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Gallery: Medical Instruments and Teaching Aids

The Harvard Medical College, where John Webster had his chemistry laboratory, opened its North Grove Street facility in 1846.

Professional medicine was different back then. Doctors did not know about germs or antiseptic practices, and patients died of causes that are simple to treat today. Yet practitioners did make significant advances in medicine at the time -- including the first use of ether as a surgical anesthesia, a breakthrough first demonstrated next door to the Harvard labs, at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Examine mid-19th century instruments and specimens used for teaching, from the archives of the Massachusetts General Hospital and from the collections of the Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.



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