Pictorial map extolling celebrating American medical science

[Lucille] Corcos, MEDICAL EVENTS IN NORTH AMERICA. [Chicago?]: Abbott Laboratories, 1950.
Halftone printed in color, 19”h x 28 5/8”w plus margins. Very faintly toned, somewhat more so at edges, but still about excellent.

A lively, fascinating and extremely rare pictorial map celebrating medical history in North America, published by a mid-twentieth century pharmaceutical company.

The underlying map shows most of the continental United States and extends from southern Canada to central Mexico. Also shown are Panama and Cuba. The geography, however, is decidedly secondary to the medical history, which covers nearly every square inch, in the form of historical figures, buildings, text, etc. Presiding over the the entire scene, at the top center, is the figure of Sir William Osler, the “greatest physician of our time,” with Montreal’s McGill University nearby, where Osler taught, and the repository of both his library and his ashes.

Numerous medical accomplishments are represented, including Oliver Wendell Holmes’ Paper on Puerperal Fever of 1843, Dr. William Beaumont’s Experiments & Observations on Gastric Juices, Dr. Crawford Long’s first use of ether in 1842, the identification of the mosquito as the carrier of yellow fever by Dr. Walter Reed and associates in Cuba, the establishment of various medical schools and hospitals, and so on.

The map is not without its comic elements. The “Father of American Surgery,” Dr. Philip Syng Physick, is depicted, whose most famous operation was the “removal of several hundred gall stones from the bladder of Chief-Justice John Marshall.” Syng is shown holding a glassful of gallstones with a recumbent Marshall, resting on his elbows, smiling up at him. The bizarre is represented as well, most notably by “The American Crowbar Case.” In 1848 an explosion propelled a 3 1/2 ft. crowbar through the “head of Phinneas T. Gage & up into air.” Gage, we are told, “recovered completely except for loss of vision in one eye.”

Women receive relatively short shrift here. Elizabeth Blackwell “First woman in America to receive degree of Doctor of Medicine” makes an appearance and a nearby note indicates that in 1873 “Drs. Eliz. Blackwell and Marie Zakrzewska, another early woman physician, established first training school for nurses in America.” Also noted is Jane Crawford’s ride of several days to the “home of Dr. Ephraim McDowell (1771-1830) who performed [the] first ovariotomy 1809.”

A colorful, highly graphic and very entertaining map.

Not in OCLC, Rumsey, or Antique Map Price Record.  


Paper gently toned, a couple of light creases, and edges trimmed somewhat unevenly in a couple of places, but withal very good or better