The Catalogue of the Calvin Wells Archive is now freely available online via the Archives Hub: https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/data/gb532-cal
This high quality, very detailed set of metadata was written by James Neill with help from Michelle Williams-Ward. Michelle as an osteology expert was able to ensure that the medical terms used are accurate and that the catalogue works well for typical palaeopathological research themes. The archive will also have much to offer anyone with an interest in medical history, anthropology, or the history of East Anglia.
Thank you to James and Michelle for their excellent work. Thanks too of course to the Wellcome Trust for funding the Putting Flesh on the Bones project.
The end of our Putting Flesh on the Bones Project is in sight. It’s been a wonderful experience and we are most grateful to the Wellcome Trust for funding it. The project team have created catalogues and digital resources that unlock the Calvin Wells Archive, creating an invaluable resource for researchers. We have also enjoyed learning more about Calvin Wells himself, who was not only a doctor and archaeologist, but a columnist, water-skier, and collector of strange objects.
To launch the project, we’re hosting ‘Bones, Bodies and Diseases’, a one-day conference, at the Norcroft Centre, University of Bradford, on 26 January 2019. The event, named after his famous book, is a tribute to Dr Wells. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and share the work of the project and of palaeopathologists and other researchers. The event is free and all are welcome. You can register, see the call for abstracts, and find out more via our eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bones-bodies-and-disease-2019-one-day-conference-and-launch-event-for-the-calvin-wells-archive-registration-50908230889.
Our Project Archivist has discovered some fascinating and sometimes gruesome stories in the archives … find out more in this article from the fantastic Folklore Thursday website:
Source: Magic, Myth & Medicine in the Calvin Wells Archive
Calvin Wells (1908-1978) is often referred to as the father of palaeopathology: he used his medical training to shed light on the diseases and physical problems found in skeletal remains. Special Collections holds his archive and his library of over 800 books. The title of his well-known work, “Bones, bodies and disease”, sums up many of the books e.g. 17th and 18th century medical texts, particularly on gynaecology and obstetrics, by authors such as Thomas Sydenham, Francois Mauriceau and William Smellie.
This illustration depicts “Emblems of Immortality”, caterpillar to butterfly and acorn to oak, from “Philosophy of medicine” by Robert Thornton, published 1799-1800.
Emblems of Immortality
The collection also includes modern works on archaeology and anthropology, practical medical and nursing works, and books on exotic travels. A few recurring themes: ear, nose and throat medicine, the archaeology of Norfolk, where the Wellses lived in later life, ancient tribes such as the Aztecs, and medical biography, whether of doctors or of famous individuals. All these books appear on the Library Catalogue, and can be easily found using keyword search and limiting by Special Collections.
Web page for the Calvin Wells Archive and Book collection