Heister’s wedge

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

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Heister’s mouth-wedge was a popular tool used in dentistry in the late 19th and early 20th-century.  The purpose of the tool was to keep the mouth wedged open in case a mouth-prop slipped, though one had to be careful not to break the teeth.  As you can see the author was a big fan of the Ferguson gag because of its “good long handles” to provide plenty of leverage when opening the mouth.  These illustrations come from Anaesthesia in dental surgery published in London in 1903.

According to the author, Thomas D. Luke, this was the first work of its kind that displayed the various types of anesthesia combinations used in operative dentistry.  Luke gives brief descriptions of anesthesia usage, methods of application, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of equipment.

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These two illustrations depict the administration of ethyl chloride.  Apparently ethyl chloride in dentistry was quite new at this point in time and was a pretty good option, at least as good as nitrous oxide according to the author.  The volume was almost complete when ethyl chloride really came onto the dentistry scene and Luke considered it to be such an excellent and valuable option that he revised the text to include it.  It is still used today as a local anesthetic and a potent inhalation anesthetic.  


Anaesthesia in dental surgery by Thomas D. Luke London : Rebman, Limited, 1903. RK510 .L95 1903 can be found at the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School in Longwood.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Joan Thomas, Rare Book Cataloger at Countway for contributing this post.


Self-Made Woman

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


“Is it worth sacrificing a man of your own and children to be a successful business woman?”

Originally published in 1932 this is the 1940 fourth printing of Self-Made Woman.  The novel presents Cathleen McElroy as an unmarried thirty-year-old who is a successful businesswoman in New York City.  Torn between two men she must ultimately decide if the game of love is more important than her business career.  Most likely this novel wasn’t published to seriously explore the working experience of woman in the earlier half of the 20th-century, but it does show how popular fiction echoed societal norms of the time.

Baldwin was an American romance and fiction writer that published around 100 novels which typically focused on a woman juggling a career and family.  She was extremely successful and got her start writing for women’s magazines that produced romance novels in six-part serials.  Time magazine listed her as one of the new “highly paid” woman romance writers of 1935.  Many of her novels were made into films including Wife vs. Secretary that starred Clark Gable and Jean Harlow.  wife_v_sec She even wrote a column for Woman’s Day from 1958 to 1965.

It’s interesting to note that almost 80 years after this novel was written these questions still dominate the female experience.  In 2015 does a woman have to choose between a successful career and having a family?  The popularity of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In : Women, Work, and the Will to Lead would indicate these issues are still alive and well. I’d argue that there has been a shift from having to choose career or family to the challenge of having it all.  No problem right?

Self-made woman / by Faith Baldwin. New York : Triangle Books, 1939 can be found in Schlesinger Library’s collection.

Thanks Alison Harris, Julio Mario Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Erin Ellingham from Schlesinger Library for contributing this post.

Spirit of the mushroom

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Giorgio Samorini is an ethnobotantist and psychedelics researcher who has published a great deal on sacred plants and psychoactive compounds.  This hand-produced report appears to be documentation written by Samorini along with the color photographs from visits to the Sahara in 1988 and 1989.  We believe that it is a singular copy.  These two photographs appear to be of the same figure depicted on the stone, but the one of the left was taken in 1964 and credits Lajoux, while the color one is presumably from this current expedition of Samorini’s at the In-Aouanrhat site in Tassili, Algeria.  The art is apparently an example of an ethno-mycological cult where they worship of the spirit of the mushroom.  You can see that under the photos he writes, “Note the mushroom-like motif on the legs and arms of the anthropomorphic figure.”  And then on the close-up, “Particular of the masked head, with another probable mushroom-like motif inside the structure of the mask.”

It seems probable that this documentation that was gathered by Samorini was then used to produce his article- The Oldest Representations of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms in the World (Sahara Desert, 9000-7000 B.P.).

Other photographs include various figures found around the site holding vegetals.  On the cover of the report Samorini has inscribed it to Marlene Dobkin de Rios, a very famous anthropologist who investigated the use of psychedelic substances in cultures across the world.  She believed that healing practices, art, and cosmological views were all affected by psychedelic substances.  One of her later publications can be found at Harvard The psychedelic journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios : 45 years with shamans, ayahuasqueros, and ethnobotanists.

Sahara ethnomycologic & ethnobotanic documentation : manuscript, circa 1990 can be found at the Houghton Library.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Julio Mario Santo Domingo Project Manager, and Susan Wyssen Manuscript Cataloger, for contributing this post.

“It was a glorious flowering”

When I arrived at the Houghton Library, it was to do research for a project I am pursuing on Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, and World War II. While naturally the main site of interest for any researcher studying the career of Eleanor Roosevelt is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, NY, which houses Mrs. Roosevelt’s own paper archives, it is not the only useful repository. Houghton has a great deal in the way of archives from the Roosevelt family. Much of it is from the Oyster Bay (Republican Party) branch of the Roosevelt family—that is, President Theodore Roosevelt, his siblings and their descendants.

Eleanor Roosevelt has a large presence, both direct and indirect, in the Roosevelt family archives—although one must be careful to search for “Eleanor (Roosevelt) Roosevelt”  as distinguished from “Eleanor Butler Alexander Roosevelt,” the wife of ER’s cousin Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. Even though Eleanor is usually thought of as part of the Hyde Park (Democratic Party) branch of the Roosevelts, Eleanor was born into the Oyster Bay clan, as the daughter of TR’s brother Elliott, and only migrated to the Hyde Park clan by marrying her distant cousin Franklin. As a result, there is various early correspondence and other material of hers preserved at Houghton. During the 1920s, Eleanor became estranged from most of Theodore Roosevelt’s family, even as the two clans became increasingly opposed politically—Eleanor deepened the rift by some dirty campaigning against her cousin Theodore, Jr. when he ran for Governor of New York in 1924 against FDR’s ally Al Smith. Eleanor also clashed, both personally and politically, with the famously acerbic Alice Roosevelt Longworth (Marc Peyser and Timothy Dwyer’s recent book Hissing Cousins explores the troubled relationship between the two cousins).


HER story

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Women's Heritage Calendar and AlmanacUsually people purchase calendars because they have interesting or pretty pictures but the Women’s Heritage Calendar and Almanac is a different case.  Explained perfectly in the introduction page, they state “History – never HER story.  That’s what this Women’s Heritage Almanac/Calendar is all about.”  Women's Heritage Calendar and AlmanacThis calendar is full of interesting facts and pictures all related to women’s history.  Each day of the month comes with a blurb about something that happened in the women’s history movement on that day.  Many birthdates of famous women are used for these facts but also discoveries of female scientists and historic events are included.  One great mention is on November 2nd the text reads, “Women have been suffering from being misinterpreted for centuries…”let them eat cake” is a good example.  Marie Antoinette knew cake was bread…did you? Born in 1755.”Women's Heritage Calendar and Almanac

Co-founded by Judith Meuli and Toni Carabillo, the Women’s Heritage Corporation and its art firm affiliate Graphic Communications Consultants, focused on publishing women’s history and biographies of famous women.  They also worked extensively with the National Woman’s Organization (NOW) both serving on the national board of directors and holding other leadership positions.  The Papers of Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli, ca.1890-2006 (inclusive), 1950-2005 (bulk) are located at Schlesinger Library which include information about NOW and the Women’s Heritage Corporation.Women's Heritage Calendar and Almanac

The Women’s heritage calendar and almanac.[1st ed.] [Santa Monica, Calif.] : [publisher not identified], [1970] can be found in the Schlesinger Library collection.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, and Erin Ellingham from Schlesinger Library, for contributing this post.