discovered the hepatitis B virus (HBV), but he and his would go on to develop “a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.“ (

In his book, “Hepatitis B: The Hunt for a Killer Virus (2002)”, Dr. Blumberg describes how in 1964 while studying human blood samples, he and his team discovered the surface antigen for hepatitis B, later proving how the virus can cause liver damage.

This book is available to read and/or borrow in the main reading room of the library, classmark KS 2002, and the link to its physical location is here. It is currently part of a book display on this topic in the main reading room of the library.

World Population Day 11th July 2023

World Population Day is all about raising awareness of controlling the population and serves to highlight the growing problems that come with a growing global population. World Population Day was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989. It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached six billion people. According to the United Nations, world population reached 7 Billion on October 31, 2011.

2023 Theme: Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities

Women and girls make up 49.7% of the global population, yet women and girls are often ignored in discussions on demographics, with their rights violated in population policies.

This pervasive injustice keeps women and girls out of school, the workforce and leadership positions; limits their agency and ability to make decisions about their health and sexual and reproductive lives; and heightens their vulnerability to violence, harmful practices and preventable maternal death, with a woman dying every two minutes due to pregnancy or childbirth.

We must advance gender equality to create a more just, resilient and sustainable world. The creativity, ingenuity, resources and power of women and girls are fundamental to addressing demographic and other challenges that threaten our future, including climate change and conflict.

When women and girls are empowered by societies to exert autonomy over their lives and bodies, they and their families thrive, as the UNFPA 2023 State of World Population report illustrates.

UNFPA brings its data, experience and stories to support women and girls around the world, and World Population Day gives us an opportunity to highlight the need to advance gender equality to help realize the dreams of all 8 billion of us on our planet.

The Library collections contain print and online resources on the topic of population and demographics. Resources can be found by searching in the Library’s search tool, Discover. Print books on these subjects can be found in the Reading Room, shelf mark ZY09 and EHD. A selection of books from this section are on display in the Library’s Reading Room.  

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Your Library needs you!

Have your say on the Library and get a £10 gift voucher!

The LSHTM Library will be holding focus groups of service users to gather feedback on our Discover Library search tool (The Library catalogue).

Discover : The LSHTM library catalogue.

We’d love for you to join us on one of the following dates:

Thursday 27th July – 3 pm (in person)
Wednesday 2nd August – 3 pm (Zoom)

Register your interest to attend by emailing:
To get involved, email:

The Library is holding focus groups to gather feedback on our Discover Library search tool.

William Brass and Medical Research in East Africa

The LSHTM Archive recently catalogued and made available to researchers the papers of William Brass (1921 – 1999).

Photograph of William Brass wearing glasses and a suit

William Brass was a demographer, meaning that he undertook statistical research of human populations. Throughout his career he developed indirect methods for estimating mortality and fertility in populations lacking comprehensive registrations of births and deaths.

For example, researchers could obtain estimates of infant and child mortality in different regions by asking mothers about the number of children they have ever had and the number still alive.

In 1948, Brass began working as a statistician, then as deputy director, for the East African Statistical Department. During the time that he worked there, the department conducted the first comprehensive census in East Africa. Brass also designed and analysed the East African Medical Survey.

East African Medical Survey

There is a long history of medical research and intervention in East Africa. Since the arrival of Europeans in the region in the mid-19th century, East Africans have experienced exposure to Western medicine and research practices. During the colonial-era and beyond, researchers used East Africans as a source of data. Large numbers of East Africans participated in different varieties of medical research. This often resulted in the blending of medical treatment with medical research. Research practices during this time reflected the tendency of European researchers to think of African’s as data rather than patients.

GB 0809 Maps/03/01/32 – Map showing locations of tsetse flies in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique), 1911

The East African Medical Survey took place during the peak of colonial medical research in East Africa. It was just one of various projects overseen by the East African High Commission, an international organisation which existed with the intention of providing common services to the British-administered Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania).

GB 0809 Brass/05/01/01 Photographs of Kwimba taken by researchers

The intention of the Survey was to obtain exact information on the state of health of selected populations. Following this, experiments would be carried out to “ascertain the best methods of controlling the more important diseases”. The first Director of the Survey was William Laurie. He held the belief that the Survey’s finances should primarily prioritize research rather than assuming responsibility for the treatment of participants.

The majority of the Brass archive collection focuses on his research for the East African Medical Survey, conducted during the 1950s. His research mainly focused in Tanzania, analysing data collected from Ukara, Bukoba, Buha, Kasulu, Mbweni, Kibondo, Kwimba and Kusini. Medical Officers in communities undertook general examinations, laboratory examinations, physical examinations, and collected maternity and reproductive history data. Researchers like Brass then analysed the collected data.

GB 0809 Brass/05/01/01 – Example of a maternity history questionnaire used in the East African Medical Survey
GB 0809 Brass/05/01/02 – Maternity data collected from Kibondo

As well as collecting data, examinations also included the taking of samples from participants. The 1952 East African Medical Survey annual report notes that over a period of six months, Medical Officers took 19,468 blood, urine, and stool samples.

European research staff relied heavily on help from local authorities within communities when recruiting participants. In a 1953 update, it was noted that despite the specification that participants in the Survey should be amenable, the influx of a large field team into Ukara had a “most upsetting effect on the native” and was not a “welcome event”. The Medical Officers’ random sampling approach faced “a lack of co-operation and attempted evasions”.

Throughout the Survey, recruitment of staff proved a major difficulty. By the end of 1953, a shortage of statistical staff and equipment meant that data began to accumulate at a faster rate than it could be handled. In 1955, researchers had still not been able to create an adequate base of scientific data. Despite a massive collection of medical forms and samples being collected, the Survey had not yielded any new conclusions with which to inform health policymaking in East Africa.

GB 0809 Brass/05/01/12 – Letter from William Laurie to William Brass regarding difficulties of the East African Medical Survey

After the Survey

Following the conclusion of the East African Medical Survey Brass became a lecturer in statistics at the University of Aberdeen. Research in East Africa slowed significantly during the 1960s. As colonisation ended, the work of colonial research institutes faced disruptions. Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania) gained independence in 1961, Uganda in 1962, and Kenya in 1963.  

Brass went on to work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Reader in Medical Demography and then a Professor from 1965 until his retirement in 1988. As the School’s first demographer, he created a master’s course in medical demography in 1970. He also established the Centre for Population Studies in 1972.

During the 1990s, Brass chaired the Working Group on Kenya for the Committee on Population. The Committee was now able to rely on existing data sets. This included several major demographic surveys conducted in Kenya between 1977-1989, as well as decennial censuses from 1969 onwards. By this time there was also an increasing advocation from organisations such as the African Population Advisory Committee that Africans should take leadership positions in solving problems relating to population and family planning. The Committee also promoted the view that attaining genuine community involvement was pivotal to improving population programme implementation.

You can explore the Brass collection here.

Sutures and Surgery (Historical Collection)

The history of surgery is long and varied, dating back thousands of years across the world. Several books in the the Library’s Historical Collection offer fascinating glimpses into some of the surgical practices of the past. This blogpost will investigate some of them and the history of their publication. Please note that some of the illustrations below depict injuries in detail.

The Genuine Works of Hippocrates

The Genuine Works of Hippocrates was published in 1849 by the Sydenham Society. The translator of the Greek texts was Francis Adams. Adams was, according to a short biographical entry published in the Scottish Medical Journal, a doctor with a practice in the town of Banchory, just west of Aberdeen. He also found time to self-teach and translate medical texts in Latin, Greek and Arabic. Alongside Hippocrates, his published translations included works by Paul of Aegineta and Aretaeus of Cappadocia. He also produced a book entitled Arundines Devae; or, poetical translations on a new principle, which contained translations of Horace’s odes into English and translations of English poetry into Latin and Greek.

The Hippocratic treatises Adams translates in these two volumes are On Ancient Medicine, On Airs, Waters, and Places, On the Prognostics, On Regimen in Acute Diseases, Epidemics (books 1 and 3), On Injuries of the Head, On Things Relating to the Surgery, On Fractures, On the Articulations, Mochlicus, The Aphorisms, The Oath, The Law, On Ulcers, On Fistulae, On Haemorrhoids, and On the Sacred Disease. Nowadays, ancient Greek medical historians are more cautious about these texts’ (and others’) attributions to Hippocrates himself, and tend to refer to them collectively as the ‘Hippocratic Corpus’ instead.

Of especial interest to us, of course, is the treatise On Things Relating to the Surgery. The plates pictured above, from Volume Two, illustrate some of the bandaging techniques described. In the original captions, these bandaging techniques have Latin names like Monoculus (plate VII.1 above) or Sima sincera inaequalis (plate VI.3 above). Intriguingly, the caption also attributes the illustrations in Plate VI to “the Venetian edition of Galen.” (volume 6). This may refer to the first modern Latin translation of the works of Galen, which included a commentary on this treatise.

The bookplate on the inside cover of both volumes suggests that they entered the Library in May 1948. Unfortunately, the books themselves don’t have any evidence for where they spent the previous century.

Lehrbuch der Kriegschirurgie

This book is bound with another work, this time on malaria, entitled Die malaria-parasiten auf grund fremder und eigener beobachtungen dargestellt. For more on malaria in the Historical Collection, see this other blogpost in our series. Our surgical book, however, whose title is translatable as “Textbook of War Surgery,” is exactly what the title might suggest. The book itself, published in 1893, deals with field surgery for soldiers. It includes instructions on amenities and technologies like surgery tents or ambulances. The detailed illustrations include those above, of a gypsum plaster cast on a leg and how to compress the arteries of the arm with one’s fingers.

The book’s author, Karl (von) Seydel, was a medical professor and a doctor in the Bavarian army at the beginning of the twentieth century. He says in his foreword that this book is part of a larger book series from the publisher Ferdinand Enke. His language in this foreword makes his ideological background clear: he describes the book’s main purpose as the alleviation of wounded soldiers’ plights and thus in turn the well-being of the army and the ‘fatherland’ (Vaterland).

Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion

Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion: Part II. Surgical Volume. Plate I, opp. p. 4.

This six-part publication was produced by the US Army Surgeon General’s Office and consisted of a vast number of detailed case histories of diseases and surgical operations performed during the American Civil War. It also includes a host of other information like reports on prisoner-of-war camps, charts, and accounts of battles. For this reason, medical historians used it as a valuable resource on Civil War medical history, according to Ira M. Rutkow. It is available online on the data Internet Archive and the National Library of Medicine. Its Wikipedia article provides a detailed publication history and describe how the series consists of three volumes, each of which had a separate part dedicated to medical or surgical history. Each part was bound as a separate book.

Most striking of all are the detailed illustrations from the volumes on surgery, depicting injuries, surgical procedures, or bullets extracted from wounds.

Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion: Part II. Surgical Volume. Plate LIV, opp. p. 908.
Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion: Part I. Surgical Volume. Opp. p. 367.

These images, for instance, depict “resections” (i.e., operations done to remove tissue) on two men’s elbows after they sustained shot injuries, and gushot wounds sustained to the face and neck. Additionally, the injured men are each named and their rank and regiment is given. For instance, the lower image is a “chromolith” by “J. Bien”. Additionally, the caption names the two pictured men as Private Anthony Spiegel (left) and Private Albert Silsbee (right). It gives their regiments as the 5th U.S Cavalry and the 86th New York Volunteers respectively, both Union regiments. The technology for a chromolithograph had only developed relatively recently, but was rapidly growing in popularity at the time. Its inclusion for numerous colour plates in this publication is therefore unsurprising.

How to get these books

Library users are welcome to consult any of these books on Library premises. Each of the books discussed above has their catalogue entry linked in the section title. To reserve a book for consultation, just go to their catalogue entry on Discover while logged into your LSHTM account and follow the instructions underneath the heading “Get It.” You’ll receive an email when it’s available. However, please note that you will need to read these books within the Library and cannot borrow them like most other resources.

Book Display: Research Appreciation Day

This Wednesday 5th July is Research Appreciation Day, a new awareness day launched by medical research charities, particularly the Association of Medical Research Charities and MQ Mental Health Research. It is intended to recognise the contributions of researchers in all aspects of health. To celebrate, the Library has a display of books relating to health research and research skills. Come in to have a browse, or take a look at the book list below! Many of the books on the display also have online copies accessible via Discover.

Book list:

Featured image credit:

ICEH Professor and Peek Vision Co-Founder awarded an OBE

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Prof Andrew Bastawrous with the Peek visual acuity test © Rolex Joan Bardeletti

ICEH Professor Andrew Bastawrous, co-founder of award-winning eye health social enterprise Peek Vision, has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours for ‘services to eye health overseas’.

Andrew has been passionate about vision and eye health since a pair of glasses changed his life at the age of twelve. Soon after, he recognised that so many people around the world didn’t have access to transformative interventions like glasses or eye surgery, which set him on a path to spend a lifetime contributing to solving the problem.

By engaging governments, thought-leaders, doers and donors, Andrew has inspired individuals and groups to collaborate with him on solving vision loss for over two decades. His work includes teaching eye health leaders, conducting research to inform best practices, developing new technologies, raising money and building teams, including co-founding a global vision fund and the award-winning social enterprise, Peek Vision.

Peek Vision began as a PhD project for Andrew at ICEH in 2012 before spinning out into a separate enterprise in 2015/16.

Peek provides a smartphone vision-testing app that anyone can use, even in the hardest-to-reach locations. The app is embedded into a powerful system for eye health data capture and analysis. With Peek, eye health programme providers can follow the patient journey from screening to treatment and identify where patients are left behind. Programmes powered by Peek currently reach over a quarter of a million people per month.

All of Peek’s systems and products are validated through research with ICEH, and research helps to develop new products and programmes.

Upon receiving the award, Andrew said: “I am so fortunate to be surrounded by thoughtful, brilliant and courageous people. My wife Madeleine and my parents have made many sacrifices in pursuit of the work we are committed to. I am blessed to work with leaders, teams, partners and mentors who have supported and continue to give generously of their gifts, time and resources to create a future where everyone has the opportunity to access eye care and unlock the potential that is universal in everyone. This award recognises the efforts of so many people, many unseen, whose collective dedication and commitment makes ending avoidable vision loss a possibility in our lifetimes.”

Professor Matthew Burton, director of ICEH said: “Congratulations to Andrew on this well-deserved award. His tireless work in eye health has been a source of inspiration for many, and his ability to create tangible change in the field has been remarkable. Peek has the potential to change both eye care and public health more widely, and Andrew’s work has done so much to bring attention to eye health as a global issue. We feel very privileged to work together and look forward to seeing him develop his work in years to come.”

The full list of the King’s Birthday Honours can be found here.


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