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Showing posts from 2022

Major Dr Thomas J Crean- LRCSI & FRCSI

One of the nicest aspects of working in Heritage Collections is the people that we meet along the way. Be it in person in our reading room in Mercers building, reading about them in an 18th century letter or coming across them in a snapshot of time in a sepia coloured photograph. We are always meeting people!  Last month we were fortunate enough to meet the Moorhead family- Cari, Susan and Peter, who had got in touch with us earlier on this year with the view of donating a very unique and interesting piece of surgical equipment. The piece was a set of surgical tools encased in a solid wooden box with the engraving: Thomas J Crean Surgeon Imperial Light Horse 1899 The name on the engraving is quite a familiar one here in RCSI. Born in Dublin in 1873 Thomas Crean studied in Clongowes College and completed his medical studies in RCSI gaining his Licentiateship in 1896 and his Fellowship in 1902. He then went on to have a successful and active career in the British Army as a soldier and do

Bringing back the dead: resuscitation in the eighteenth and nineteenth century

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’, one of four seasonal turning points in the Celtic calendar. Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the transition from ‘light’ half of the year, associated with life, to the dark half of the year, associated with the dead.  Samhain, with its influence on modern-day Halloween, symbolises a weakening of the lines between this world and the next, and between the realms of the dead and the living.  But what exactly does it mean to be dead, and when does ‘death’ actually occur? These were just some of the questions that physicians in the late 1700s grappled with in their quest to ‘reverse’ death through the application of resuscitation techniques. Royal Humane Society pamphlet promoting resuscitation in the case of apparent drowning victims, c1860 Definitions of death and ‘The vital force’ While the scientific and legal definition of death continues to cause debate to this day, the blurring of boundaries betwee

Taking a close look at MICROSCOPIC ACTIVITY throughout the centuries

M icroscopes have always been a crucial tool used for the advancement of health and medicine. They allow medics, scientists and researchers to describe the body at a microscopic level more consistently and with confidence in what they see through them.  Today microscopes are used in the observation of bacteria and microbes as well as in the development of new chemicals and medicines used to combat disease.  RCSI Heritage Collections holds a large collection of microscopes dating back to the early 19 th century. Here, we take a ‘closer’ look at the history of the microscope, how they came about, as well as their introduction to Irish medical science (there’s an RCSI link!) History It was a Dutch father-son team named  Hans and Zacharias Janssen who  invented the first so-called compound microscope in the late 16th century when they discovered that, if they put a lens at the top and bottom of a tube and looked through it, objects on the other end became magnified. However, as ing

RCSI launches newly digitised population health archives for National Heritage Week 2022

Heritage Week 2022 marks the official launch of RCSI’s new online Digital Heritage Collections website showcasing RCSI’s extensive heritage collections, including newly digitised materials from population health pioneer and campaigner Sir Charles A. Cameron. For the first time, users can discover the extraordinary individuals and events in RCSI history that have shaped the development of healthcare and society at local, national and international level through a series of curated online exhibitions and never-before-seen digitised material from RCSI Heritage Collections. Explore the site here . The people’s champion Funded by the Heritage Council Stewardship Fund, RCSI has digitised and made available a range of never-before-seen material from the papers of population health pioneer, Sir Charles Alexander Cameron.  Spanning several thousand pages across almost half a century, these papers shine a light on the life and work of one of Victorian Dublin's most influential citizens. Disc

RCSI Heritage Collections awarded Heritage Council funding to digitise and make accessible historical archives relating to public health in Ireland

As we approach the anniversary of Sir Charles Cameron's birth on 16 July 1830, RCSI Heritage Collections is pleased to announce an award of Heritage Council funding to digitise and make publicly available for the first time selected material from Cameron's private papers. Portrait of Sir Charles Cameron Sir Charles Cameron (1830-1921) was at various points in his lifetime a Fellow, Professor, President and historian of RCSI, but is best remembered today for his contribution to improving standards of public health in Ireland in his capacity as Medical Superintendent Officer of Health for Dublin Corporation from 1879 to 1921. Cameron’s research, publications, and campaigning during this period led to dramatic improvements in living conditions, life expectancy, and general population health in Dublin at a time when disease was rife in the city. The Heritage Council’s Heritage Stewardship Fund was instituted in 2022 to support staff in local authorities, state agencies, and third l

RCSI around the world: Celebrating Dr Abimbola Awoliyi - first West African woman to receive a Licentiate from RCSI

RCSI is committed to embedding equality, diversity and inclusion across everything we do. Today, more than seventy countries are represented across RCSI's student population, continuing a proud tradition of welcoming students from around the world that can be traced back to the early years of the College through the RCSI Roll of Licentiates. Once a graduate had completed their studies, passed exams, and received their licence, they were invited to enter their names in the RCSI Roll of Licentiates. From 1828, the Roll contains the full names as well as normal place of residence of all RCSI Licentiates. The vast majority of those early licentiates hailed from across Ireland, alongside a very small number of students from England, Scotland, and Wales. The first international licenciate to appear in the Roll was a William Boxwell Thompson from Madras (Chennai), India, on 6 August 1830. Over the following decades, students began to flock to RCSI from around the world. Check out the map

Commemorative plaque unveiled in honour of Dr Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen

This week saw the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honour of Dr Kathleen Lynn and her partner Madeleine ffrench-Mullen for their services to paediatric care in Ireland.  In addition to their contribution to Irish healthcare and society, both women have extensive links to RCSI. Lynn was a student in RCSI during the 1890s, and was awarded the prestigious Barker Prize in Anatomy in 1898. She later became a fellow of RCSI in 1913. ffrench-Mullen was a member of the Irish Citizen Army Stephen's Green garrison stationed in RCSI during the 1916 Rising. Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench-Mullen were heavily involved in the Irish nationalist movement and both played key roles in the events of Easter Week 1916. As a trained doctor, Lynn was Chief Medical Officer of the Irish Citizen Army during 1916 and taught first-aid to Cumann na mBan members. ffrench-Mullen was a lieutenant in the Irish Citizen Army and was in charge of the first-aid station at the RCSI garrison.  Interior of Col

Ulysses and James Joyce in the Heritage of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

In honour of Bloomsday this year, RCSI Heritage Collections looks at some of the intersections that can be mapped between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, James Joyce and the history of medicine in Dublin Ulysses by James Joyce So, will you find RCSI in Ulysses? Yes you will yes... Seek a Joycean connection in Dublin and you shall likely find one.  RCSI’s historic location with a campus spanning from 123 St. Stephen's Green, places it in the right setting. But the College's existence in the realm of Ulysses features more through its people than its locale. Mercer's operating theatre (1908) - 'The Quality of Mercer's', J.B. Lyons In 1904, the year Ulysses takes place, the Mercer building on Mercer St. & Stephen St. Lwr. was operating as a hospital. Today, Mercer’s is part of the RCSI’s Dublin city campus and is home to RCSI Heritage Collections and to Mercer's Medical Centre . In May 1904, Mercer’s Hospital held an extravagant fundraising event

Blood transfusions- then, now and the RCSI connection

There has always been a need in healthcare for blood replacements. According to medical folklore it is thought that the Incas were the first civilization to use blood transfusions as a healing procedure. The methods used are unclear but they were somewhat successful (official numbers unknown) due to the fact that a large part of the indigenous people in the Andean region would have the same type blood making the risk of fatality far less.

Ship’s Surgeon on the Titanic: RCSI Graduate WFN O'Loughlin

On the 15th of April, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank after striking an iceberg and over 1,500 lives were lost. The ship slipped from view under the Atlantic Ocean with only 705 having escaped. Of the victims, some felt their duty was to remain and go down with the vessel. One such man on duty was Dr William Francis Norman O'Loughlin, Senior Surgeon White Star Line and RCSI graduate. Dr. W.F.N. O'Loughlin. Senior Surgeon White Star Line, Died April 15, 1912, On Duty. William Francis Norman O’Loughlin was born on 22 October 1849 in Tralee, Co. Kerry. He embarked on his education journey in the 1860s, reportedly to Trinity College and the Catholic University of Ireland, the precursor of UCD on St. Stephen’s Green. He took medical training in Cecelia St. and went on to take his exams with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, signing the Roll of Licentiates in August, 1870. Signature in the RCSI Roll of Licentiates, 1870 A year later, in 1871, he became a Licentiate of the Royal Co