Argos

Nr. 20 (1999)

A. Mathijsen

At the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Netherlands Veterinary History Society (V.H.G.)

The origin of the Society is called to mind and the people involved at that time are mentioned. It can be concluded that the intentions made at the start, to meet at least twice a year and to publish a bulletin were carried out. Also some working groups were set up and some larger studies were published in a serial publication, called V.H.G.-Cahiers.
Nevertheless some critical remarks were uttered, pointing to the fact that of the 250+ membership only a few persons engaged themselves actively in historical studies. To improve this two courses were organized. As a result a greater involvement in the near future may be awaited.
The assumption is made that the situation could improve also if the members would dispose of a common knowledge base of the field. As this was not provided at the time when most of the members received their veterinary education (the teaching of veterinary history started only three years ago) and no postgraduate education is offered in this subject, the only solution is self-study. Part of the article is, therefore, devoted to draw attention to the books and information tools available that can assist getting this overview, or that can help in doing historical research. In order to stimulate the imagination a list of subjects worthwhile investigating is presented. 
Some remarks are made on the difference in approach of the sciences and the humanities, and, specifically, on the nature of history as a discipline. Following the article by Brumme and Schäffer (Argos, nr. 8, 1993) a sketch is given of the evolution in writing on veterinary history since the Renaissance. In the last part the main trends since the beginning of the 20th century in the neighbouring countries, France, England and Germany are outlined. 

Helmut Wentges and Stefan Hörmansdorfer
From folk medicine to pharmaceutical product. An attempt to depict the history of development of some selected drugs.
The first author started already in 1936 collecting objects and documents relating to veterinary medicine. This "Aschheim Veterinary Hospital Historical Collection" also includes materials in the fields of ethnology and folk medicine. Therefore, the history of drugs can be shown from their original uses in non-Western civilizations or in folk medicine until their application in the present time. In this article the development of four drugs, arecolin, morphin, cocain and curare is followed from their original uses, through their discovery by explorers, first experiments, isolation, chemical synthesis and application forms. Graphs are added to show the tendency of in- and decrease in the course of time for the original use in folk cultures and for their medicinal uses as well.

J.B. Berns
Hanging the afterbirth in the tree: folk customs and popular language about the secundines of the horse
This topic was the subject of a questionnaire sent out in 1957 by the Folklore Bureau, a department of the P.J. Meertens-Institute, working under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. The results were published in 1959 and 1969. The head of this Bureau at that time, and the author of these publications was J.J. Voskuil. He became a well-known writer when he started in 1996 the publication of his recollections of the daily life inside the Bureau in the form of a series of seven novels. In this article the results of the investigation are discussed. Map 1 and 2 show the geographical distribution of the modes of treatment, respectively in the past and in 1957. The different modes were: 1. hanging in a tree; 2. burying; 3. burying in the dunghill; 4. throwing away, destruction, feeding to swine etc.. Map 3 shows the use of the afterbirth of horse, cow and sheep for medicinal uses.
In the last part the author explains out of his own speciality, i.e. dialectology, the derivation of the words for the afterbirth in use in the several regions of The Netherlands (map 4).