The Medical History Society of Nova Scotia formally came into being on March 27, 1992 at which time it was registered with the Registry of Joint Stocks of Nova Scotia as a Museum.
The founding members of this version of the Joint Committee on Archives were:
Drs. E. C. Abbott, I. Cameron, J. M.Crosby, M. Elwood, S. Haycock, M.R. MacDonald, A. J. MacDonald, A. Marble, W. F. Mason, D.K. Murray, E. Nurse, E.F. Ross, B. J. Steele and Curator, Owen McInerney.
The Society acquired Charitable Status with Canada Customs Revenue Agency. Its mandate, “to preserve the medical heritage of the province of Nova Scotia”, draws from a rich history of outstanding physicians over a span of many decades. In 2000, Beth MacPherson was hired as Administrator and commenced her work with the implementation of Dr. Andrew Nurse’s Strategic Plan for the Society. As well, the By-laws were revised and Dr. Marie Elwood created our official logo in 2004.
As Dr. Eugene Nurse completed his outstanding tenure as Chairman, he handed the reins to Dr. Allan E. Marble whose research and development of numerous medical history presentations has resulted in as many displays. Dr. Marble has produced geographically relevant medical history displays that are customized to profile outstanding physicians and events throughout the province. These have been installed in the metropolitan areas at Doctors Nova Scotia and in other parts of the province in Yarmouth, Colchester County, Sherbrooke and Cape Breton. In the Winter of 2008, the Yarmouth County Museum unveiled an extensive display on the Webster Family of Physicians commencing with Dr. Isaac Webster who arrived in Nova Scotia in the late 1700’s. He was the forefather of several generations of physicians who practiced in our province right up to Dr. David Webster, family physician who has practiced in Yarmouth for several decades. This exceptional family has its actual artefacts used in this display and is a must see for medical history buffs
Sherbrooke Village housed a display on Dr. Stella Messenger-Pearson, a sole female general practitioner who practiced in Sherbrooke Village in 1919. This display provided an historic view into the trials facing family doctors at a time in Atlantic history where any task from dentistry to obstetrics to surgery on the dining room table could occur. All of this, with no electricity or running water would make rural practice a tremendous challenge. The profile of Dr. John Stewart has been installed in the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton College. This was researched and written by Dr. Allan Marble, our distinguished Chair and prominent Nova Scotia medical historian
We are launching our new website in June 2022, (www.medicalhistoryns.com). It allows our viewers to watch several medical history videos from the presentations of Dr. Marble. The cataloging and photographing of our artefact collection continues. Most of our book collections have been cataloged and in time, we will enter these into a searchable database. To view the collection you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a viewing time. We provided seven medical history displays for the National Medical Hall of Fame celebration in Halifax in May 2013. As part of our strategic plan and mandate of “preserving the medical history of Nova we continue to look for appropriate space as our holdings are overflowing in our present location.
The Medical History Society of Nova Scotia's Activities to 2021
- Negotiated and Executed the transfer of Doctors Nova Scotia Records for the period 1854-1970 to the Nova Scotia Archives.
- Establishment of a Permanent Medical History Display at the Yarmouth Historical Museum which celebrates the five generations of doctors in the Webster family who practised in that town and county.
- Saved the Victoria General Hospital Records (1867-1970) from destruction. Arranged for these records to be transferred to the Nova Scotia Archives.
- Negotiated the purchase of the medical records of Dr. George Buckley. These records describe his medical practice in Guysborough during the period 1867 to 1937.
- Provided Doctors Nova Scotia with medical history displays as well as medical history vignettes for Doctors NS Magazine.
- The Medical Vignettes in Doctors NS Magazine, 2014-2015
- Nova Scotia had the largest hospital in North America, 1716-58
- The Garrison Medical Library established in Halifax in 1817
- The Halifax Naval Hospital constructed in 1872
- Physician condemned by colleagues in 1867 for endorsing a smallpox cure
- The Daybooks and Ledgers of Dr. George Buckley's return to Nova Scotia
- Dr. John Stewart brought Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine to the international stage
- A historic photograph provides a snapshot of Halifax’s medical history, photos of the first thirty physicians at the VGH
- The rescue and remediation of the Victoria General Hospital records
- Publications, Displays and Lectures for 2016-2021
- Four communities in Nova Scotia were approached to partner with us to mount displays on the medical history in their region: Bridgewater (2017), Kentville (2019), New Glasgow (2018), and Sydney (2018). The displays focused on profiles of early medical practitioners and hospitals in each region. The unveiling of the displays were accompanied by a power-point presentation of the region’s medical history.
- A display was prepared in 2017 describing the response of the medical profession to the Halifax Explosion. The display was mounted at both the Nova Scotia Museum and also at Doctors Nova Scotia.
- Displays and lectures were prepared to assist in celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Dalhousie Medical School in 2018. Dean Anderson asked Dr. Marble to join the organizing committee.
- During 2016 and May 2021 a total of twenty-two medical vignettes were published in Doctors NS magazine.
- March 2016: Reviving Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine
- June 2016: A Public Health Pioneer
- September 2017: 200 Years of the Stethoscope
- December 2016: Nova Scotia’s First Female Physician
- March 2017: Now You See It, the Arrival of Radiology in Nova Scotia
- May 2017: Establishing Medical Outposts
- September 2017: Help for Halifax, how Nova Scotia’s Physicians responded to the Halifax Explosion
- November 2017: A Day in the Life of Dr. George H. Cox
- March 2018: Two Pioneers of Cancer Therapy
- Medical Vignettes published in Doctors Nova Scotia newsletter cont'd...
- July 2018: Conquering Tuberculosis in Nova Scotia
- September 2018: Halifax was Plunged into Gloom
- November 2018: The Birth of Maternity Care in Nova Scotia
- April 2019: Doctors at War
- August 2019: Hail to the Matron-in-Chief
- October 2019: Their Patriotic Duty
- November 2019: Penicillin Comes to Nova Scotia
- April 2020: Heart Surgery in Nova Scotia
- June 2020: Slow to Spread, Antiseptic Surgery arrives in Nova Scotia
- September 2020: Forging a Path, the first Female Physician in Rural Nova Scotia
- Medical Vignettes published in Doctors Nova Scotia newsletter cont'd...
- November 2020: Nova Scotia Physicians on D-Day
- February 2021: Unsung Heroes of the Spanish Flu
- May 2021: On Thin Ice, Perils in Travelling as a Country Doctor
- During 2016 and 2021 the following medical vignettes were published in the Annual Reports of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.
- 2016: The 1918 Spanish Influenza in Nova Scotia
- 2017: Dr. George Buckley’s Medical Practice, 1867-1936
- 2018: Dr. Eliza Brison was a Role Model
- 2019: Dr. Lewis J. Lovett, Medical Doctor at Bear River, 1892-1942
- 2020: An Unknown Disease invaded Nova Scotia, the Spanish Influenza
- A Display to be located at Citadel Hill
- During 2020 and 2021 our Society was asked by Parks Canada to loan them surgical instruments for a display at Citadel Hill. The display will focus on surgery during the First World War.