Highlights from the History of Medicine: Black History Month

February 8, 2019

This February, as we celebrate Black History Month, we would like to observe the history of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and remember our own Dr. Edwin A. Robinson.

Dr. Edwin A. Robinson

Image shared by the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section at the Institute for Innovate Education’s Edward G. Miner Library.

Originally from Lakes Charles, Louisiana, Dr. Robinson graduated from Cornell University in 1939, prior to arriving at the University of Rochester.  Dr. Robinson graduated from the School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1943, and completed his coursework in just three-and-a-half years as part of the accelerated program.  The accelerated program was designed to help get more medics into the field during World War II.  Dr. Robinson served in the army during the war.

Dr. Robinson completed internships at Strong Memorial Hospital, Beth Israel and Harlem Hospitals in New York, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  After the war, he returned to Rochester where he opened a local practice in 1950 and later served two terms as president of Highland Hospital’s medical staff from 1967 through 1968.  He served on the boards of directors of the Salvation Army and Otetiana Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Dr. Robinson actively recruited black students to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.  In addition to his work with the University of Rochester, Dr. Robinson spent over three decades helping raise millions of dollars for the Tuskegee Institute at the behest of Booker T. Washington.

We honor Dr. Robinson for his duty to this country during World War II and for his invaluable contributions to our local communities through his work as a physician and his numerous activities in community service.

February 2019 Classes by Miner Library

February 6, 2019

Classes at Miner Library

Here are the classes offered by Miner Library for the upcoming month:

Blackboard Discussion Boards
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Blackboard: Using Voicethread in your Course
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

For a full list of Miner Library’s classes, visit our Classes page.

Have a question? Contact Miner Library’s Answer Desk @ 585-275-3361.

Getting the Most from EndNote – Annotating PDFs

January 2, 2019

In a previous post we covered how to import full text PDFs into your EndNote library.  Having the PDFs attached to your library makes it easier to quickly locate and read the text.

Did you know that you can make annotations on these PDFs?  This simple-to-use feature is another way you can use EndNote to make it easier to organize and use your research.

• Select the PDF from the tabs along the right-hand side of the page and click on the Open PDF button.

EndNote screen snap

• From the PDF viewing screen, you can select some basic annotation tools (highlight, underline, sticky note, and strike out).

• Using the sticky note option adds a small icon to the text. You can click on this to open a small window where you can write and view notes.

• You can also use the Find… field to locate and highlight a specific word or phrase within the PDF; use the Find Previous and Find Next to scroll the multiple instances of the desired word or phrase.

EndNote screen snap 2

• You can save your annotations by clicking on the Save icon on the left-hand side of the toolbar directly above the PDF.

• You can also print out the PDF and any added annotations by clicking on the Print icon.

EndNote screen snap 3

EndNote is a citation management tool that can help you organize your research and save valuable time creating your in-text citations and bibliographies.

To learn more about EndNote sign up for one of our classes or schedule a meeting with Daniel Castillo.

Going to medical school in the 19th century, you couldn’t get into class without one of these

October 4, 2018

May I have your ticket please?

A student enrolled in any medical school during the 19th century was required to obtain from the registrar a card for each class (or series of lectures) in which he or she desired to enroll. These cards (essentially tickets) validated attendance at lectures, dissections, and rounds in hospital wards.

Within the nation’s medical schools many apprentices and practicing physicians attended lectures alongside medical students without matriculating. The system of lecture tickets made this possible. With roughly 10 to 15 dollars in hand, anybody could purchase admission to a course of lectures directly from the professor, who profited directly from the fees.

Our Rare Books & Manuscripts Section houses a collection of over 200 class cards issued by various American medical schools between 1814 and 1897. 

Medical school class cards are of great interest to the historian. They provide a record of what classes were being taught at a given school in the year issued and who was teaching each class. If a set of cards is complete, it lays out the student’s course of study and how long it took him or her to complete. 


At your finger tips, but not contagious…yellow fever

September 7, 2018

Now you can flip through the pages of our Yellow Fever Collection from anywhere, via the New York Heritage digital collections site.

Yup! Right from where you’re sitting.

And we’re pretty excited. And proud.

It’s taken a bunch of us over two years to make this happen. And we couldn’t have done it without a generous gift from Ranlet and Beth Miner, and technical guidance from Rochester Regional Library Council.

Yellow fever was one of the two most virulent epidemic diseases in 18th and 19th century United States, the other being cholera. And our Yellow Fever Collection is one of the largest and finest anywhere in the world. It contains more than 400 works, published between 1741 and 1914, representing the development of medical thought on yellow fever over the course of a century and a half.

Yellow fever broke out in Boston in 1693; Philadelphia in 1793; Norfolk, Virginia, in 1855; and the Mississippi River Valley in 1878. The yellow fever epidemic impacted nearly all aspects of life in affected cities as residents fled, economies suffered, and thousands died.

Oil painting by Juan Manual Blanes

Painting by Juan Manuel Blanes, 1871 (Wellcome Collection)

Imagine the horror.

You step outside one morning and 1 out of 10 of your neighbors lies dead or dying.

Your world is upside down.

No one can agree on what’s causing the deaths or how to prevent them.

How will you survive in a city turned frantic with disease?

This was scene during the summer of 1793 in Philadelphia, when it was struck with the worst outbreak of yellow fever ever recorded in North America.

At the time, Philadelphia was the nation’s capital and its busiest port. Between August 1 and November 9, 1793, approximately 11,000 people contracted yellow fever. Five thousand people (10% of the city’s population) died. The epidemic created panic in the capital, causing 17,000 people, including President Washington and other members of the federal government, to flee to the countryside.

The disease gets its name from the jaundiced eyes and skin of the victims. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and “black vomit” caused by bleeding into the stomach. At the time, it was thought that yellow fever was caused by rotting vegetable matter.

The collection is a fascinating study on the confusion of 18th century physicians when confronted with a new and deadly malady; the static debates between contagionists and non-contagionists during the 19th century; early attempts to identify a bacterial agent; and the consequences of Walter Reed’s discovery of a mosquito vector.

It also provides a view into the panicked efforts of local, state, and national government to respond to yellow fever’s introduction and to check its spread; and to religious leaders’ fervent warnings of pestilence as punishment for public sins.

Rather than keep this outstanding and increasingly fragile collection locked up, why not share it with you and the rest of the world?

And that’s what we did.


P.S. There is no record of yellow fever ever having occurred in Rochester or in the Genesee River Valley.

This article was submitted by Susan Andersen.


Want to improve your clinical skills? Have you tried reading comics?

September 4, 2018
(Reading time: Less than 3 minutes)


Then you should stop by and take a look at our new graphic medicine collection, made possible by a generous gift from Friends of University of Rochester Libraries.

Some people say “graphic novels” or “graphic medicine” and others say “comics.”

But what’s the difference?

Not much.

Basically, it’s the subject matter.

Graphic medicine is defined as, “the use of comics to tell personal stories of illness and health.”

The main characters in these comic books aren’t Superman, Catwoman, or Captain America. They’re not fighting bank robbers and bashing bad guys.

The heroes of these stories are ordinary people. They use imagery, insight, and humor, even while taking on painful, difficult issues like sexual abuse, cancer, and mental health. Their comics help patients and caregivers alike get in touch with the emotional side of illness, treatment, and recovery.

In their 2010 analysis, “Graphic medicine: use of comics in medical education and patient care,” Michael Green and Kimberly Myers argue that comics also are a valuable tool for medicine.

British Medical Journal, copyright 2010

“To read a comic effectively, you must understand not only what is overtly seen and said but also what is implied. This is because much of the action takes place outside the boundaries of comic panels in the blank space known as the gutter. Thus, readers of comics, like doctors in the exam room, must determine meaning by inferring what happens out of sight and without words.”

From a patient perspective the use of graphic stories is nothing new. Graphic images have been used in public health education for decades covering a range of topics from seat belt use to vaccination awareness to pain scales. These graphic campaigns have been so successful because the images bridge the divide where there are verbal communication challenges.

With your UR ID you can borrow items from our graphic medicine collection for three weeks.

Want to browse through the titles in our graphic medicine collection from your own comfy chair? Just throw “graphic medicine” in to the basic “Title Keyword(s)” search box in Voyager (our online catalog).

Voyager catalog



We think this collection is marvelous, and we look forward to expanding it in the future. What do you think?

Let us know.

Submitted by Susan Andersen

November 2018 Classes by Miner Library

September 1, 2018

Classes at Miner Library

Here are the classes offered by Miner Library for the upcoming month:

RefWorks Basics
Date: Monday, November 12, 2018
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
EndNote Basics
Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2018
Time: 9:00am – 10:00am
Podcast Basics
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm

For a full list of Miner Library’s classes, visit our Classes page.

Have a question? Contact Miner Library’s Answer Desk @ 585-275-3361.