Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant

Dr. Edward Horton Bensley (1906-1995)
Image by Osler Library Photo Collection.
The Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant is available to historians, physicians, graduate and post-doctoral students, and to those interested in the arts and humanities of medical history whose project requires them to travel to Montreal to  consult material in the Osler Library. Each year up to $4,000 in awards will be made to one or more individuals who require a minimum of 2 weeks to carry out their research during the fiscal year, 1 May 2020 - 30 April 2021.

The Osler Library Research Travel Grant is endowed through the generosity of graduates of the Class of Medicine of 1936, and a $100,000 gift from the Pope-Jackson Fund.  The grant recognises Dr. E.H. Bensley’s place in the history of the library.  A former dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Bensley's later life was devoted to the history of medicine.  He was affiliated with the Department of the History of Medicine (fore-runner of the present Department of Social Studies of Medicine) and taught the history of medicine to second year medical students.  He also edited the Osler Library Newsletter and wrote extensively.  His last book, “McGill Medical Luminaries,” was the first title to appear in the Osler Library Studies in the History of Medicine series.  He was named Honorary Osler Librarian in 1979.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: since a roof fire in July 2018, the Osler Library has been temporarily located within the Rare Books division, on the 4th floor of the McLennan Library Building. This affects our location only; all materials are available.

Applicants should fill in the Osler Library Travel Grant Application Form and email it with their CV to the Osler Library, see email address below.

The applications are considered by a committee which gives preference to specific and clearly described projects. Recipients will be requested to submit a report of their work suitable for publication in the Osler Library Newsletter and may be invited to give a brief presentation at the University.

Applications for the 2020-2021 grant must be received by 10 January 2020.


Requests for further information should be addressed to:

Osler Library

Telephone (514) 398-4475 extension 09873
osler.library [at] mcgill.ca (osler.library [at] mcgill.ca)

Congratulations to our 2019 recipients!

  • Dr. Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi is an architectural historian with a particular interest on emotions in the context of colonial architecture. One of her articles is forthcoming in the Journal of Architecture and Culture in July 2019. Currently, she is working on her monograph entitled A “Chain” of Affective Architecture: the case of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) hospitals in a “Muslim World”. Chapter 4 of her monograph analyses the architecture of women hospitals and discusses the involvement of female medical missionaries in the construction process of the hospitals. To write this chapter, she will consult “Minnie Gomery Fonds” collection at the Osler Library.

  • Dr. Ayman Yasin Atat is a fellow in the department of the history of science and pharmacy at TU Braunschweig, Germany. His main research fields are Arabic traditional materia medica and the history of Arabic pharmacy and medicine, and also studying and editing Arabic medical manuscripts. Currently he is working on editing and translating the “Rawḍat al-ʿiṭr” manuscript written by al-Shirwānī (was alive circa 1456 CE). The author quoted extensively from the famous Andalusian botanist Ibn al-Bayṭār (d. 1248 CE), who wrote an important book entitled “al-Mughnī fī al-Ṭibb”. The copy of this work that is held at Osler library seems to be the most complete one. I will be studying this copy and its contents in order to have a full review of this important text. It will lead to add a new perspective of Ibn al-Bayṭār’s writings and their effects on the development of materia medica culture.


Previous winners


  • Dr. Margaret Carlyle's research focuses on the production of scientific, medical, and technological knowledge in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and its colonies. She is particularly interested in the enterprising efforts of women and other "invisible assistants" in forging scientific careers, both outside of and within institutional settings. Margaret is currently completing two projects. The first is a cultural history of Enlightenment anatomy stemming from her doctoral thesis completed at McGill University (2013). The second is a history of obstetrical technology in early modern Europe. Margaret has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2013–15) and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota (2015–17).

  • Dr. Jessica M. Dandona is Associate Professor of Art History at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her project, “The Transparent Woman: Medical Visualities in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Canada, and the United States, 1890–1914,” comprises a close look at techniques of medical visualization at the end of the 19th century. Working with the Paris Medical Theses collection, Dandona will investigate how physicians in four early centres of medical training—Paris, Edinburgh, Montreal, and Philadelphia—conceptualized the bodies of women and infants in visual terms.

  • Dr. Caroline Petit (University of Warwick, Department of Classics & Ancient History and Centre for the Study of the Renaissance) is a specialist of early medical texts, particularly Galen and the Galenic corpus. At the moment, she is interested in the early reception of Galen in the Renaissance (before the Aldine edition of 1525). Her stay at the Osler library will allow her to explore in more depth the works of Symphorien Champier and his circle, aiming at clarifying Champier’s ambivalent position on issues ranging from pharmacology to religious matters. Her project, Symphorien Champier and the early reception of Galen in Renaissance France, will be a stepping stone towards a new publication on Galen and his readers.


  • Dr. Shilpa Bhat Daithota is Assistant Professor English at Ahmedabad University, Gujarat, India. Her project, "Tropical Medicines, Indian Pathologies, and the British Raj in Sir Willliam Osler’s Letters," centers around an examination Osler's writings concerning his visit to India and tropical medicine, with an interest in the connection between representation and discussion of diseases and colonialism.
  • Prof. Eliza Glaze is the Lawrence B. and Jane P. Clark Chair in History at Coastal Carolina University. At Osler, she will be consulting early printed texts by medieval and early modern authors on topics such as fevers, pharmacy, dietetics, and therapeutic bathing to complete a scholarly introduction and annotations to her critical edition of Gariopontus of Salerno’s Passionarius, to be published by SISMEL Edizione del Galluzzo as part of the 'Edizione Nazionale La Scuola Medica Salernitana' series.

  • Cam Terwilliger teaches creative writing at Drew University and his fiction has appeared in literary journals since 2004. He will conduct research on eighteenth-century medical sources for his project, Yet Wilderness Grew in my Heart, a novel set during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) that centers around a European physician living among the Mohawk people studying Native medicines.


  • Kathleen Pierce is a PhD candidate in Art History at Rutgers University. Her dissertation analyzes the imbrication of disease, the family, and empire in the visual culture of France and its colonies at the turn of the twentieth century. This grant will allow her to complete a chapter, wherein she plans to deconstruct the iconography of prophylactic poster campaigns against syphilis.
  • Dr. Heather Stanley is a postdoctoral fellow in History at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her current project is a social and cultural history of postpartum depression in twentieth-century Canada, with an end goal of publication as a scholarly monograph and an eventual manuscript.


  • Dr. Elma Brenner is a Specialist in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine at the Wellcome Library in London. Her project, Early Printing on the French Disease at the Osler Library, will study a number of early printed works on the French Disease in order to chart contemporary responses to this phenomenon, with the end goal to publish her findings in an article.

  • Emily Lockhart completed her BFA (Honours with Distinction) in Communication and Design, Photography at Ryerson University. The travel grant will be used to support phase two of a historical photographic project, which will result in a series of images exploring the spaces of medical instruction and study at McGill today and in the wake of the First World War. It will have two publication aims: a gallery exhibition timed to coincide with the reconstruction of the Medical Museum in 2015, and a companion catalogue volume supplemented by archival research.

  • Dr. Sasha Mullally is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick. The travel grant will be used to support research for a book-length manuscript on the history of physician immigration to Canada, c.1955-1980.


  • Dr. Mary E. Fissell is a Professor in the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. The travel grant will allow her to conduct research for her book project on the history of Aristotle’s Masterpiece, a popular work on what we would now call reproduction.

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