Biological Materials as Historical Artifacts

Does medical privacy last beyond the grave?  Historical artifacts that are biological materials, such as a lock of Beethoven’s hair or the blood of Lincoln–in the form of stains on bed sheets–can provide answers to historical questions: Were opiates included in the more than 75 medicines given to Beethoven on his deathbed?  Did Lincoln have Marfan syndrome?

This article describes the activities of a one interdisciplinary group organized by the Chicago Historical Society to look at these questions.

Glennda Chui, Rules Sought for Genetic Sleuths, Mercury News, April 9, 2004.


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