Fascinating History Files – The NY Doctors Riot of 1788

This amazing story intersects two interesting historical lines: the history of New York and the history of medicine. So much of medical knowledge to this day is imparted by the study of cadavers. But how early medical students got those cadavers was controversial to many in a less ethically structured, more superstitious time.

A very large riot took place in 1788 New York, in which as many as 20 people were killed, over the collection of cadavers by the medical students at Columbia College.

The New York Doctors Riot was just one in a stream of so-called “anatomy riots” that plagued the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Medical historian Michael Sappol has counted at least 17 such incidents between 1765 and 1854, in New Haven, Baltimore, Cleveland and Philadelphia. These riots were sparked by anger over dissections and grave-robbing, which was how most schools got their bodies, since there was no legal supply. People saw grave-robbing as an affront to the honor of the dead and the sacred nature of graveyards, and dissection frightened many Christians who believed that only complete bodies could be resurrected. Dissection also had a veneer of criminality: in England, the only legal source of bodies was executed criminals, and many saw anatomical dissection as an extra layer of punishment suitable only for the wicked.

Students generally got their cadavers from the Negroes Burial Ground outside the city proper with little controversy except for those that saw the entire business as sacrilegious; however, fear mongers of the day passed around rumors of white people’s bodies being stolen from more hallowed city cemeteries (like Trinity Cemetery in lower Manhattan where Alexander Hamilton is buried). True or not, this outraged people who didn’t much respect or understand the early practitioners of medicine anyway, and so the horrific stories spreading around the City smacked of such ghoulishness that people were outraged to riot. At the time, New York was the Capitol of the young nation (it still had that new nation smell in 1788) and such founding fathers as Alexander Hamilton (while still alive) and (soon to be first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) John Jay were involved in stemming the riots.

Fascinating stuff. To me, at least.

Totally trivial historical side note: Duane Street in lower Manhattan was named after Mayor James Duane. At the corner of Duane and Reade streets in 1960 a drug store was opened that became the largest chain of drug stores in the New York area:  Duane Reade. That chain was eventually purchased by Bain Capital. Coincidence? Yeah, totally.

The Funny Things You See When You Travel

The Funny Things You See When You Travel

People live on, and get mail delivered to, their homes on Small Pox Trail. Now that’s an interesting address.

Near Kingston, Rhode Island by the University. I imagine this is where they infected the blankets that killed off the native population so there was some pride in that, way back when.

Tell Me Palin Hasn’t Converted to Judaism.


Amazed she wears a Star of David rather than cloves of garlic around her neck. 

Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods (hat tip Charlie Pierce) last night threatened to maybe go rogue to the max and go THIRD PARTY nuclear on the GOPs ass. 

I’ve long predicted a massive party ending schism for the GOP coming by 2016. The activities of the last week in Mississippi have outraged the Tea Party base. They were already at war with the establishment, as the establishment kept creeping ever rightward to appease every one of the TPs malignantly stupid impulses: stop minorities from voting – check; abortion restrictions – check; birth control illegal – check. But now it’s like they’re both going Chicago on each other, the insurgents whacking Eric Cantor and the establishment bringing out their tommy guns to save Thad Cochran’s bony white ass.

Between the Tea Party, the Rand Paul libertarians and the establishment crony greedheads, something’s got to give with the party of the big grift. 

Just have to point out the delicious brilliance of this paragraph:

“Well if Republicans are going to act like Democrats, then what’s the use in getting all gung-ho about getting more Republicans in there? We need people who understand the beauty of…. the value of … allowing  free market to thrive. Otherwise our country is going to be continued to be over-regulated, driving industry away, driving jobs away. We’re going to be a bankrupt, fundamentally transformed country unless those who know what they’re doing, and aren’t going along just to get along with those in power, it being today the Democrats. That does no good. So yeah if Republicans aren’t going to stand strong on the planks in our platform then it does no good to get all enthused about them anymore.”

That woman is an idiot.

Another Shoe Drops on Christie (f/k/a The Luckiest Man in America)

With the GWB lane blockage investigation, the Hoboken intimidation, the Pulaski Skyway misappropriation, I count this story as the fourth shoe to drop as newspapers and the like commit actual journalism to show what a nasty, bullying, partisan, thieving, corrupt, blowhard piece of crap Chris Christie is.

Christie’s administration has granted $1.25 Billion in taxpayer funds to GOP donors since 2012. 

Corporations that contributed millions of dollars to the Chris Christie-led Republican Governors Association and other GOP campaigns have received public funding deals worth almost $1.25bn from his New Jersey administration in less than two years.

Just a shame that so little journalism was committed BEFORE his reelection. New Jersey actually needs some real leadership but we’re stuck with a zombie lame duck governor. At least all this scrutiny may slow down his political steamroller. The Dems in Trenton should be pretty empowered by now, you know, rather than the fat ass kissing toadies they were until the GWB scandal broke.

Love, Love, Love Ikea!

The 50 cent hot dogs and frozen yogurt, the Swedish meatballs par excellence and of course Bille! Now Ikea is raising the minimum wage for their U.S. workers and linking it to a living wage calculator for their locations!

The famous seller of ready-to-assemble home goods will base the wage floor for each of its stores on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, which estimates what salary a worker would need in order to get by in a particular geographic area.

Go Bille, Go!