when fiction, history and genealogy collide

For anybody who has read this weblog in the past, it’s no secret that I am more than a little obsessive-compulsive about research.

So today I was looking for medical texts published in the 1880s on a certain class of surgeries. The issue was (and I’ll be brief): could I get away with intubation for a surgery conducted on xxxx in 1883. Short answer: yes.

While I was looking through the publications available online I ran across the title Post Mortems and Morbid Anatomy which is relevant to another question I’m researching. But then I checked the date and saw, alas, that it was printed in 1912. Twenty years too late.

That’s when I saw the author’s name.

postmortemA little detour here. The mathematician’s grandfather’s eldest sister (Minnie Green, by name) was one of the first women to graduate from medical school in England in the 19th century (actually she went to medical school in Edinburgh, but you get the idea).  Some time after medical school (the dates haven’t been verified yet) she married her anatomy professor, Dr. Theodore Shennan, who was by that point senior pathologist to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh

So here I am spooling through thousands of texts available on line for some very specific information, and I come across a technical text written by the mathematician’s great-aunt’s husband.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but I got a huge kick out of it.

This photo was taken in September 1903 when Minnie and Theodore married, in the greenhouse of the Plantation (houses were often named; this time the choice of name was unfortunate) where the great-grandfather and ggrandmother lived while he (of the white beard, behind the bride) was Lord Mayor of Norwich. Click for a bigger version. (And note, I’ve misspelled a name tag: it should be Shennan.)



So now I’ve got to go check something in the 1879 edition of Principles of  Pharmaceutical and Medical Chemistry