History Lesson: Recognizing the Red Cross

March is Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 by Clara Barton and others. It is one of the 186 private, national societies of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, formed in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1863 by Henry Dunant, which offer neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war.…

NLM Celebrates Archives Month with Timely Health Reform Collection

October is American Archives Month and, to celebrate, the National Library of Medicine issued a blanket invitation to visitors to explore its collections relating to health care accessibility and reform, including a close-up look at the institutions and individuals central to the story. With health reform under serious scrutiny on Capitol Hill, these lessons from the past seem especially important. Through…

Uncle Sam: An Icon Is Born

Uncle Sam, worldwide icon of the United States government, is of humble origin. During the War of 1812, Troy, New York meatpacker Samuel Wilson supplied beef to the US Army, stamping his barrels “U.S.,” for United States. But tongue-in-cheek, soldiers quickly rebranded the letters as standing for “Uncle Sam”—and thus the symbol was born. “Uncle…

Mount Vesuvius History Lesson

Mount Vesuvius, perhaps the world’s most famous and deadliest volcano, erupted on August 24, AD 79, destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing some 25,000 people.  Because of its explosiveness and the nearly three million people who live virtually within its looming shadow, Vesuvius remains extremely dangerous. The image below is an undated engraving, Greco-Roman House, depicting…