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BML President’s Annual Report to Fellows
September 22, 2016



The BML has had a very eventful year accomplishing among others the critical task of selecting a new Director- Countway Librarian for the Harvard Medical and Boston Medical Libraries collaboratively with Harvard and continuing to enhance the Massachusetts Medical Society partnership. The thoughtful support and guidance of the Board and the Librarian Search Committee have been invaluable.

Prospect, Practicing Physician Library Services

The New Year dawns full of hope for the renewal of the promises of the Countway partnership. Challenges ahead include reinvigorating the Countway and its services to the BML while the leadership at Harvard is transitioning. A three phase plan is proposed to advance BML's Strategic Goals 1 and 2 (Appendix 1) for implementation by the new Director. 1. Assess the library service needs of practicing physicians for their lifelong learning and existing and innovative services to meet these; 2. Pilot services; and 3. Implement successful services harnessing advances and innovation. Explore grant and similar funding.

The New Librarian

The new Director, Dr. Elaine Martin, was chosen unanimously by the Search Committee and appointed by Harvard Medical School Dean, Dr. Jeffrey Flier, and will take office from October 3, 2016. The Search Committee chaired by HMS Executive Dean John Czajkowski consisted of:

From HMS:

Susan Dale (Dean Flier’s Chief of Staff), Joan Y. Reede, MD, MS, MPH, MBA, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership, Peter M. Howley, MD, Shattuck Professor of Pathological Anatomy, Professor, Microbiology and Immunobiology, Sarah Thomas, VP for Harvard Library

From BML:

Mary Jane Houlihan, MD, BML VP, Corinne Broderick, EVP of MMS, Michele Pugnaire, MD, Dean for Medical Education, UMass Medical School, Member EC of BML, S. Jay Jayasankar, MD, BML President.

Dr. Martin has a doctorate from Simmons College on whose faculty she serves. She currently serves as Director of the Lamar Soutter Library of University of Massachusetts Medical School starting 18 years ago and transforming it into a magnet for students and outreach to clinicians and public health professionals attracting large grants from the NIH, NLM, such as one from 2011 to 2016 for 'To provide information, outreach and resource sharing services to health professionals and consumers in the 6 New England states.' She has been a leader in the library science field serving as, for instance: President of the Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries; and of the Boston Library Consortium. Besides many peer reviewed publications, she has led the library science publication field in key positions such as: Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of E-Science Librarianship since 2011; Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries; Reviewer and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of the Medical Library Association. (Appendix 5)

In expressing her interest in seeking the Countway Directorship, Dr. Martin says, 'this position would offer me several opportunities for new challenges and professional growth and is a logical next step in my career. This position would be a new direction for me at a top-notch academic health sciences institution that would build upon my background and previous experience' and she adds, it provides 'opportunities for creating innovative information services and expanding the library's reach.'

Her philosophy is manifest in her actions at UMMS where in her words, 'librarians have moved out the library into the educational, clinical and research setting.'

Governance and Administration

Grateful to Dr. David Osterbur who has served as Interim Director and will continue to serve till Dr. Martin starts and to Kathereine Flannery and Elizabeth Bueso for helping with BML administrative matters. Once Dr. Martin appoints her executive and administrative staff, they will assume administrative assistance role for the BML as had been customarily done. This will be a great relief to the officers and streamline BML administration. A new accountant, David Pinkham was selected by a search committee to replace the previous accounting form of Vaughn Associates and he is helping reorganize our accounting. Our governance needed updating and as a first step very competent counsels- Julia Cosentino and Melissa Mc Morrow of Nutter, McLennen and Fish were chosen again through diligent search by a committee. With their help the bylaws have been amended and restated and adopted by the Board; and restated Articles of Organization adopted by the Board has been filed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These have been updated to contemporary standards and practices and those of our own institution. Without the guidance and help of BML Honorary Fellow and Honorary Advisor, David Pokross, these would not have been possible.

Massachusetts Medical Society

Our relationships with the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), of which we are official library and archivist, are increasingly collaborative. The MMS bylaws have designated the EVP as the liaison for the BML President. The EVP has designated a team of a staff person and his senior to work with the BML. The MMS has provided in kind assistance one of which was a survey of MMS members in the spring to assess practicing physician library service needs. Corinne Broderick, EVP of MMS till May 2016 and the new EVP, Lois Cornell have worked closely with the BML President. Corinne Broderick accepted our invitation to serve on the Countway Librarian search committee served very effectively. The MMS Officers have met with the BML President and also with the BML Treasurer to learn of and discuss the State of the BML and the BML has shared the proposed 3 phase plan. The BML President is invited to present a report on the BML annually to the MMS BOT, which I did last on September 7, 2016, and to the MMS House of Delegates which I will do next on December 2, 2016.

Historical Collection, Scholarship

Under the leadership of its Director, Dr. Scott Podolsky, the Countway Center for the History of Medicine, we have made modest efforts to advance our Strategic Goal #3 (Appendix 1)


The preservation effort that I had indicated as being explored last year has moved forward. A committee that I appointed led by Dr. Podolsky and including Drs. Dale Magee, Sheldon Peck and Ted Alston and CHOM staff expert Joan Thomas selected based on their importance and need for preservation 9 books and selected an expert, Green Dragon Bindery, for the work. They completed the work satisfactorily (Appendix 2). Many books from our collection are in need of preservation which would require considerable funding. The plan is to continue to do a few select books periodically.

Countway Fellowship (for History Scholarship):
Boston Medical Library's Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML's Abel Lawrence Peirson fund:

The BML funded five 2015 Countway Fellows from its Abel Peirson Fund for research using CHOM material (Appendix 3). A complete list of Fellows of all years is available at: Click here


BML acquisitions last year enhanced the Center's holdings in such diverse areas as phrenology and physiognomy, pharmacy, cholera morbus, botanic medicine, and medical history and biography as well as a number of early Portuguese medical works. A few notable examples are in Appendix 4.


The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), established in spring 2010, is a digital collaborative including the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Columbia, Countway, Johns Hopkins, New York Public Library, the National Library of Medicine and others. Out of the nearly 160,000 digitized items in the MHL around 10,000 are from the Countway and about 90% of these or 9,000 are from the BML collections. 597 State Medical Journal items have been digitized this year under the Digitization Project and most of these are from the BML collection.

The 12th J. Worth Estes, MD History Of Medicine Lecture was presented on April 21, 2016 on "Prescription drug abuse in American History: Lessons from a century of failures and occasional successes" by David Herzberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of History, State University of New York at Buffalo. The erudite and interesting exploration of this timely topic was well attended and followed by engaging audience participation.

The 41st Annual Joseph E. Garland Memorial Lecture titled "Less Medicine, More Health' will be delivered by H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Research on November 3, 2016. The premise of the talk will be that the public has been sold the idea that medical care is one of the most important steps to maintain wellness. But more medicine does not equal more health. In reality, the opposite may be true.


S. Jay Jayasankar, MD
September 22, 2016

Appendix 1 = Strategic Goals
Appendix 2 = Books preserved
Appendix 3 = Countway Fellows
Appendix 4 = Rare Book Acquisitions
Appendix 5 = Director/Librarian's CV


Appendix 1
Boston Medical Library Strategic Plan Priority Objectives
(Adopted by the Board on December 9, 2004
Progress Reviewed and reaffirmed February 16, 2012)

  • Objectives under Goal #1: Dissemination of Knowledge
    • Remote access     
    • Offer training programs for physicians in electronic access and knowledge management
  • Objectives under Goal #2: Promotion of Medical Education
    • Explore ways to increase awareness/access to learning programs for practicing physicians to maintain their lifelong professional development          
  • Objectives under Goal #3: Preservation and Celebration of History of Medicine       
    • Cataloguing and preservation of and newer means of access to BML collection - e.g. digitization
    • Programs with/without exhibits:
      • Didactic/ Interactive
      • Exhibits- on site, off site
    • Publication of articles based on collection, periodically in journals
    • Occasional publication of outstanding books
    • Increase opportunities for promoting scholarship
  • Objectives under Enabling Goals -Infrastructure to support BML Goals and Objectives       
    • BML is true partner in developing plans for the Coutnway
    • Responsiveness and leadership of Countway staff for BML needs, programs and services
    • Staff and organizational structure to implement programs
    • Staff and structure to enable grant/proposal writing and external partnership development

BML Mission
“To be a Library for the dissemination of medical knowledge, the promotion of medical education and scholarship, and the preservation and celebration of medical history, and thereby to advance the quality of health and healthcare of the people.”


Appendix 2

Boston Medical Library books preserved, 2015-2016

Maubray, John, -1732. The female physician, containing all the diseases incident to that sex, in virgins, wives, and widows :together with their causes and symptoms, their degrees of danger, and respective methods of prevention and cure : to which is added, the whole art of new improv'd midwifery, comprehending the necessary qualifications of a midwife, and particular directions for laying women, in all cases of difficult and preternatural births, together with the diet and regimen of both the mother and child. London, 1730. James Read Chadwick's copy

Wainewright, Jeremiah, 1673 - A mechanical account of the non-naturals: being a brief explication of the changes made in humane bodies, by air, diet, etc.Together with an inquiry into the nature and use of baths upon the same principles. To which is prefix'd, the doctrine of animal secretion in several propositions. London, 1737. Only copy in WorldCat; John Jeffries' copy

Caspari, C. (Carl Gottlob), 1798-1828. Homoopathisches Dispensatorium fur Aerzte und Apotheker. Leipzig, 1834. Homeopathic dispensatory for physicians and apothecaries. only copy in US Crisp, Edwards, 1806-1882. On malignant cholera :its origin, pathology, treatment, and mode of prevention, with the occupations of 5,568 males over 20 years of age that died in London in 1849, 1853, 1854, and 1866 ; with an appendix on cattle plague. London, 1866. 2 copies in US; in Internet Archive

Celsus, Aulus Cornelius. De medicina libri octo … Zweibrucken, 1786. ,Bookplate of John Quincy Adams; given to B.P.L. by the Hon. Chas. F. Adams Jr.

Pinney, Joel. The antidote for the causes that abridge the natural term of human existence: and an outline of the organs and functions subservient to life. London, 1847. Only copy in US

Mariani & Company. Vin Mariani, erythroxylon coca: its uses in the treatment of disease. Paris; New York, 1884. Patent medicine whose active ingredient is cocaine. 2 copies in US

Cloquet, H.(Hippolyte),1787-1840. Traite complet de l'anatomie de l'homme comparee dans ses points les plus importans a celle des animaux, et consideree sous le double rapport de l'histologie et de la morphologie. Paris, 1826. 2 copies in US

Humboldt, Alexander von, 1769-1859. Expériences sur le galvanisme. Paris, 1799. John Collins Warren's copy.


Appendix 3

2016-2017 Recipients of the Boston Medical Library's Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML's Abel Lawrence Peirson fund:

Claire Cage (University of South Alabama)
"Questions of Proof: Legal Medicine in France, 1789-1870"

Alexander P. Cameron-Smith (University of Sydney)
"The Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine (FEATM) and the Pacific Science Association (PSA)"

Matthew James Crawford (Kent State University)
"A Survey of Botanical and Chemical Medicaments in Pharmacopoeias, 1600-1900"

Brian Long (Whitman College)
"The Viaticum of Constantine the African"

Brandon Sepulvado (University of Notre Dame)
"Explaining the Formation of Disciplinary Networks: the Case of French Neurology"


Appendix 4

BML Rare Book Acquisitions, 2015-2016

Additions during FY15 enhanced our holdings in such diverse areas as phrenology and physiognomy, pharmacy, cholera morbus, botanic medicine, and medical history and biography. We also acquired a number of early Portuguese medical works.

We continue to add to the library's holdings in early medical literature. During the past year, we acquired a copy of Adrien L'Alemant's Hippocratis medicorum omnium prinicpis De aere, aquis, & locis, liber olim mancus, nunc integer, a 1557 edition of the Airs, waters, and places text, bound with Janus Cornarius' translation of the De flatibus of Hippocrates. This purchase was made through the Boston Medical Library's Andrew Oliver Book Fund. The BML Book Purchase Fund was used to acquire a copy of an anti-masturbation work by Christian Gotthilf Salzmann, Ueber die heimlichen Sunden der Jugend (1785). Acquisitions through the BML Historical Fund include copies of Manuel de Porres' Anatomia Galenico-moderna, a 1716 attempt to reconcile Galenic teaching with current anatomical knowledge, and an early anatomical work by Francesco Sansovino, L'edificio del corpo humano (1550).

The Boston Medical Library's Norman E. Himes Fund allows for the purchase of items related to the history of birth control and human sexuality, and this year we acquired an unusual edition of Mare Ware Dennett's manual The sex side of life, pirated, reprinted, and augmented by a Samuel Fendell as Light on life, or, The sex side of life (circa 1920.)

The BML Historical Fund allowed for the purchase of a rare Italian pamphlet on cholera treatment by Domenico Licci, Metodo curativo del cholera-morbus : eseguito con felice successo in Francia (1833), which contains a page of Licci's manuscript notes. Another cholera report, the Observations sur le cholera-morbus (1832) by L. Dubouchet was acquired through the BML Essex Institute Fund.

The BML Oliver Wendell Holmes Fund was used to add to the library's already extensive collection of literature on phrenology with a copy of O. S. Fowler's Phrenological controversy : answer to Vindex, an 1835 Baltimore imprint which appears to be Fowler's first foray into print. The phrenology holdings were also augmented by a London imprint, Character delineated and phrenology simplified : a new descriptive chart on phrenology and health (1885), by a San Francisco practitioner, J. A. Fritz, purchased with the BML Anonymous Book Fund. A rare 1829 edition from Brussels of J. Morel de Rubempre's Le Lavater des temperamens et des constitutions, a physiognomical work, was acquired through the BML Book Purchase Fund.

As a complement to the Warren Anatomical Museum's Codman and Shurtleff bullet probe devised following the assassination of President James A. Garfield, the library purchased an 1887 descriptive pamphlet, Dr. Girdner's telephonic bullet probe ... : on the detecting and locating of metallic masses in the human body by means of the induction balance and the telephonic probe by New York physician John Harvey Girdner. This was also acquired through the BML Anonymous Book Fund, along with an English imprint by Albert Isaiah Coffin, a Thomsonian practitioner, A botanic guide to health, and the natural pathology of disease (1845).

This year, through the BML Military Medicine Fund, we added a copy of the Biological- or artery flaps of the face (1934) by J. F. S. Esser, a noted Dutch pioneer in reconstructive surgery, who treated wounded World War I soldiers in Austria and Germany.

As in past years, we are always in search of New England imprints to add to the collection, and this year we acquired a copy of the Illustrated catalogue and price list of optical specialties issued by the C. E. Davis & Company of Boston, through the Walter G. Phippen Memorial Fund.