Ask a Librarian

Railway Surgery

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center
The McGovern Rare Book Collection just added a book on treating railway injuries published in 1899. Dr. Clinton B. Herrick’s “Railway Surgery: a handbook on the management of injuries” is quite an interesting book. The library’s resource management assistant Mireille Clark discovered the book in the stacks and passed it on to a rare book librarian.
railway-surgeryHerrick wrote at a time when railroad hospitals could be found in cities, such as Houston. He notes that railroad injuries had some commonalities, including steam burns, crushing injuries and limb injuries caused by the nature of the business. He also describes the railroad hospital car, car sanitation and disinfection.