Monday, December 07, 2009

Author James Edmonson, Chief Curator of the Dittrick Medical Center and Museum at Case Western Reserve University, explains why, in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century, medical students took pictures of themselves with the cadavers they dissected. His book Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine includes 138 rare, historic photographs that reveal a strange piece of American medical history.

Event: James Edmonson will be giving a talk
Monday, December 7, at 6:30 pm
Mid-Manhattan Library
455 5th Avenue, at 40th Street, 6th floor
For more information, call 212-340-0837


James Edmonson,

Comments [3]

Amy from Manhattan

I was very surprised when I looked up the word "burke," defined as "suppress" on FreeRice (the online vocabulary game that donates rice through a UN program), & found it was derived from the name Burke, as in Burke and Hare ("from burke to suffocate, from William Burke †1829 Irish criminal executed for smothering victims to sell their bodies for dissection," according to Merriam-Webster!

Dec. 07 2009 12:59 PM
CJ from NY

Isn't this a little creepy? It kind of reminds me of soldiers posing with prisoners of war. It seems exploitive.

Dec. 07 2009 12:48 PM
Harvey Wolchan from Yorktown Heights

The photos in the slide show appear to poke some fun at the deceased.
It seems to me that students now-a-days and a hundred years ago would have been required to show a bit more reverence for the dead. After all, were these cadavers made available to the medical school as part of the deceased’s last wishes or where they acquired in some other way? If the public was made aware of these photos, people may think twice before donating their remains to science.

Dec. 07 2009 12:30 PM

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