News of the Consortium

December 2017
Anglo-American research on the human genome, represented by Uncle Sam and John Bull knitting DNA. Scraperboard drawing by Bill Sanderson, 1990. Image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.
In this issue:
  • Wellcome Collection Joins the Consortium
  • Fellowship Applications for 2018-2019 are due December 11, 2017
  • Report from the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Technology
  • December and January Calendar of Events
  • Fellows Updates
  • Collections News
 Wellcome Collection Joins Consortium

The Consortium is delighted that the Wellcome Collection has become a member institution. Wellcome becomes the Consortium’s first European member, providing new opportunities for research and an exciting new development in the Consortium’s growth.

Wellcome Collection offers the most extensive specialist resource for the history of Western medicine in Britain. Holdings currently comprise over 800 archive collections of personal papers of significant figures; approximately 21,000 manuscripts in over 50 different languages, and many different scripts, dating from antiquity to the present day; 250,000 prints, drawings, paintings, photographs and works in other media, dating from the 14th century to the present; approximately 70,000 monographs (including over 600 pre-1501 books, and over 5000 16th-century books), more than 900 pamphlets and 700 items of ephemera; and one of the world’s largest film, video and sound collections covering all aspects of medicine and health. The collections range widely across the cultures of Europe, Asia and Africa, and cover topics as diverse as astronomy, astrology, chronology, cookery, herbalism, divination, the interpretation of dreams, mythology, magic, medicine, philosophy and religion.
 Applications for 2018-19 Fellowships Due December 11, 2017

The Consortium invites applications for a variety of fellowships for research in the collections of member institutions.

  • Research Fellowships for travel to collections of member institutions
  • Dissertation Fellowships to conduct research and spend nine months at the Consortium
  • NEH Postdoctoral Fellowships to conduct research and spend up to nine months at the Consortium
  • Fellowships-in-Residence for scholars with support from other sources
The Consortium offers rich opportunities for research. Taken together, its members' collections of rare books, manuscripts and artifacts are unparalleled in historical depth and breadth. The Consortium also provides a vibrant, challenging and collegial community. Fellows participate in public and scholarly events, as well as informal reading and writing groups, held at the Consortium’s offices in Philadelphia.

Look on our website at for further information, including an online application form and a list of current and past fellows. The website also features: information about the fellowship programs of member institutions; descriptions of the exceptional collections in the museums, archives, and libraries of the Consortium; and a Consortium-wide search hub for rare books and manuscripts.

Applications for 2018-2019 must be submitted online by December 11, 2017.
 SHOT 2017 in Philadelphia
Donna Riley and Nathan Ensmenger deliver plenary address
The Consortium helped to host the 2017 meeting of the Society for the History of Technology, which is a Consortium member. A dozen scholars from seven local institutions, not all of them affiliated with the Consortium, joined the Local Organizing Committee. The Committee members were Babak Ashrafi, Ronald Brashear, Mike Geselowitz, Ann Greene, Paul Israel, Lawrence Kessler, Scott Knowles, Erik Rau, Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Amy E. Slaton, Kathy Steen and Heidi Voskuhl. Committee members developed a theme for the meeting, invited plenary speakers and organized one of the presidential roundtables, arranged for tours of area attractions, helped with arrangements for the opening reception and awards banquet, recruited volunteers, raised funds, and provided local support for SHOT conference staff.

The plenary forum, featuring Donna Riley of Purdue and Nathan Ensmenger of Indiana, was held at the Chemical Heritage Foundation which was a few blocks from the hotel.  The same venue hosted the opening reception and the awards banquet. For the plenary and roundtable, the Committee chose the theme “Technology, Democracy, and Participation,” an apt topic for a conference in the city often called the birthplace of American democracy. Amy Slaton, Yanna Lambrinidou, Barbara Hahn, and Jose Torero participated in the roundtable. These scholars, working within and beyond the history of technology, provided diverse perspectives and important insights into the historical and modern interactions between technology and political participation.

In addition to these academic events, the Committee arranged for opportunities to explore sites of Philadelphia’s history of technology. Tour destinations included the Hagley Museum, a 235-acre example of early American industry featuring the gunpowder works founded by E.I. du Pont in 1802; the Fairmount Waterworks, Philadelphia’s primary pumping station for most of the nineteenth century; and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a center for naval technologies during the twentieth century. Other tour destinations included the Ninth Street Italian Market, the Delaware River waterfront, and the archival collections of the American Philosophical Society. The Committee also arranged for discounted admission to many of Philadelphia’s museums and historical attractions. 
 Consortium Calendar of Events

As we approach the lull of the semester break, the Consortium continues to update its calendar of events in the history of science, technology and medicine at member institutions. Fifteen events are currently listed for December and January, and we look forward to another busy spring.  In addition, working group conveners are preparing their programs for spring 2018.  Please check the website for updates.
 Fellows Updates

Sarah Basham, 2016-2017 Dissertation Writing Fellow
Sarah's Consortium research report, Rethinking the Ontology of Chinese Encyclopedias: The Life and Times of Treatise on Military Preparedness (1621) is now available.

Nicole Belolan, 2014-2015 Research Fellow, 2017-2018 Fellow in Residence
Nicole recently  published “‘Confined to Crutches’: James Logan and the Material Culture of Disability in Early America,” Pennsylvania Legacies, Vol. 17, No. 2 (Fall 2017): 6-11.


Rosanna Dent, 2016-2017 Consortium Fellow in Residence
Rosanna's Consortium research report, Studying Indigenous Brazil: The Xavante and the Human Sciences 1958–2015 is now available.

Heidi Hausse, 2014-2015 Dissertation Fellow
Heidi has accepted a position as assistant professor in early modern Europe in the History Department at Auburn University, to begin in August 2018.

Jonathan Jones, 2017-2018 Research Fellow
Jonathan has recently published  “Then and Now: How Civil War-Era Doctors Responded to Their Own Opiate Epidemic,” The Civil War Monitor, November 3, 2017, and was interviewed for a segment on NPR’s Boston affiliate WBUR: “As The Opium Trade Boomed In The 1800s, Boston Doctors Raised Addiction Concerns,” by Martha Bebinger, CommonHealth, August 1, 2017.

Oscar Moisés Torres Montúfar,  2016-2017 Research Fellow
Oscar's Consortium research report, Tracing Links between American Chemical Companies and the Mexican Sulfur Industry is now available.

Joanna Radin, 2010-2011 Dissertation Fellow
Joanna received the 2017 John C. Burnham Early Career Award from the Forum for History of Human Science at the History of Science Society Annual Meeting for her article, “Rescaling Colonial Life From the Indigenous to the Alien: The Late 20th Century Search for Human Biological Futures.”

Daniel Vandersommers, 2017-2018 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow
Daniel recently published “Narrating Animal History from the Crags: A Turn-of-the-Century Tale about Mountain Sheep, Resistance, and a Nation,” Journal of American Studies, Vol. 51, No. 3 (August 2017): 751-777. 
 Newly Acquired or Processed Collections

American Philosophical Society announces that the Britton Chance papers (Mss.Ms.Coll.160), encompassing fifteen series, are now open to researchers. The finding aid explains that Britton Chance (1913-2010) was a biochemist and biophysicist and he also worked in biomedical optics. The Chance Papers contain correspondence, research notes, experimental data, publication materials, and photographs that document Chance’s life as a biochemist, biophysicist, and yachtsman. The APS has more on the collection here

The Smithsonian Institution's Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology has received a significant book collection donated by J. Bruce Beckwith, MD, notable pediatrician, bibliographer, and book collector. The donation encompasses ca. 800 titles, most of them rare, in the field of teratology.