Intern in our Digital Lab this Summer

The New York Academy of Medicine’s Library is looking for a digital intern to work in the Library’s digital program.  The internship will provide hands-on experience with creating and building digital collections, editing metadata for digitization projects, and conducting quality control of scanned images. The Intern will have an opportunity to learn about the digitization process and how to build digital collections.

We are looking for an intern who is imaginative and interested in learning more about developing digital collections and how metadata is used to enhance collections.

The internship is paid or may be taken for course credit.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Create digital collections on Islandora website
  • Collect, edit, create and organize metadata according to standards
  • Conduct quality control on scanned images and digital collections

Qualifications and Experience

  • Familiarity with technology, digital collections, and/or digital humanities projects
  • Experience with metadata schemas (e.g. MODS, Dublin Core, MARC, IPTC etc.)
  • Knowledge of XML, XSLT, and OCLC
  • Coursework in Library and Information Science

Start Date: June 2018.

Hours: Approximately 10 hours a week for 12 weeks.  Intern must be available 2 days per week between the hours of 10:00am-5:00pm, Monday through Thursday.

To Apply

Please forward cover letter and resume with “Digital Intern” in the subject line to library@nyam.org.  Please also outline your academic needs for obtaining course credit, if applicable.  Deadline: May 18, 2018.

“She was in love with another man…” History, Heartbreak, and Hysteria in the Academy Archive (Part 2)

Earlier this week, fall archives intern Doris Straus shared highlights from the collections she processed while at the Academy. Today, she presents the rest of her discoveries.

I processed the papers of Dr. Lewis Gregory Cole papers next. Dr. Cole (b. 1874), a radiologist, had an active social life during his time at Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons. His papers (1892–1954) include a large collection of lively personal correspondence from male and female acquaintances, dance cards, wedding invitations, calling cards (mainly from female friends), and other social ephemera of the late 1890s. The correspondence from his university years and the early years of his career are a fascinating look at social interactions between young men and women at the turn of the 20th century.

Dance cards from the Cole archive.

Dance cards from the Cole papers.

There is an invitation for a bicycle ride and mention of a gift of a box of chocolates to a young lady friend, and years of correspondence from “your true chum, Joe,” who was studying at Cornell and who complains about all the weddings they have to go to. Though there is more personal correspondence here than scientific, numerous papers and correspondence relates to Dr. Cole’s work with roentgenology (radiology). A 1931 letter to Dr. Cole from a fellow radiologist at the Cleveland Clinic requests “a signed photograph of yourself for my collection of eminent radiologists.” Dr. Cole wrote two textbooks, contributed to other texts, and authored more than one hundred articles in medical journals. He also developed a table, known as the “Cole table,” for the diagnosis of duodenal ulcers.

Scientific papers in the Cole archive.

Scientific materials from the Cole papers.

The Dr. Joseph R. Kuh papers, 1935–1994, also contain a great deal of personal correspondence, along with diaries and notes documenting Dr. Kuh’s service during World War II and the Korean War.

Dr. Kuh (1919–2012) was a certified internist and practiced privately from his Manhattan brownstone for many years. Of note in the personal correspondence is the reporting of historic events. A June 6, 1944 letter from Dr. Kuh’s father to both his sons reports the events of D-Day as experienced in the Kuh family apartment on West End Avenue. The letter tells of constant prayers being offered on the radio in addition to the news, and of the major department stores “Stern’s, Lord and Taylor, Franklin Simon” closing early. “Their windows bore a notice ‘Due to D Day, we felt that our customers as well as our employees would want to spend the day in prayer, and so we have closed for the remainder of the day.’” Other newsworthy events include Dr. Kuh’s first wife, Jean, a Barnard student, writing about the plane that crashed into the Empire State Building in July of 1945.

Diaries from the Kuh papers.

Diaries from the Kuh papers.

I also processed the Dr. Alfred Braun papers, 1898–1983. Dr. Braun was a native of Hungary, a Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons alumnus who specialized in otolaryngology, and a gifted painter. He was one of the founders and past officers of the NY Physicians Art Club. The collection includes scientific materials, a number of art awards, and correspondence with American businessman Armand Hammer, who appears to have been a friend.

Other personal collections include the Dr. Gustav Aufricht papers, 1922-1963. Dr. Aufricht (1894–1980) was a native of Budapest, Hungary and is considered one of the founding fathers of American Plastic Surgery. He treated wounded soldiers during World War I and studied with the leading practitioners in Europe before arriving in New York in 1923. I also processed the Dorothy Fahs-Beck papers, 1929–1954. Fahs-Beck (1906–2000) was a research statistician who received her doctorate from Columbia University in 1944. Her greatest impact was as an innovator in the areas of human services research and dental practice research. She established the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation in 1993.

The papers and records I had the good fortune to process are wide-ranging collections documenting the struggle to conquer diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, and rickets; record psychiatry and neurology as practiced in the early 20th century; chronicle the development and use of X-rays, vaccines, and antibiotics; record advances in diagnostic and surgical procedures; report evolving diet and nutritional issues for children throughout the mid-20th century; and document the beginnings of AIDS research in the early 1980s—all by organizations and individuals at the forefront of these issues. There is also enlightening correspondence and social ephemera from times long past, which help to complete the picture of a person or an era—even if it is just admiring the gift of a box of chocolates 120 years after the fact.

“She was in love with another man…” History, Heartbreak, and Hysteria in the Academy Archive (Part 1)

By Doris Straus, MSLIS, Pratt Institute, Fall 2015 Archives Intern

“She was in love with another man…” These were literally the first words that I read in a random case file from the Charles Loomis Dana papers of the early 1920s. Obviously this was going to be a collection that would be easy to get lost in.

Dr. Dana’s case files from 1919–1929 comprised the first collection of more than a dozen that I processed for the New York Academy of Medicine as an intern this fall. Here are highlights from about 10 of them, which offer an intriguing look into the history of medicine and society in the 19th and 20th centuries. Contact history@nyam.org if interested in using any of these collections. Please note, some of these collections are on deposit and have specific rules that govern their use. Finding aids to these collections will be available online in early 2016.

Dr. Charles Loomis Dana was born in 1852 in Woodstock, Vermont to an old and prominent New England family. He studied medicine in Washington, DC, and in New York, graduating from Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1877. He went on to become a professor of physiology at Women’s Medical College and later of nervous and mental disorders at Cornell Medical College. Dana’s case files include individuals of all ages and from all walks of life—from countesses to schoolboys, stenographers, governors, and laborers. There are also many patients with on-the-job injuries whose examinations were requested by the Department of Labor for workmen’s compensation matters.

A case file from the Charles Loomis Dana papers. The patient name has been removed from the image for privacy.

A case file from the Charles Loomis Dana papers. The patient name has been removed from the image for privacy.

Dr. Dana often worked with Dr. Gladys G. Tallman, director of the psychological laboratory at the Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University, and her detailed and thorough examinations of many patients are part of the files. The most common diagnosis for men seems to be paranoia and for women, depression, hysteria, and anxiety. Elderly men often suffered from depression as well. However, the range of diagnoses was actually quite wide and included tinnitus, insomnia, neuralgia, asthenia, vertigo, dementia praecox, encephalitis, drug addiction (most often morphine), “traumatic psychosis,” and “weak arches.” Patients came from not only the New York area but from all of the Eastern U.S. and some from as far away as Havana.

Like the range of Dr. Dana’s patients, the variety of subject matter and materials preserved in the collections that I processed is wide. What organizations or individuals choose to save and the way they organize and preserve these materials is fascinating and a big part of the appeal of archival work for me. The New York Pediatric Society records, 1930–2011, contain much of what one would expect to find in the records of a medical society. However, these papers, minutes, and correspondence also document the prevalence of tuberculosis in the 1930s. This documentation is followed by the development and use of the antibiotic streptomycin in the 1940s, and then, decades later, the first appearance of drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis as shown in the 1967 papers of the society and continuing with the rapid rise of those resistant strains into the 1980s. Papers on the polio epidemic of 1944 are also here, as is the evolving research regarding vaccines, diet, and nutrition for children.

The New York Clinical Society records, 1877–2005, include bound manuscript records of its earliest minutes (1877–1912). At meetings, members offered presentations like the “case of a man with a curious form of venereal disease” and also an “opium habit” (February 22, 1878); a boy with protruding ears who was helped by surgery—“the result is admirable…the lad of 16 years had been subjected to so much mockery at school” (May 27, 1881). On March 25, 1904, “Dr. Gibson presented specimens of gall stones removed from a lady who had symptoms of intestinal obstruction” including “a gall stone about the size of an olive pit.” The minutes of May 27, 1910 document “a peculiar case of typhoid fever” which was “probably not typhoid but ‘New York Fever.’” By the 1980s one of the papers presented included “Orthopedic Aspects of Classical Ballet” and “In-Hospital Nutrition or How to Starve to Death in New York City”—a long way from the gallstone samples of 1904. On October 25, 1982 a paper, “Acquired Immunodeficiency,” was presented—“This recent and fascinating disease picture which has become so prominent in our N.Y. area.” Again, this collection offers primary-source documentation as the story of the epidemic unfolded.

During the 1980s the meetings of the society were held at the Century Club. The menus and wine labels from those occasions have been preserved as well.

"Minutes of the Meetings of the New York Clinical Society."

“Minutes of the Meetings of the New York Clinical Society.”

Other medical society collections that I processed include the New York Cardiological Society records, 1949–1995; the New York Gastroenterological Association records, 1915–1963, which included the reporting of a “surgical member of our group” attempting to “close up the multiple-perforated gut” of a racketeer who had been “badly shot up” in 1943; and the very well organized materials of the American Urological Association, New York Society—the only minutes I processed that were recorded by a stenographer and then transcribed and bound by a transcription service. An enthusiastic 1929 telegram in the collection describes what appears to be a diagnostic procedure for kidney stones: “results unbelievably beautiful.”

Read more about our archival highlights in Part 2 of the blog.

Tapes, Health, and History: Gaining Reel (to Reel) Experience at the New York Academy of Medicine

By Michelle Krause, Spring Intern

Intern Michelle Krause with audio-visual materials in the library's collection.

Intern Michelle Krause with audio-visual materials in the library’s collection.

I am a graduate student in the Moving Image Archive Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. To complete the program, students must complete two semester-long internships and one full-time summer internship. This semester I completed my first internship for the program at the New York Academy of Medicine, under the supervision of Archivist Rebecca Pou.

When the opportunity presented itself to intern at the New York Academy of Medicine, I immediately applied for the position. I come from a family of doctors and am extremely interested in the medical field. I knew I would be fascinated to work on preserving a collection of audiovisual materials relating to medicine.

I was fortunate to work with three collections throughout my internship at the Academy. The largest collection I worked with consisted of 447 magnetic recording tapes (in reel-to-reel format) of medical lectures recorded in the late-1950s to the mid-1970s at the New York Academy of Medicine. My duties included organizing the materials and corresponding the reels with their appropriate series. After this task was complete, I catalogued all of the information on each reel into an item-level spreadsheet.

Labeled reels.

Audio reels in the library’s collection.

Throughout the course of my internship, I gained and strengthened numerous skills; for example, collection management, inspection, cataloging and knowledge regarding audiotape reels. Before embarking on this internship, I had no experience in collection management (I would eventually take a course on the topic during the spring semester), however after having completed the internship I feel completely confident in the field. It was especially helpful that Rebecca allowed me to choose my own method of assessing and cataloging the collection; as a result I felt confident in my choice of action, simultaneously improving my skills as a cataloguer.

An audio reel.

An audio reel.

I devoted countless hours to inspecting the audiotape reels, which emphasized to me that it is necessary to perform tasks slowly if one wishes to complete a thorough assessment of a collection. Completing this internship has increased my knowledge of magnetic recording tape, especially in reel-to-reel format, as well as how to correctly identify damage to audiotape reels. I could not have asked for a better internship or supervisor this semester so I can only hope that my experience this semester is repeated in future internships. Because of my work with the collection, the library now has a clearer picture of what these collections contain, and can move forward with work to preserve them and make them more accessible.