Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Although medical publications have traditionally provided the primary medium for research, communication and education in medicine, scholars have not yet attempted to analyze them to understand how they varied; how they interacted with authors and publishers; how they were disseminated; how they changed and why; and how they were received (owned, read or used) by the medical profession or the general public. Typically, scholars have provided brief historical surveys of medical literature and have focused mainly on one genre, the medical journal. Even less is known about medical literature in Canada. This thesis therefore examines medical publications and the process of medical publishing in Canada, focusing especially on the period 1785 to the 1920s. Using evidence from the main genres themselves--pamphlets, books, journals--as well as from physicians' personal papers, records of professional practice, and estate records, library, bookseller and medical school catalogues, the study analyzes key stages in the publishing cycle from authorship or editorship to production, distribution and reception (ownership and feedback from readers). In so doing, it considers the relationships between the genres, their publishing context (i.e., legal, intellectual, social, political), and Canadian culture; furthermore, it briefly compares the Canadian medical publishing trade with that elsewhere.;The study reveals different influences affecting each genre and argues that the patterns of influence converge for all genres by the 1920s. It also shows that most medical publishing in Canada occurred in Ontario and Quebec; that medical publications in English and French reflect different aspects of the two cultures; and that Canadian medical publishing generally followed international trends with respect to the professionalization of medicine--albeit approximately fifty years later. The study concludes that although a solid trade in medical publishing never developed in Canada as it did elsewhere (notably the United States and Great Britain), Canadian attempts to do so reflect preoccupations with geography, politics, language, and international recognition.



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