John Austin Society
John Austin Society welcomes all members of the Queen's and
Kingston community. Named after Lorimer John "Blimey"
Austin, who was Professor of Surgery at Queen's from 1926-1945,
the purpose of the Society is to promote an interest in the
history of medicine, science and allied professions by providing
opportunities for fellowship and continuing education, and by
encouraging and fostering research by its members. To this end,
we meet several times a year for presentations by members or
guests on topics of medical or scientific interest - broadly
interpreted. We hope you will find our slate of speakers and
topics interesting and enlightening, and will join us as often as you
wish. You may bring guests along as well.
We generally meet
on the 3rd Thursday of the month during the fall and winter terms at
5:30 pm at the University Club for a 1-hour talk and question-period. We look forward to seeing you!
for the 2017-2018 season
Neil Hobbs (Dept. Family Medicine) "When is Yellow
Yellow?: An Inquiry
into the History of our Understanding of Colour Vision."
Medical Students: Chantal Valiquette on "Is Madness
Medical? An Examination of the Institutionalization of the
and Hissan Butt on
the Doctors' Strike of 19**: The Roots of the Current Medical
Curriculum," and Harry Chandrakumaran on
"From Madhouse to Poorhouse: Financial Motivations in the Shift towards
Dana Edge (School of Nursing) "A
Unique History: "Nursing on the Labrador"
John Schreiner (Depts. Oncology &
Physics) "The Matthew Effect: Does It Help When
Scientists are Famous?
Anne Croy (Dept. Biomed. Mol. Sci) "The Immunological
Enigma of Pregnancy Success: Has the Fetal Allograft Hypothesis
Stood the Test of Time?
Kim Turner (Dept. Anesth. & Periop.
Med. & Public Health Sci.) "The
Discovery of General Anesthesia - Who was First?"
Baran, Henry Dinsdale, Jackie Duffin, Neil Hobbs, Ronald Pokrupa, Barry Robertson, John Schreiner,
Meetings are open to all who are interested. Regular attenders who would
like to be placed on our mailing list are invited to become supporting members.
Please e-mail Cherrilyn Yalin (firstname.lastname@example.org) to join or renew (cash, cheque
or e-transfer; $35 per member). Please make out cheques to The John Austin
Society and send to Cherrilyn Yalin, 592 Heritage Court, Kingston, K7M 9C9 (613-542-4201).
A Brief History.
In 2014-15 we celebrated our 50th anniversary.
It was 1964 when three members of the Queen's medical faculty decided it
would be desirable to establish a convivial medico/historical
society. The founding meeting was held on April 9th 1965 in
Etherington Hall under the chairmanship of the then Associate Dean
of Medicine, Dr. John Firstbrook. Some 20 interested persons met
and considered that even though some see 'history is bunk,' spending an occasional evening in congenial company talking about
each other's historical or cultural hobby-horses would be a
welcome relief from one's day to day responsibilities.
Connell suggested the society be called the John Austin Society
after his mentor and later colleague, distinguished former
professor of surgery, Dr. Lorimer John Austin (1880-1945). After
discussion this name was unanimously adopted.
paper presented was by Dr. Ford Connell on the subject of John
'Blimey' Austin. John Austin studied medicine in England at
Cambridge and the London Hospital. He gained much practical
experience as a surgical registrar in London's East End (hence the
cockney slang name of 'Blimey'). In 1914 at the beginning of the
Great War he volunteered as a surgeon with the Red Cross. He left
England on August 16th and was sent to reconnoitre the set-up of a
hospital near Namur in Southern Belgium. The German advance on
Namur was faster than expected and despite Red Cross credentials
by Tuesday lunchtime JA was a prisoner of war. He was repatriated
five gruelling months later, to become an army major and work in
field hospitals in Rouen. In 1920 he was recruited to come to
Queen's. He played an instrumental role in the development of the
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and advanced
the practice of surgery at Queen's. With his sister, Miss Austin,
as housekeeper, JA gave a home-from-home to legions of medical
students over the years. Brother and sister were noted characters
in the community.
Austin society met firstly in private homes, and latterly at the
Faculty (now University) Club, and the range of speakers has
extended beyond medicine to other departments at Queen's and,
for the 2016-2017 season
(2nd Thursday): Jacalyn Duffin (Hannah Chair, History of
Medicine) on "Stanley's Dream. The Canadian Medical
Expedition to Easter Island"
Medical Students: Prabhpreet Kaur Hundal, Stanislav Pasyk and Jatinderpreet Singh
on "Criminals in the White Coats: How Community Regulations Prevent Physicians
from Killing their Patients." and Calvin Santiago on
"War! What is it good for? Breakdowns in Scientific
Susan Cole (Dept. Pathology & Molecular Medicine) "Anticancer Drugs
- A Complex History of Success and Failure"
David Holland (Dept. Medicine) "A
Brief History of the World (of Dialysis), or Some Damn Thing in
Hugh Pross (Dept. Biomed. Mol. Sci) "The 'Discovery' of
Natural Killer Cells"
Peter Aston (Dept. Biomed. Mol.
and Physicians in Renaissance Theatre"
for the 2015-2016 season
Steven Iscoe (Dept. Biomed. Sci. Mol. Biol.) on "Treating
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Future to the Back."
Medical Students topics: Adam Mosa on "The Water's No Good:
Organic Mercury in Northern Ontario," and Nathaniel
Walker, “Food Subsidies in the North”
Albert Jin (Division of Neurology, Dept. Medicine ) on
"Stroke and Insight from the Centaur, the Virtuoso
Assistant and the First American Woman President."
History) on "The Ladies and
a Charity Hospital in Kingston (1820-1840)"
Susan Lamb (Jason Hannah Chair in
History of Medicine,
University of Ottawa) on "Adolf Meyer's
'Radical' View of Schizophrenia at the Beginning of the
John Matthews (Division of
Haematology, Dept. Medicine) on "A
Crystallographer's Contribution to the Molecular Structure of
Haemoglobin and the Downfall of Adolf Hitler - the Story of Max
for the 2014-2015 season
Neil Hobbs (Department of Family Medicine) on "In Praise
of Eponyms. A League of Medical Nations."
Medical Students topics: Sophie
Palmer,"A History of Infancy: What is Psychiatry's Role?" Matthew
Haaland, “A History of HIV in Kingston”
Elena Barbir, “Harm Reduction Programs in Ontario and BC:
What's their Story?”
Paul Manley (Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine) on "Gastric
Ulcers and Cancer-Stress. Napoleon and Helicobacter Organisms"
Robert Kisilevsky (Department of Pathology and Molecular
Medicine) on "The Amyloid Story. Some Steps Forward
and Some Steps Backward"
Greg Baran (Department of Family
Medicine) on "'A Journey through Hell'. The
Firsthand Account of Kingston Physician Dr. Cumberland through
the Trenches of World War I."
Sandra Campbell (Historian, Carleton
University) on "World War I Military Nurse: The Case
of KGH's Annie Green."
An Event to celebrate the
50th Anniversary of the John Austin
for the 2013-2014 season
Stephen Archer (Department of Medicine) on "The
Medical Students topics: Karen Chung on "Beyond Face-lifts,
Implants and Noses: Kingston Plastic Surgery (1949-1970)"
Stephanie Lammers on "Her Body, Her Pain, Her
Choice? The Dawn of Obstetric
Anaesthesia in Kingston." Daniel
Paluzzi on "Finding Elbow-room at KGH."
Jackie Duffin (Department of the History of Medicine) on "Hospital
Mergers. The Case of Nineteenth Century Rome"
Paula James (Division of Haematology, Dept. Medicine) on "Baltic
Maidens in Distress - von Willebrand, Past and Present"
John Matthews (Division of Haematology, Dept. Medicine) on "Sinful
Diet Saves Lives - a Step on the Road to Discovering Vitamin
Casimiro Cabrera Abreu (Department of Psychiatry) on "Tinkering with the History and Philosophy of Psychiatry: Is Antipsychiatry
Good for Psychiatry? "
for the 2012-2013 season
Sergio Sismondo (Department of Philosophy) on "Key
Opinion Leaders: Choreographing the Pharmaceutical Two-Step."
Topics by Medical Students: Yan Lu on "What is the new
patient advocacy? An answer from the history of lumbar fusion."
Joe Gabriel on "It blows: The clinical understanding of
sleep apnoea following the introduction of positive airway
pressure." Shannon Meilleur on "The best
defence: a review of Canada's involvement in biological and
toxic warfare during the Second World War."
Donald Forsdyke on "Long-term Memory from Avicenna to
Francis Crick. Does Size Matter?"
John Schreiner on "The Cobalt Bomb: How Canada advanced
Radiation Therapy to the Modern Megavoltage Era."
Former John Austin
Society Constitution (amended 2002)
The John Austin Society
Constitution and By-laws
approved at AGM
Article I: Name
shall be known as The John Austin Society. The name honours the memory
of Queen’s distinguished Professor of Surgery, Dr. Lorimer John “Blimey”
Austin, born 20 September 1880 in London, England, and died 20 March,
1945 in Kingston, Ontario.
Article II: Non-profit Society
The work of
the Society shall be carried out without purpose of financial gain for
its members. Any profit or other revenue which comes to the Society
shall be used to promote its objectives.
Article III: Objectives
of the Society shall be to promote an interest in the history of
medicine and science in the Kingston community, by providing
opportunities for fellowship and continuing education, and by
encouraging and fostering research by its members.
Article IV: Membership
are welcome (see Article V, 2c).
The categories of membership are:
members who pay a membership fee and can vote at the AGM.
membership dues shall be set at an amount determined by the Executive.
may withdraw by delivering written resignation to the Secretary, or any
member may be considered to have resigned upon failure to pay the
Upon termination of
membership, a member shall
not be entitled to any refund of membership dues paid.
Article V: Meetings
meeting to discuss business for all membership shall be held at least
once in every calendar year, normally in conjunction with one of the
regular meetings. At that time the members shall be informed of the
business of the Executive meetings that have taken place throughout the
year and notified of any proposed changes to the Constitution. Each
supporting member present and in good standing shall be entitled to one
vote and every question shall be decided by a majority of votes.
meetings shall take place at least four times a year.
tradition has established a format for these meetings. There is a dinner
to which the speaker and his/her partner are invited as guests of the
Society. The presentation then takes place followed by a question
period. This tradition does not preclude other formats.
open to both members and non-members.
Article VI: Elections
shall propose a slate of nominees for the President,
Secretary-Treasurer, and replacement of outgoing members on the
Executive. The slate will be presented at the Annual General Meeting and
the floor will be open for other nominations. If there are no other
nominations, the slate will be approved by a simple majority vote. If
there are other nominations in competition, an election will take place
Article VII: Executive
shall be composed of a President, a Past President, a
Secretary-Treasurer, and no fewer than three members at large. They must
supporting members in
in the Society.
will fill unexpected vacancies.
officers shall serve for a term of three years
President, and Past President, shall not normally serve more than one
term in each office. The Secretary-Treasurer shall not serve more than
three consecutive terms.
decisions of the General Meeting
orientations and policies related to the Objectives of the Society and
consult the membership whenever appropriate
powers to officers, and appoint and delegate responsibilities to
editors of any Society publication
time and place of the Annual General Meeting
other activity relevant to the Objectives of the Society
i) Present the financial accounts of the
Society at its Annual General Meeting, audited by an appointed regular
member of the Society
A quorum at a
meeting of the Executive shall be four of its members.
shall be determined by a majority of votes. In cases of equality, the
President shall have the deciding vote.
the Executive shall be at the call of the President. Notice shall be
given to all members of the Executive at least two weeks prior to any
shall be charged with the responsibility of maintaining the Society
archives and records.
Members shall serve without remuneration,
salary, or profit from the position on the Executive, but they may be
reimbursed reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their
Officers and Executive Membership will be
assumed and relinquished immediately at the conclusion of each Annual
Article VIII: Officers
shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Society, shall preside at
all meetings of the Society, and see that all orders and resolutions of
the Executive, and at the Annual General Meeting, are carried into
Secretary-Treasurer shall attend all meetings, act as Clerk thereof and
record all votes and minutes of all proceedings, have the custody of
funds and securities of the Society, keep full and accurate accounts of
all assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements of the Society,
deposit all monies, securities and other valuables in the name and
credit of the Society as may be directed by proper authority taking
proper vouchers for such disbursement, render to the President and
Executive officers at the regular meetings of the Executive an
accounting of all transactions and a statement of the financial position
of the Society, and perform such other duties as may from time to time
be directed by the Executive.
Article IX: Finances
year of the Society shall terminate on 31 May.
shall cause to be kept by the Secretary-Treasurer proper records and
accounts of all transactions of the Society.
may decide on any financial transactions it sees fit to further the
objectives of the Society.
Article X: Constitutional Changes
member may submit an amendment to this Constitution to the
Secretary-Treasurer of the Society
discussed at an Annual General Meeting, ratification of the change shall
require the approval of two-thirds of the
present at the
To Return to History of Medicine Web Page