By Bert Hansen
This specific research with one hundred thirty archival illustrations drawn from newspaper sketches, caricatures, comedian books, Hollywood motion pictures, and LIFE magazine images analyzes the connection among mass media photographs and well known attitudes. Bert Hansen considers the impression those representations had on public attitudes and exhibits how media portrayal and renowned help for clinical study grew jointly and strengthened every one other.
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Extra resources for Picturing Medical Progress from Pasteur to Polio: A History of Mass Media Images and Popular Attitudes in America
In early 1880, for example, Puck artist J. A. Wales created “The Philadelphia Physician Factory” (fig. 18), a center-spread cartoon in full color with the industrial imagery of a “diploma mill” that pulled boys into a hopper and cranked crowds of them out an exit chute as top-hatted doctors brandishing surgical saws and other instruments ready to assault unwilling patients. According to the editorial, this cartoon was definitely not attacking “the old-fashioned practitioner” or the profession at large but was attacking a Dr.
O’Path’s gold-headed cane bears a death’s head on the handle. As Puck explained itself in its editorial, Professional etiquette is a very pretty thing. So is a discriminating wisdom in the choice of associates. So is the courage of one’s opinions. But there are times when a too rigid adherence to these pretty things is, to say the least, undesirable. . Perhaps it is well that Dr. Oldschool should keep his professional broadcloth and fine linen free from all contamination. 55 As with the “diploma mill” image a few years earlier, Puck’s editorial text was gentler than the artwork, and the words made clear that not all physicians were being criticized.
Pasteurization of milk did not become familiar for another two decades or more. In the 1884 image, Pasteur stands contemplatively among the animal cages — heavy ones of iron for angry dogs and lightweight wire cages for innumerable, placid rabbits. It is a slightly exotic scene, almost like exhibits at a country fair, except for distressing images of dogs showing the stages of paralysis leading to death. As with the electrocution experiments on dogs, this family publication, though often sentimental in style, had no qualms in the 1880s about explicit pictures of such material.