Current and Past Exhibits

Current Exhibits
May 15th-September 12th, 2014
Selling Smoke: Tobacco Advertising and Anti-smoking Campaigns
The tobacco industry has been selling smoke in America and other countries for well over a century. From sultry ladies to Santa, tobacco advertisers slickly packaged smoking in a variety of ways to lure consumers to different brands. Using celebrity spokespeople, touting health benefits, sponsoring racing and other sports, employing product placement, and creating games with prizes are just a small sampling of the ways smoking was sold. "Selling Smoke" exhibits a wide array of tobacco advertising from the William Van Duyn collection of magazine advertisements, ephemera, articles, and photographs. Anti-smoking campaign materials from a variety of public health organizations, multiple U.S. Surgeons General, and others are also be on display, tracing worldwide efforts to stamp out smoking. Discover the entire collection through the finding aid.

Past Exhibits
January 23rd-May 2nd, 2014
A Cure for What Ails You: Songs from the Library's Sheet Music Collection

In Library Foyer, Sterling Hall
This exhibit celebrates a new collection of medically themed sheet music recently donated to the Medical Historical Library by William Helfand, retired pharmaceutical company executive, historian of medicine, and collector. There are over a thousand items in the collection on medical providers, purveyors of remedies, ailments both real and imagined, cures for all purposes (especially for lovesickness), health songs for children, and music advertising patent medicines. Most of the music was written for public entertainment, whether in London music halls, Parisian theaters, or American vaudeville and early musicals. Later songs in the collection were aired on the radio, featured in movies, recorded on record labels, or served as themes for TV shows on doctors and hospitals. Songs range from “The Cork Leg,” a traditional Irish song about a self-propelling prosthetic cork leg, to Loretta Lynn singing about the advantages of “The Pill.” The engraved and lithographed covers of the music provide striking images of medicine and popular culture. Discover the entire collection through the finding aid.

November 18th, 2013-January 17th, 2014
Books of Secrets: Alchemy, Medicine, and Magic
The exhibit was the midterm assignment of Prof. Paola Bertucci’s undergraduate seminar: Spies, Secrets, and Science (HSHM 459a/HIST 159Ja/HUMS 317a). Books of secrets were cheap publications that divulged medicinal, alchemical, artisanal, and other kinds of “secrets” of nature and the arts. Mostly compilations of recipes or how-to manuals, they met with extraordinary success beginning in the sixteenth century, being translated into several languages and reprinted in various editions up until the nineteenth century.

September 16th-November 15th, 2013
Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière: The Physician and the Hysterical Women
The Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière (1876-80), a landmark publication in medical photography, is on view in the Rotunda of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.  This collection of texts and photographs represents the female patients of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière hospital and asylum during the years of his tenure as director. The patients, diagnosed primarily with hysteria or epilepsy, were treated at the asylum even as they acted as experimental subjects for Charcot’s development of the hysteria diagnosis. This collection represents a transformative moment in the history of the diagnosis, treatment, and representation of mental illness. The exhibit was organized by Courtney Thompson, doctoral student in the Program in the History of Medicine, and Susan Wheeler, Curator for Prints and Drawings at the Medical Library.
“La Femme” (1886) by French artist Paul-Albert Besnard. 
Besnard created a series of prints on the possible life events of women in the late 19th century.  In the Hallway, Medical Library.

Nursing at 90: A celebration of the Yale School of Nursing Alumni.
The exhibit highlights the contributions of the Nursing program and its graduates to Yale, the profession, and the world. Curated by Janene Batten with the help of Melissa Grafe.  On view in the Medical Library foyer until January 10, 2014.  In addition, as part of the 90th Anniversary of the Yale School of Nursing the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library has digitized the large collection of historical YSN alumni newsletters, memorabilia, and class photos dating from 1926.

July 22nd-September 12, 2013
"Eight Interesting Objects"
Recent acquisitions in the Cushing Rotunda
Selections from the New Global Health Collection
The Medical Historical Library recently acquired over 2600 global public health and safety posters, representing 56 countries and multiple languages. On display are selections from this collection, promoting a variety of public health messages, including anti-drug and anti-smoking campaigns, maternal and child health, population control, clean water, and prevention of diseases such as malaria and cholera. In Library Foyer, Sterling Hall

April-July 2013
Unveiling Medicine's Past:  Medical Historical Collections Online
The Medical Historical Library’s digital collection includes Yale School of Medicine photographs, portraits of 16th Century anatomist Andreas Vesalius, Harvey Cushing and others, as well as rare books, medical and surgical instruments, prints, posters, and drawings, and much more! This exhibit demystifies the process of digitization and showcases Yale’s rich medical historical collections.

January 16th-April 1st, 2013
Portraits of Wounded Bodies:  Photographs of Civil War Soldiers from Harewood Hospital, Washington, D.C., 1863-1866
The Medical Historical Library explores Civil War medicine through the haunting photographs of wounded soldiers. In the foyer of Sterling Hall, the exhibit expands to include a larger discussion of Civil War medicine and surgery, including hospitals and nurses, using images and materials from the Medical Historical Library. An online version of the Harewood Hospital photographs is available in the Digital Library.  In Cushing Rotunda, Medical Library and Foyer, Sterling Hall
Selections from the Collection of Prints and Drawings and the Historical Medical Poster Collection
Eyewitness renderings of medicine in the field during World War I and World War II, together with posters from various wartime agencies, show part of the war experience and its effect on individuals.  In the Hallway, Medical Library

September 22nd, 2012-January 13th, 2013
Medicine at Work: A Selection of Instruments and Materials from the Medical Historical Library
An online version of our collection of Medical Instruments and Artifacts is available in the Digital Library.
Selected from the Historical Medical Poster Collection and the Collection of Prints and Drawings

June 22-September 17, 2012
"Family Doctor" by Grant Wood and Works by Other Mid 20th Century American Artists
in Hallway
Food and Nutrition posters in Foyer
Maternity Care in Pictures: A Portfolio of 31 Teaching Charts Showing Safe Maternity Care, 1939 in Rotunda
Published by the Maternity Center Association
This set of small posters, shown in its entirety, was designed for parenting classes, waiting rooms, and formal exhibits.  Many of the posters employed “photomontage” which combined a photographic image with a drawn background—a “modern” graphic technique which served to reinforce the “modern” message. 

The Maternity Center Association in New York developed the first classes for expectant parents as part of comprehensive maternity services.   In 1938, it offered the first classes for fathers.

This set has been digitized and is online in the Historical Poster Collection

March 5-June 18, 2012
Medicine in Shakespeare’s London
This exhibit was part of the campus-wide celebration of Shakespeare.  Shakespeare included many medical references in his plays, such as the plague, midwifery, herbals, astrological medicine, and surgery.   This exhibit explores these themes and features works in early anatomy, surgery, and botanicals from the Medical Historical Collection.  Parts of this exhibit are available online.

Online Exhibits