Secondary Sources

September 30th, 2007

See Prof. McClurken’s post on the requirements here.Keys, Thomas E. The History of Surgical Anesthesia. New York: Schuman’s, 1945.

1. The author of this text appears to be a scholar through and through, with express ties to the history of medicine. He was an assistant to the Librarian of the Army Medical Library during the second world war. He was friend to many scholars in the field of anesthesia and medicine in general.

2. Thomas Keys wrote this book because of his interest in anesthesia and that he had compiled a large file of notes on the subject in helping a friend write a chronology of the subject for another text. Following this he wrote a series of papers for an academic journal and subsequently wrote many others. Then on the encouragement of other scholars in the field and the Keys’s friends he wrote a “contribution of a more permanent character.”

3. Keys uses a vast array of sources, many of them papers written by Morton and other proponents ether directly after its first public demonstration in 1846. Even while the whole book focuses on the entire history of anesthesia and anesthesiology the section on the first discovery of ether and the sources he draws from are immensely helpful. The thesis of the particular chapter is an argument as to how Morton should be heralded as the first user of ether as an anesthetic because he made his use available to the public in the form of other doctors.

4. The book was written following the second world war after the author wrote many other articles an papers on the chronology.

5. I will use this book to give a sense of time to the paper and how long doctors and medical men had been struggling for a way to dull the pain. There are so many different ways that people attempted to numb the pain, some of these worked it seems but others must have failed miserably.

6. The source refers to a vast number of documents which are also in the bibliography, but for the most part it is in paraphrase and they are documents that I cannot get because the journals they are published in no longer exist, or I haven’t worked around the kinks in the Library of Congress catalogs.

Post-it notes are my friends

September 25th, 2007

When taking notes for research papers I use a method that is somewhat similar to the one mentioned in Turabian, although my notes are not as neatly sorted as that. When I take notes, I stick post-its all over the book, if I can. On each of them I take down what I found interesting on the page and how it relates to my topic. In high school I was always a horrible English student because I didn’t write myself notes in the margins about the themes and such. The history major in me cringed at “destroying” the text, but as soon as I started using post-its my grades got better.

If I can’t stick post it notes in the book,or a website, I take notes in a composition notebook with the top of each page marked with the book it came from and memos on the pages that the notes came off of. Its not a great system, it gets really messy, but it works. I also bookmark websites so that I can come back to them at a later date.

Computer Tricks

September 21st, 2007

Some of these are probably going to seem really familiar to some people, but I really like using some of them a lot.

Ctrl + s will save the document/page in almost any Microsoft application as well as Mozilla.

I love Alt + tab because I always have an insane number of windows open on my computer and this one allows me to flip through them with ease.

StickyKeys is also nice sometimes though I don’t use it very often. You press shift five times in succession and the computer pops up an alert window and asks you if you want to engage it. On to what it actually does… This allows you to put in keyboard commands like ctrl + s or alt + tab and not have to hold the first key down to engage the second.

If you have a window open in your internet browser and you want to open a new window hit ctrl + n, or if you are using tabs in the browser, crtl + t will open a new tab and ctrl + w will closing.  Ctrl + shift + w will close the browser altogether.

These are a bunch of the keyboard tricks that I use on a regular basis.   Hope they help.

Speaking of Websites

September 18th, 2007

I found this really awesome website called DoHistory.  The site itself is about Martha Ballard, one of the most well remembered American midwifes of the 18th century.  There is a lot about the search for information on her, but in one of the links there are some really good suggestions for dealing with primary sources of the period, especially reading sources.  There is also a list of other how to sites that look very interesting.

Click here to access the page.


September 18th, 2007

One of the websites that I first looked at is this one. It is a good website for becoming familiar with the basics of my topic, however it is written for nurses and other more medically inclined persons who have little interest in historiography. Therefore, there is no bibliography, nothing to mention where they found their sources.

Utopian Surgery? is another website that I used, but this one I would consider good.  While they don’t use Chicago style citations, they do tell you where the information is from in a uniform manner.  I also consider this one useful because it is showing the arguements against general anesthesia in the nineteenth century.  It provides concise descriptions of what people thought of using anesthesia in childbirth, dentistry and surgery.