Vanessa Schulman wins award for scholarship on military medicine and visual culture in 19th-century America

Vanessa Meikle Schulman, Assistant Professor of American Art History, was named the winner of the 2018 Spurgeon H. Neel Writing Award.  The award was for her essay “J. J. Woodward, the Philadelphia Centennial, and Medical Imaging in Nineteenth-Century America," which is forthcoming in the Army Medical Department Journal. The award is sponsored by the U. S. Army Medical Department and Medical Museum Foundation and honors the best annual article on the history and legacy of American military medicine. 

Schulman came upon this research topic while researching Civil War medical photographs collected by the Surgeon General in the 1860s.  Schulman conducted additional research in order to write the article, which discusses the Army Medical Museum’s exhibit at the 1876 Centennial Exposition. The display was curated by Dr. Joseph Janvier Woodward, a specialist in infectious diseases, a wartime Assistant Surgeon, and a pioneer in photomicrography (the photographic depiction of microscopic subjects). This was the first time the inner workings of the human body were laid bare for a popular audience in the United States, presenting a new form of medical vision to the public. The project is part of Schulman's in-progress book manuscript about the visual culture of the American Civil War.