Clinician1 Historic Medicine Series

Dr.Burns has been participating in David Mittman’s journal on historic medicine found on the Clinician 1 medical database. This online journal features photographs from The Archive with text by Dr.Burns. To access Clinician 1 is free, but you need to be a student of medicine or licensed in a medical field to register. 

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants can see unusual Burns Archive medical photographs with complete histories online atwww.Clinician1.com

Below are a few example images to be included in upcoming articles

©2010 The Burns Archive
Lupus Vulgaris with Corneal Leukoma
©2010 The Burns Archive
Dermatitis Hysterica, Patient of Jean-Alfred Fournier, MD, 1892
©2010 The Burns Archive
Young Boy With Wilms' Tumor, Before Surgery, Cabinet Card, 1898
©2010 The Burns Archive
Young Boy With Wilms' Tumor, After Surgery, Cabinet Card, 1898


Hospital Wards- At Least We're in it Together


World War I Influenza Ward, The 1918 Spanish Flu 
Notice the variance in the age of patients in one ward. circa 1920
Ward I at St.Joseph Hospital, Paterson, NJ, 1927
Ward II at St.Joseph Hospital, Paterson, NJ, 1927
Hospital Ward, circa 1915
Obstetric Ward, Circa 1915 
Obstetric Ward, Circa 1925
Patient with Private Room, Circa 1920


Dermatology in the 19th Century: Lecture at the American Dermatological Association Annual Meeting

On Saturday, August 2, Stanley Burns MD, FACS lectured as guest speaker for the American Dermatological Association's 130th annual meeting at the Ritz Carlton, Battery Park, NYC.

Below are a few samples of the dermatologic images discussed in the lecture.
©2010 The Burns Archive
Syphiloderma Papulosum, George Henry Fox, MD, NY 1881
©2010 The Burns Archive
Syphiloderma Tuberculosum, George Henry Fox, MD, NY 1881
©2010 The Burns Archive
Rosacea, William S, Gottheil, MD, 1891
George Henry Fox, MD was a pioneer of medical study using photography as illustration. Most of his photographs were in collaboration with O.G. Mason who directed the photographic department at Bellevue Hospital, New York. Above are two hand colored plates from Fox's publication Cutaneous Syphilis, 1885. William S. Gottheil, MD also extensively recorded skin disease in A Practical Treatise on Diseases of the Skin, 1891. The image "Rosacea" is a colored photogravure plate. These photographs and many more can be found in Dr.Burn's four volume Photographic History of Nineteenth Century Dermatology.

Below are images from the event:

Dr. Burns with David Cohen MPH, MD
New York University Department of Dermatology
Dr. Burns with Boris D. Lushniak MD, MPH
Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism Policy
Mark Pittelkow MD, James Taylor MD, Arnold Schroeter MD
Dermatology Department Mayo Clinic
Ali Dana MD, Sherry Cohen MD, Stanley Burns MD, Bernard A. Cohen MD,
Johns Hopkins Dermatology Department

Click twice on the video above to see full frame on YouTube


Dressed to Distress

Mourning in the 19th century was a heavy psychological burden and a time-consuming duty. Mourning was divided into time stages and each stage had its own dress and duties. In the first stage, black was worn and that included accessories, such as jewelry. A veil completely covered the woman’s face. In the second stage, pictured here, the veil is lifted off the face and white, as seen here or any non-black jewelry could be worn. In the third stage, “semi-mourning” clothes were worn, remnants that showed one was a mourner. In the nineteenth century, specialty  stores were dedicated to the sale of mourning paraphernalia. One of the last such stores closed in Philadelphia in the early 1950s
©2010 The Burns Archive
Parents with Second Stage Mourning Clothes, Daguerreotype, Circa 1847
Above Taken From Sleeping Beauty: Memorial Photography in America, Burns Press
©2010 The Burns Archive
Woman in Mourning Attire, Decorative Hanging Frame, Albumen Print, Circa 1865
©2010 The Burns Archive
Woman in Mourning Dress Holding a Portrait of Deceased, Circa 1870
The use of the photograph to take the place of an actual object or person is one of the evidences of the authority of photography as representation of the real. Photography allowed for creation of a tangible object that represented the lost person. It could be held in the hand, and looked at over the years. It was a novel way to solve contradiction: the need to push the dead away and the need to keep the dead alive.

©2010 The Burns Archive
(Detail) Woman in Mourning Dress Holding a Portrait of Deceased, Circa 1870


Geisha, Oiran and the No 9 Girls

One of the pleasures of research using photographic sources as historic documents are the surprising discoveries that can be made when large numbers of images are analyzed. There have been several books on 19th century Japanese photohistory and most identify the obvious lower and higher levels of prostitute. However, valuable connections between many images of prostitutes have not been made and this work vividly shows and clears up for the first time an important categorization that allows researchers and curators to identify prostitutes and their establishments. This is important in context of studying images of geisha as many mistake prostitutes for geisha.
©2010 The Burns Archive
Dressing the Obi, Kusakabe Kimbei, c.1890
Geisha were Japanese artists  of traditional dance, singing, musical instruments, and conversation. They were hired for social company only and did not perform sexual acts, which were left to prostitutes. There were strong unions and trade rules differentiating the positions as it took years of training to become a geisha. One of the visual indicators of the dress of a geisha vs. a prostitute was the position of the Obi. For a Geisha, the Obi had to be tied in the back by an assistant, the prostitutes tied theirs in the front.
©2010 The Burns Archive
Geisha Showing the Back Style, Unattributed, c. 1880 
An important discovery I made was the meaning and identification of No. 9 girls and buildings. Many images show rows of beautifully outfitted women, some majestically posed and images are labeled, ‘No. 9 Girls’ or more frequently ‘New No. 9 Girls’. Collections of Japanese photographs when created in albums consisted traditionally of a first part with landscape and cityscapes and a final section of people, ‘customs and costumes.’ Collectors also specialize some preferring the images of people others of places or events. Looking at buildings I recognized that building No. 9 in Yokahama was clearly a brothel as indicated by the women hanging out. Further study revealed other No. 9 buildings were brothels. Perhaps the most important image is that of ‘Nectarine No. 9’, clearly a brothel as indicated by the presence of prostitutes but most importantly in the entrance way are three men dressed in western garb entering the building! Further study of No. 9 girl images clearly show the obi tied in front the visual symbolic language of the trade. It can be supposed that being a ‘number nine girl’ became a colloquial euphemistic term for prostitute. As a corollary it can be supposed that members of the merchant class or royalty would not want the number nine for their residence. 
©2010 The Burns Archive
Entrance of Nectarine No. 9, Unattributed, c. 1880
No other tourist photograph documents clients entering a house of prostitution.
©2010 The Burns Archive
The Girls at Yokohama, Attributed to Kusakabe Kimbei, 1890
Low level prostitutes behind barred windows in a licensed house of prostitution.
©2010 The Burns Archive
Nectarine, Kusakabe Kimbei, c.1890
Overview of Nectarine No 9 Pleasure House.
©2010 The Burns Archive
Oiran and Shinzo in Full Regalia, Unattributed, c.1890
Oiran were courtesans, the highest level of prostitute.
This documents an Oiran and her two attendants called shinzo, and her male umbrella carrier.
For over a century the tayu, of Edo and Kyoto were so revered and special some were booked months in advance and often required several meetings before she would consent to sex. These tayu also had the right to refuse the conjugal meeting if she decided she didn’t approve of the man. The meeting was not a clandestine affair, as the tayu would travel to the meeting place with a full retinue of attendants. Aside from several young girls dressed in kimono and decorated, an umbrella caring attendant was standard. The troupes splendor and the renown of the tayu were meant to impress viewers as to the importance of the gentleman who she was to meet. 

©2010 The Burns Archive
Oiran Procession, Unattributed, c. 1890
In the tradition of tayu an entourage child attendants follow in the procession.
Please read The Burns Archive & powerHouse Books'Geisha, A Photographic History 1872-1912 to learn more.


A Student's Dream: Dissection Photography

A selection from the Archive's large dissection collection...

©2010 The Burns Archive
Dissection of a body separated a physician from the general public. It was the first course in the medical curriculum and a rite of passage that many could not muster. Dissection deterred many from entering the profession. Being photographed with one’s cadaver visually documented the transition from lay-person to physician. In the nineteenth century, physicians hung these photographs in their medical offices. Death was a part of everyday nineteenth century life; the images did not seem out of place in a medical office. 

Posing with anatomical body parts, a skeleton or bones was another form of early medical photography. The study of bones (osteology) was critical and students were tested by having to identify the bone by shape. At birth the human body has about 350 bones, but by adulthood many bones have fused together creating a total of about 206 bones.

During the mid-nineteenth and throughout the first half of the twentieth century, having a photographic portrait taken in anatomy class with one’s dissection cadaver became an initiation rite of medical practice. The knowledge of anatomy separated physicians from laypersons, and the photographs provided evidence of a student’s entrance into the profession. It also demonstrated a competent ‘hands-on’ medical education. Many photographs were displayed in frames and hung in a doctor’s office along with his diplomas. The framed dissection  photograph was an icon of medicine, and the photograph provides irrefutable evidence of a physicians training.

©2010 The Burns Archive
It was not until the early 1880s that dissection became legal in most states – a result of an outrageous grave-robbing incident in 1879. The body of former United States Senator John Scott Harrison was stolen and shipped to The Medical College of Ohio in Cincinnati. He was the son of President William Henry Harrison (1841) and the father of Senator and President-to-be Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893). The national uproar instigated by his son, Senator Benjamin Harrison, resulted in liberal changes in dissection laws. Previously, in many states, only condemned criminals were legally available for dissection, hence the need for grave robbing. After dissection became legal, dissection photography became a sort of ‘occupational photograph’ taken by almost all medical students. The privacy concerns of the later twentieth century put an end to the practice. In many medical institutions, dissecting cadavers has stopped and students learn from computerized devices and mannequins. The hands-off phenomenon has extended to surgery with the advent of robotic and laparoscopic surgical procedures, which are all viewed through a video screen and performed with instruments.

Human dissection has been interpreted for centuries in paintings and prints, including such revered paintings as The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt Van Rijn and An Anatomy Lesson Given by Michelangelo to Other Artists by Bartolomeo Passarotti. Prints of master anatomists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have become lasting symbols of serious medical study. With the advent of photography, medical students, like those shown here, continued the custom. During each decade, the composition and posing of the students changed. In the 1890-1920 era, oiled cloth lab coats were worn and the photographs were often inscribed with various comments.
©2010 The Burns Archive

©2010 The Burns Archive
"A Student's Dream"
©2010 The Burns Archive
Criminal Dissection

©2010 The Burns Archive
"It's All Over Now"

©2010 The Burns Archive
"She Lived For Others But Died For Us"
©2010 The Burns Archive
"A Student's Dream"


Psychiatric Hospital Care- Restraints

©2010 The Burns Archive
Daguerreotype of an Unidentified Mental Hospital, Circa 1860

©2010 The Burns Archive
Patients Demonstrate Hand Restraints, 1915 (Left to Right) 
1) Camisole (Straightjacket Device) 2) Mitts and Wristlers 
3) Wristlers & Muffs 4) Wristlers

©2010 The Burns Archive
Utica Crib: Control of the Uncooperative Patient 
Established at Utica State Hospital in 1842

©2010 The Burns Archive
Chair Formally Used to Treat Violent Patients 
An Original Glass Negative Taken From a New
York State Asylum in the Early 20th Cent.

©2010 The Burns Archive
Restraints No Longer in Use As of 1933

All photographs taken from 
Patients & Promise: A Photographic History of 
Mental and Mood Disorders, Volume II
Burns Archive Press 2006