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Medical image archive dates from beginning of photography

Burns Archive old photographs

The Burns Archive contains more than a million medically related photos, such as this one of Dr. William L. Rodman‘s Surgical Clinic, Philadelphia, March 26, 1902. (PHOTOGRAPH © STANLEY B. BURNS, MD, and THE BURNS ARCHIVE)

Adviser Stanley Burns, MD, instructs actor Clive Owen on historical accuracy on the set of the Cinemax series The Knick, set in a New York City hospital in 1900. (PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY CYBULSKI / CINEMAX)

Adviser Stanley Burns, MD (left), instructs actor Clive Owen on historical accuracy on the set of the Cinemax series "The Knick," set in a New York City hospital in 1900. (PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY CYBULSKI / CINEMAX)

A passion for detail and for history led Stanley Burns, MD, to amass an unparalleled collection of medical photos dating back to 1839 and to advise for historical accuracy on major TV series, such as the Cinemax‘s “The Knick,” set in 1900, and PBS‘s “Mercy Street,” set in the Civil War. Burns, a New York City ophthalmologist who graduated from Upstate Medical University in 1964, said the old photos remind him that what the best medical minds are doing today will look just as strange in 50 or 100 years and that we can‘t know what details will seem important in the future. He tells how a rented apartment in Syracuse helped inspire his collection, which he has exhibited around the world, and how he went on to write more than 44 books about medical history as well.

 
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