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1441 Book Club: Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovations at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristine O'Keefe Aptowicz

  • Monday, June 05, 2017
  • 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • 1441 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610

The Rochester Academy of Medicine & The Rochester Medical Museum and Archives are excited to announce the launch of 1441 Book Club! Join us every 6 weeks, as we explore healthcare themed books on a variety of topics. All interested are welcome to participate.

Dr. Mutter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovations at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristine O'Keefe Aptowicz


A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities
Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia, performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools—or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the mid-nineteenth century.

Although he died at just forty-eight, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time. Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mütter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia’s renowned Mütter Museum.

Award-winning writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mütter’s efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation—despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mütter’s “overly modern” medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The Devil in the White CityDr. Mütter’s Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the “[P. T.] Barnum of the surgery room.”

Availability through Monroe County Library System:

  • 1 book

Discussion begins at  6:00 - 7:00 PM. Light super served at 5:45 PM.

Free parking, enter through the double glass doors at the back of the building. Building is accessible.

No registration required but if you have questions please call Kathleen Britton 585-922-1865 or Lydia Nicholson 585-271-1314


1441 East Avenue

Rochester, NY 14610


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