Q&A with David A. Johnson – Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan
Medicine , Q&A / July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019 – We welcome David Alan Johnson to our blog, here to answer some written questions about Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan. The book chronicles the bizarre history of the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (EMC). Founded in 1850 professing lofty goals, it collapsed into spectacular disgrace 30 years later — a scandal of Ponzi proportions, in an era (the 19th Century) when American medical personnel often had little training and even less regulation. David A. Johnson serves as senior vice president at the Federation of State Medical Boards. His published works on various aspects of medical regulation and its history have appeared in Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Social History of Medicine and the Journal of Medical Regulation. He is the lead author of Medical Licensing and Discipline in America: A History of the Federation of State Medical Boards. You can find our guest online at ArmchairHistorian.blog and @DaveArlingtonTx Twitter. THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: In the ten years before the mid-1870s, America suffers through the Civil War, the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, and a deep economic panic. How does the profession of medicine evolve from 1850 when the Eclectic Medical…

Stephen Coss – The Fever of 1721
Medicine / March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016 – Today, we’re climbing into the Wayback Machine and setting the dial for the early 1700’s, when temperatures ran high in politics, the press, and from a smallpox epidemic burning through Boston. Leading us on this journey is Stephen Coss: author, ad guy, and “close personal friend of Ben Franklin.” Everything, Stephen says, that Franklin really needed to know, he learned in 1721 (and he’s only half joking). Stephen’s debut book is The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic that Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics. In it, we meet historical figures including the young Franklin laboring at his brother’s newspaper, and the Reverend Cotton Mather, seeking redemption from the debacle Salem Witch Trials by pioneering the technique of inoculation against the dreaded pox. An unlikely advocate for something as revolutionary as vaccination, Mather convinces only a single doctor — Zabdiel Boylston — to try what we’d call a clinical trial on the controversial technique, one frowned upon in part because it had been practiced in Africa. You can follow Stephen @Coss1Coss on Twitter, or visit him at StephenCoss.com. In this episode, we also mentioned David Pietrusza’s new book, 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR – Two Tales of…

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz – Dr. Mütter’s Marvels
Medicine / October 29, 2015

October 29, 2015 – In this special, Halloween episode, we’re traveling back to the days before the American Civil War, when doctors would take their scalpels to fully awake patients — the pre-microbial era when the causes of common diseases remained a mystery, and when oil lamps and flammable clothing combined to engulf a staggering number of people in flames. This, was the age of monsters. Yes, monsters. Not costumed Groovie Goolies, but human beings so scarred and broken, that they often longed for death. And so they were called… monsters. Enter the brilliant surgeon who gave these monsters hope, and made it his life’s work to piece their lives back together. His name, was Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter. Poet and author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowitcz tells the story of his amazing medical breakthroughs in Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. Cristin is an award-winning writer and the author of seven books. You can visit her website, Aptowicz.com and follow her on Twitter @COAptowicz. We’re also giving away two tickets to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia on our Facebook page, courtesy of the author. To enter, just listen to the show, visit…