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Showing posts from 2023

A micro exploration of Dublin’s Microscopical Golden Age

Look closely and you will see that Heritage Collections has installed a display of microscopes in the '1784' restaurant! At various times in the mid 19th century, Dublin was home to two trailblazing microscopical groups: the Microscopical Society of Dublin and the Dublin Microscopical Club. The former was founded in 1840 and lasted for only 15 years, and was attended by John Barker (1818-1879), Curator of the Museum in RCSI. The latter, however, ran for around 70 years until c.1926.   The microscope became an important tool for studying nature, using preparations of animals, plants, blood and tissue. Both a leisure activity for the middle class and an emerging field in the leading institutions, club membership began to see an increase of professionals and the microscopical activity on the Dublin scene in this era was distinguished. Several societies in Dublin were involved in natural history, including the Royal Zoological Society, Dublin Naturalists' Field Club, and the Ro

RCSI publishes historical Annual Reports of Council spanning more than a century of healthcare education

To mark World Digital Preservation Day 2023, RCSI Library Heritage Collections has published its collection of digitised Annual Reports of RCSI Council spanning the years 1844-1961. Comprising 118 individual reports and almost 3000 pages in total, this is the latest release of digitised material from the RCSI College Archive. Each report is fully word searchable, and the collection can be accessed at the RCSI Digital Heritage Collections site here .   A History of Healthcare Education The Annual Reports of RCSI Council are a rich resource for the study of the development of healthcare education in Ireland and Britain and the regulation of the surgical and medical professions. They reflect broader areas of concern regarding healthcare education and practice in these isles and document RCSI’s interaction with other educational institutions and regulatory bodies on matters of professional importance.  The Annual Reports also show the development of RCSI as an educational institution durin

Black History Month: Celebrating Thomas Adesanya Ige Grillo (1927-1998) and Dorothea Lillian Baxter-Grillo (1931-2020)

For #blackhistorymonth, we're shining a spotlight on the legacy of two pioneers in global healthcare education - husband and wife couple, Thomas Adesanya Ige Grillo (1927-1998) and Dorothea Lillian Baxter-Grillo (1931-2020).  Both studied at RCSI and graduated together in the Class of 1955, both became renowned anatomists, and both went on to play a transformative role in the development of healthcare education in Nigeria and other developing countries from the 1960s. Together, they taught three generations of healthcare professionals and between them trained most anatomy teachers active in Nigeria today.  ' To this day, Professor Baxter-Grillo and Professor Adesanya Ige Grillo are legendary names in the field of anatomy in Nigeria. Indeed, I believe any medical doctor who read medicine in Nigeria, and says he/she hasn't heard the name "Grillo" ought to be investigated.' Friday Okonofua, Vice Chancellor of Ondo State University of Medical Sciences and Professo

'Colles at 250' - Heritage Highlights

Since the  Heritage Council funding  announcement in April,  'Colles at 250' has meant a flurry of activity and events in RCSI.  If you haven't yet heard about 'Colles at 250', enjoy this short video and find out a little more... The Recap... A unique collaboration between RCSI Library and the Men's Shed Association resulted in two beautiful display cases for Heritage Collections pop-up exhibitions, as well as this wonderful short video on the project. Pop-up exhibition on Abraham Colles   Men's Shed team The 'Colles at 250' series of Heritage Week events in August paid tribute to the anatomist and surgeon Abraham Colles, a pivotal figure in the history of  medicine and of RCSI. The series included discussions, tours and innovative online resources remembering a surgeon whose influence on the field of anatomy is still seen worldwide. Free tours as part of the Heritage Week programme To launch the programme and  virtual exhibition , RCSI held a fas

From the Grand Canal to the Dodder

This year the 250th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Colles (1773 – 1843) has been uppermost in our minds in RCSI Heritage Collections. In 2021, Sir Charles Cameron (1830 – 1921) was our focus, as we marked the centenary of his death. Both figures were, of course, Presidents of RCSI. But they were also, it turns out, neighbours. Well, neighbours in space, if not exactly in time. At different points in their lives, they were both residents of that leafy section of the city later known as Dublin 4. Colles lived for a time in Donnybrook Cottage on the Stillorgan Road, while Cameron set up home at 27 Raglan Road in Ballsbridge. This connection was brought to our attention by a recent book, From the Grand Canal to the Dodder: Illustrious Lives (The History Press, 2020). The RCSI connections continue, however: the author of this fascinating volume is Dr Beatrice M. Doran, who was RCSI’s Chief Librarian from 1986 to 2007. From the Grand Canal to the Dodder is Dr Doran’s third book on th

Kathleen Trousdell Shaw: A Woman Among Men

We love disovering new things about the heritage and art collections in RCSI. Just a few months ago, we learned that the bust of Dr John Denham (PRCSI 1873) in our portrait sculpture collection was created by Anglo-Irish sculptor Kathleen Trousdell Shaw (1865-1958).  Shaw's bust of Denham is remarkable not just for its exquisite detail but for the fact that it is the only bust in the historical art collections known to have been created by a woman. But why didn't we know this beforehand? When we talk about our painted and sculptural portrait collections, our focus has tended to be on the sitter. Who was this person? What was their contribution to RCSI or to surgery and medicine more generally? What does their portrait say about them? As we continue to interrogate our collections, however, this focus is shifting to include the story of the artists that created these pieces. Kathleen Trousdell Shaw's artist inscription on the Denham bust is simply 'K.T. Shaw, 1889'. T

Charms, cures, surgical skills and the supremacy of the Arderne manuscript

RCSI Heritage Collections houses a medieval medical manuscript of unique research interest. Ten years ago, our then special collections librarian wrote a  blog post on the ‘Lentaigne Manuscript’  (RCSI/MS/97), telling of the history of the 1851 donation to RCSI Library and its Lentaigne namesake, and referencing previous research published in 1943, by the late RCSI Professor J.D.H. Widdess ( PRACTICA MAGISTRI JOHANNIS ARDERNE. (An Account of an early 15th Century Manuscript in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland .) Recently, a new piece of research on RCSI/MS/97 has been published by Peter Murray Jones , Fellow, King's College, Cambridge, giving us more to know and love about RCSI’s own ‘Arderne Manuscript’. RCSI/MS/97 - marginalia and illustrations appear throughout the manuscript Master surgeon John Arderne (1307–c.1380) had served King Edward III as an army surgeon at the battle of Crécy in 1346. In 1376, Arderne wrote PRACTICA MAGISTRI JOHANNIS ARDERNE, whic

One Dublin, One Book: 'The Coroner's Daughter' meets RCSI Heritage

  This year’s One Dublin, One Book, The Coroner’s Daughter , is historical fiction and a crime novel, set in the Dublin of 1816. Moreover, it is medical historical fiction, and imagined around an RCSI anatomist. So, with this book in our minds, let’s take a glimpse at the archives with RCSI Heritage Collections. In the year 1816, RCSI had been operating under its First Charter, which was granted to the College by George III in 1784. The surgeons had formally broken the historical ties with the Guild of Barber-Surgeons- a goal the College founders had set out to achieve when they met and formed the Dublin Society of Surgeons in 1783.   RCSI was established to set and support professional standards for surgical training and practice. RCSI Royal Charter, 1784 Rules of the Dublin Society of Surgeons, 1783   The backdrop of ‘the College of Surgeons’ in 1816 would have been the first iteration of the building erected on a disused Quaker burial ground, on St. Stephen’s Green and the cor

RCSI Heritage Collections awarded funding to celebrate the legacy of pioneering Irish surgeon Abraham Colles

RCSI Heritage Collections has been awarded funding from the Heritage Council to celebrate the life and legacy of pioneering Irish surgeon Abraham Colles on the 250th anniversary of his birth in 2023. Abraham Colles (1773-1843) was a surgeon, physician, and anatomist, and a leading figure in the golden age of Irish medicine in the 19th century. He also had a strong connection with RCSI being a past pupil, professor and President of the College. Colles revolutionised the teaching of anatomy in medical schools around the world with the publication of his ground-breaking Treatise on Surgical Anatomy in 1811. This work prompted a radical departure from established approaches to the study of human anatomy and proposed a new model of teaching that lent itself much more readily to the realities of clinical practice for surgeons and physicians in the nineteenth century. This innovative approach to the teaching of anatomy paved the way for new discoveries and fresh observations regarding the in