Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New National Library of Medicine Website Spotlights Murder Pamphlets

This pamphlet tells the story of the 1881 discovery of the body of Jennie Cramer, a 20-year-old society girl, by fishermen along the Connecticut shore.

From  the announcement

A new website, “Most Horrible & Shocking Murders: Murder pamphlets in the collection of the National Library of Medicine,” has been launched by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world’s largest medical library. The site features a selection of murder pamphlets from the late 1600s to the late 1800s-from a treasure trove of several hundred owned by the Library.

Ever since the invention of movable type in the mid-1400s, public appetite for tales of shocking murders-“true crime”-has been one of the most durable facts of the market for printed material. For more than five centuries, murder pamphlets have been hawked on street corners, town squares, taverns, coffeehouses, news stands, and bookshops.

These pamphlets have been a rich source for historians of medicine, crime novelists, and cultural historians, who mine them for evidence to illuminate the history of class, gender, race, the law, the city, crime, religion and other topics. The murder pamphlets in the NLM’s collection address cases connected to forensic medicine, especially cases in which doctors were accused of committing-or were the victims of-murder.

The website (, based on a 2008 exhibition at the NLM, is curated by Michael Sappol, PhD, historian in the NLM’s History of Medicine Division.


Editor Janice Flahiff’s thoughts…
Wondering if there are any online exhibitions of current or past telling of moving stories of peacemaking efforts at local, national, or international levels…surely peacemaking leads to healing at many levels…and is a  preventative…for many ills
Well, with 12+ years as a librarian, I think I just may do some focused searching…..

As an aside, here in Toledo, we dismantled Arlington Midwest, which was on display on the county courthouse grounds this past week. Spent about 10 hours this past week there at our information booth. Many good observations and stories by “visitors”, even those I respectfully disagreed with…..

October 11, 2010 - Posted by | Librarian Resources | , ,

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