Evi Numen is currently researching the acquisition and use of cadavers in medical school dissection in 19th century Philadelphia, as well as the illicit procurement of medical specimens as it relates to contemporary theories of criminology.
Imagining the Body Abnormal: Art and Artifice in Early Medical Photography
October 5th, 2015
Death Salon, Mütter Museum, Philadelphia
The curious story of One-eyed Joe and the 1867 Anatomy Act
"The study of medicine is booming in post-Civil War Philadelphia, boosted by the need for new medical approaches to treat the multitudes of the wounded veterans. With rising enrollment in medical colleges, the need for a fresh supply of cadavers for student dissections increases radically. The unclaimed dead of penitentiaries and pauper houses can fulfill only part of that need, and the urgency to procure more cadavers leads to more nefarious means of supply. In 1867, prominent Fellows of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and introduce the Pennsylvania Anatomy Act in an effort to regulate the avenues of cadaver supply. However 30 years later, the problems persist. in this illustrated talk, Evi Numen (Mütter Museum exhibitions manager, visual artist & photographer) discusses the struggle to legislate cadaver dissection and ownership through the case of one Joe Frankford, a famed horse-thief who dies at Eastern State Penitentiary in 1896, and becomes involved post-mortem in a scandalous and widely publicized court battle over his remains."
Friday, February 19, 2016
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Artist’s presentation for the CAMD Dean’s Lecture Series
The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons and the Barts Pathology Museum, London
In the Margins: How Physicians, Resurrectionists and Collectors evaded the Law in 19th Century Philadelphia
Monday, July 11, 2016
For Science! Four Tales of Body-snatching, Organ Collecting, and Fraud in 19th Century Philadelphia
How did physicians, resurrectionists and collectors evade the law in 19th century Philadelphia? And why? Philadelphia was a buzzing medical center in the late 19th century. With the flood of the weary, injured, and disabled veterans of the American Civil War, the need for hospitals and well-educated physicians increased tenfold. Medical schools sprouted, admissions rose, and with them the demand for bodies; cadavers for dissection and specimens for the classroom and research. Since lawful supply didn’t meet the high demand, anatomists, students and collectors had to resort to some rather questionable means to resolve that deficit. A one-eyed horse thief becomes the epicenter of a national scandal post-mortem, a “petrified body” is donated to a local museum, a fetal specimen is obtained from a dying woman, and a jar of anonymous epileptic brains raise questions about the how these specimens were collected and the scientific studies they were collected for.