In an attempt to distract myself from devastating news about the federal mismanagement of the current covid-19 pandemic, I decided to make a linocut of a plague doctor. As if emerging from a nightmare as a cross between a crow and the grim reaper, the doctors wore long cloaks, a hood with a long beak, and eye protection. I searched for images to use for inspiration and a simple engraving print caught my eye. As I went to research more about the image, I realized it wasn’t just any plague doctor outfit, this was supposed to be an image of a real doctor, Ijsbrand van Diemerbroeck, who not only treated plague patients, but wrote a book of case studies in hopes of educating other doctors about symptoms and treatments.
What would happen if you raised your baby and a baby chimp together, as brother and sister, in the name of science?
Don't worry, you don't have to try. In 1930, scientist Dr. Winthrop Niles Kellogg did just that. Read more about the crazy (bad) experiment in my article on OZY.
If you want to check out the full report on the experiment, Kellogg's book is available via HathiTrust, and there are some good newspaper articles from when the research was made public in 1932.
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.