Costly Progress: Medical Advances in the American Civil War

In order to share a portion of Ebling’s stellar Rare Books & Special Collections, (and to honor the 150+ anniversary of the Civil War) we offer: Costly Progress: Medical Advances in the American Civil War.

One guest wrote: “I am a Civil War buff and I though I would know all this already, but I didn’t…it was cool…”
“Cool,” might not be the most apt term for a rebellion that cost hundreds of thousands of lives and maimed tens of thousands more, but it does suggest that there is information here that you may not have learned before. The exhibition runs through Sunday, April 6th (and may continue further…)

While the Civil War was catastrophic in terms of lost lives, maimed soldiers, diseased camps, and the like- its practices also had a profound effect on how military medicine, plastic surgery, anesthesia, emergency medicine and hygiene were performed in subsequent wars, and in practice today.

The exhibition includes artifacts (surgical amputation kits) as well as books and manuals from the 1860s, prompting one viewer, Marie Koch, to say, “…reading the marked passages in the books was awesome. I was awestruck by the things I read. The primitive kits juxtapositioned with the material on how to create a stump that would tolerate a prosthesis was amazing!”

Find it in the Historical Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Ebling Library.
For more information or to schedule a tour. Contact Micaela Sullivan-Fowler for more information at 608 262-2402

Costly Progress

Dr. J. W. Reichenbach’s amputation kit courtesy of Barbara Pautz, Altoona, WI.