The Osler Library of the History of Medicine is currently hosting an exhibit on the impact germs had on fashion in the late 1800’s.
“By the 1920’s germ theory had pervaded every aspect of daily life in the Western world. Discovered in the latter half of the19th century, the theory, elaborated by scientists such as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, led to numerous changes in everyday living. A new exhibition at the Osler Library highlights one such example. Following the discovery of the Tuberculosis baterium, public health advocates rallied to create treatment and prevention programmes, including public health campaigns and anti-spitting legislation. They recognized the danger posed by tuberculosis-infected sputum on the streets swept up by the trailing skirts that fashionable women of the day favoured. Curated by Cynthia Tang, with rare books specialist Anna Dysert and costume curator Catherine Bradley, this exhibition explores the legitimacy that germ theory lent to the late 19th century movement to reform women’s dress, bringing together books, images, artifacts, and clothing pieces from collections across McGill.” -Anna Dysert
Here are some of the highlights of the exhibit, which runs through November at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine (McIntyre Medical Building, 3rd Floor, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler).