I would like to take this moment…

…to express how grateful I am to the kindness and patience of archivists, librarians, and the people at the reference inquiry desk at the British Library and at the RNID Library.

Seriously, I don’t know how I would find anything if it wasn’t for their assistance.


One of my favorite parts of experiencing a book–whether it’s a nineteenth century treatise, or a trashy beach novel–is reading the dedication page.  I always wonder how much time and effort the author puts into deciding who gets the honor of the dedication (and of course, thinking about who I will dedicate my dissertation to…) and am at times marveled at the beauty of the words.

Having said that, here’s one of my favorite dedication from John Cunningham Saunders’ (1773-1810) atlas, The Anatomy of the Human Ear (1806):

To Astley Cooper, Esq., F.R.S.


The dedication of this book to you indulges at once my gratitude and my ambition. I avail myself of this opportunity to acknowledge the many obligations which your kindness and uniform attention have conferred on me. With pleasure I render this tribute to your friendship.

In seeking the authority of your name I have consulted the means of enhancing my own reputation. Who can more properly patronize a work on the Ear than one who has signalized himself by the elucidation of its diseases? Who so well appreciate the merits which it may possess, or shield its defects against the severity of criticism? The world is acquainted with your professional abilities, and respects your opinion. Your enthusiasm and unremitting endeavours to cultivate the department of Surgery, are displayed in the works which you have already given to the public; and it is confidently predicted that your talent for observation, quickened by an ardent desire to improve the science, will contribute fresh accessions to our knowledge, and add lustre to the profession.

But it is not merely by your own labours, great as they are, that you benefit society. Placed as a principal teacher in the first medical school in Great Britain, you impart a portion of your energy to your pupils, many of whom will be excited by the influence of your example to professional exertions not worthy of the place where they received their education.

I am, Sir,

With respect and attachment,
Your most obedient Servant,

J.C. Saunders.

Ely Place, March 12, 1806.

On a related note: how come we don’t close our correspondence that way anymore? There’s some romantic flair in professing one’s respect to another…no? Too outdated?

Guess Who?

Happy New Year!

Yes, my holiday hiatus is officially over. It’s been a crazy end to 2010 and I blissfully look forward to 2011: no work assignments, no conference planning, no teaching…in other words, an entire year of just reading, researching, and writing. Ahhh…I can’t wait!

After a bumpy start to my travels, I’m now in London, hiding away in the British Library and a pile of nineteenth century treatises on aural surgery surrounding me. Regular posting, as you imagine, Dear Reader, shall resume.

Now, back to this reading! I need more content to share with you 🙂

Holiday Hiatus

It’s currently snowing like crazy in Toronto. A bit cold (-26 degrees Celsius with windchill) but I think it’s breathtaking: truly a winter wonderland!

Holiday season is finally here so I’m going have to take a hiatus from blogging–and the blogosphere in general. Not to worry, Dear Reader, I’ve pre-scheduled the remaining Monday Series posts on Alexander Graham Bell, so they’ll go up every Monday.

Finally finished with the packing and moving day is on the 27th. Excited, but sad and nervous at the same time. I also have to start and finish grading a stack of essays and then write my presentation for the upcoming BSHS Postgraduate Conference in Manchester. Let me know if any of you is going to be there too! And I have yet organize my research trip to London as well as submit the final draft of my PhD proposal… On top of all this, a string of holiday parties occupy my schedule! Thank goodness I finished with my shopping list.

Happy holidays, Dear Reader! All the best for 2011!

The PhD Board: November ’10

November’s been a pretty hectic month for me. In addition to all the deadlines and responsibilities, I’ve also moved to Toronto (from suburbia). Well, I’m still ‘moving.’ Work gets in the way of packing and unpacking.

So here’s my temporary PhD board, courtesy of an IHPST carrel. Not as pretty, but at least it’s doing it’s job.

And yes, you don’t have to remind me: I’m aware my Monday Series is late–it’s on my laptop…which is at my old home. Sighs.

P.S.: happy bleated Thanksgiving to my American friends!