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Books, Journals, New Media
January 7, 2004

Photo History

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(1):111-112. doi:10.1001/jama.291.1.111

Stanley B. Burns, MD, "an ophthalmologist, a lifetime collector, and a historian," has assembled a remarkable collection of medical photographs from the years 1845 through 1945. Burns began collecting medical photographs in 1975, and his collection has grown into the Burns Archive.

The four volumes comprising Respiratory Disease: A Photographic History present 101 medical images. They range from the historic to the grotesque, for instance, images of destructive facial lesions due to tuberculosis, syphilis, and parasites—all problems of this country's past but still encountered in remote, underdeveloped nations. Each of the four volumes represents eras that Burns labels "Pioneer (1845-1870)," "Antiseptic (1871-1995)," "X-ray (1896-1920)," and "Serologic (1921-1945)." The collection ends with the introduction of penicillin for general use in 1945.

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