The OAH Magazine of History

Masthead Moh Nameplate Long

History of Medicine

from the editor

Doctoring the Past, by Kevin B. Byrne

Over the course of U.S. history, from colonial times to the present, few if any fields have experienced more revolutionary changes than have medicine and health care. The apothecary shop pictured on the cover of this issue bears scant resemblance to the pharmacy of today and gives little hint of the emergence of the pharmaceutical and health care industries of the twenty-first century. In its day, of course, it may well have been a state-of-the-art facility. Elements of continuity between past and present also exist–midwives continue to practice, for example, although in much reduced proportions compared to the colonial experience related in Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale– but the predominant story especially over the past century and a half has been one of change over time. Read more >


by Kathleen W. Jones and Jonathon Erlen
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Bodies of Evidence,
by Nancy Tomes
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Black Health on the Plantation: Owners, the Enslaved, and Physicians,
by Todd L. Savitt
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Military Medical History: The American Civil War,
by Dale C. Smith
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Experimentation on Human Beings,
by Susan Lederer
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As Patients and Healers: The History of Women and Medicine,
by Charlotte G. Borst and Kathleen W. Jones
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Teaching the History of Public Health and Health Reform,
by Susan L. Smith
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teaching resources

Negotiating the Health of the Public: Yellow Fever in 1793 Philadelphia,
by Janet A. Tighe
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“Slavery As It Is:” Medicine and Slaves of the Plantation South,
by David McBride
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Civil War Medicine: Approaches for Teaching,
by Michael A. Flannery
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Who is the Nurse? Rethinking the History of Gender and Medicine,
by Cynthia Connolly and Naomi Rogers
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Atomic Guinea Pigs? Cold War Human Radiation Experiments,
by David Jones
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Polio and Historical Inquiry,
by Karen L. Wellner
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History of Medicine Resources on the Internet,
by Jonathon Erlen
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teaching with documents from the gilder lehrman collection

“A Simple and Effectual Remedy” for St. Anthony’s Fire and Whooping Cough in the Late Eighteenth Century,
by Justine Ahlstrom
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National Park Service Historic Sites: Medicine
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special online feature: personal profile

Dr. John Henry Jordan: Pioneer African American Physician, [PDF]
by Karen Jordan