An Interactive Annotated World Bibliography of Printed and Digital Works in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences from Circa 2000 BCE to 2022 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman (1945- ) Traditionally Known as “Garrison-Morton”

16018 entries, 14076 authors and 1941 subjects. Updated: July 14, 2024

LISTER, Joseph, 1st Baron Lister

12 entries
  • 2298

On the early stages of inflammation.

Phil. Trans., 148, 645-702, 1858.

This paper reports the results of one of Lister’s most valuable researches; his conclusions still hold today.

  • 871

On the coagulation of the blood.

Proc. roy. Soc. (Lond.), (1862), 12, 580-611, 1863.

In his Croonian Lecture Lister exploded the theory that blood coagulation is due to ammonia and showed that, in the blood vessels, it depends upon their injury. He further showed that by carrying out the strictest precautions he could keep blood free from putrefaction indefinitely, thus supporting his theory that bacteria were the cause of wound suppuration.

Subjects: HEMATOLOGY › Coagulation , SURGERY: General › Wound Healing
  • 4469

On excision of the wrist for caries.

Lancet, 1, 308-12, 335-38, 362-64, 1865.

Subjects: ORTHOPEDICS › Orthopedic Surgery & Treatments › Amputations: Excisions: Resections
  • 4423.1
  • 5634

On a new method of treating compound fracture, abscess, etc., with observations on the conditions of suppuration.

Lancet, 1, 326-29, 357-59, 387-89, 507-09; 2, 95-96, 1867.

Lister’s work on the antiseptic principle in surgery. He believed that bacteria could enter wounds and cause suppuration and putrefaction and that it was necessary to kill the bacteria already in wounds and to apply dressings impregnated with some bactericidal substance. He finally hit on carbolic acid for this purpose. When this work was done it had not yet been proved that bacteria were the cause of disease. The above work is reprinted in Med. Classics, 1937, 2, 28-71.

Subjects: ORTHOPEDICS › Orthopedic Surgery & Treatments › Fractures & Dislocations, SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis, SURGERY: General › Wound Healing
  • 5635

On the antiseptic principle in the practice of surgery.

Lancet, 2, 353-56, 668-69, 1867.

Having realized the significance of Pasteur’s work on fermentation, Lister evolved the idea of the antiseptic prevention of wound infection. This and the preceding entry represent two of the most epoch-making contributions to surgery. The paper in reprinted in Med. Classics, 1937, 2, 72-83.

Subjects: SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis, SURGERY: General › Wound Healing
  • 2964

Observations on ligature of arteries on the antiseptic system.

Lancet, 1, 451-55, 1869.

Lister evolved a carbolized catgut ligature, better than any previously produced. He was able to cut short the ends of his ligature, closing the wound tightly and eliminating the necessity for bringing the ends of ligatures out through the wound.

Subjects: VASCULAR SURGERY › Ligations
  • 2170

A method of antiseptic treatment applicable to wounded soldiers in the present war.

Brit. med. J., 2, 243-44., 1870.

In 1870, for the first time on the battlefield, French and German army surgeons applied antiseptic methods in the management of wounds. Lister published the above short paper describing the simplest method he could devise to use carbolic as an antiseptic.

Subjects: MILITARY MEDICINE, SURGERY & HYGIENE, SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis, SURGERY: General › Wound Healing
  • 1619

On the effects of the antiseptic system of treatment upon the salubrity of a surgical hospital.

Lancet 1, 4-6, 40-42, London, 1870.

Subjects: PUBLIC HEALTH, SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis
  • 2484

A further contribution to the natural history of bacteria and the germ theory of fermentative changes.

Quart. J. micr. Sci., n.s. 13, 380-408, 1873.

Isolation of Bacterium lactis, the specific micro-organism responsible for the lactic acid fermentation of milk.

Subjects: BACTERIOLOGY › BACTERIA (mostly pathogenic; sometimes indexed only to genus) › Gram-Positive Bacteria › Lactobacillus , MICROBIOLOGY, Zymology (Zymurgy) (Fermentation)
  • 2489

On the lactic fermentation and its bearings on pathology.

Trans. path. Soc. Lond., 29, 425-67, 18771878.

Lister was the first to obtain a pure culture of a bacterium (Bact. lactis).  Lister first presented the results of this research in an address to the Royal Society on December 18, 1877. Because of its historic significance the text of the lecture was almost immediately published in Lancet,II, 918-921 in the issue of December 22, 1877. His full report in the Transactions of the Pathological Society of London appeared significantly later, in 1878. In the lecture Lister actually demonstrated before his audience how to obtain a "pure culture" of an organism.
(Thanks to Juan Weiss for this reference and its interpretation.)

Joseph Lister's goal was to show that a pure culture of Bacterium lactis, normally present in milk, uniquely caused the lactic acid fermentation of milk. To demonstrate this fact he devised a procedure to obtain a pure clonal population of B. lactis, a result that had not previously been achieved for any microorganism. Lister equated the process of fermentation with infectious disease and used this bacterium as a model organism, demonstrating its role in fermentation; from this result he made the inductive inference that infectious diseases of humans are the result of the growth of specific, microscopic, living organisms in the human host.... By demonstrating that a microscopic living entity smaller than a yeast cell could cause fermentation, he was able to argue ‘that other organisms may exist … smaller than the B. lactis’, and not readily visible in diseased human tissues, could be the cause of infectious disease in humans.3 This paper was a landmark for two reasons. It was the first example of the use of a bacterium as a model organism and also for the invention of a procedure, now characterized as the limiting dilution method, for isolating a specific bacterium in a pure form, providing a first case of bacterial cloning.4 (Santer, "Joseph Lister: first use of a bacterium as a 'model organism' to illustrate the cause of infectious disease of humans," Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 64, 2009) .

Subjects: BACTERIOLOGY › BACTERIA (mostly pathogenic; sometimes indexed only to genus) › Gram-Positive Bacteria › Lactobacillus , MICROBIOLOGY, Zymology (Zymurgy) (Fermentation)
  • 5616

An address on the catgut ligature

Trans. clin. Soc. Lond., 14, pp. xliii-lxiii, 1881.

Subjects: SURGERY: General
  • 85

The collected papers of Joseph, Baron Lister. 2 vols.

Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909.

Lister, a pupil of Sharpey, became Professor of Surgery successively at Glasgow, Edinburgh and King’s College, London. He was the first medical man in Britain to be raised to the peerage. The founder of the antiseptic principle, his work had a profound effect upon modern surgery and obstetrics. It is to be remembered that Oliver Wendell Holmes and Ignaz Semmelweis had both, before Lister, striven without success to obtain the adoption of antisepsis in obstetrics. Because Lister never wrote any books, his Collected papers remain his lasting monument. Lister's collected works were "prepared for the press by a Committee consisting of:" Sir Hector C. Cameron, Sir. W. Watson Cheyne, Rickman J. Godlee, C. J. Martin, Dawson Williams.

Sir Rickman Godlee’s biography of Lister appeared (2nd ed.) in 1918. A shorter biography was published by H. C. Cameron in 1948, and another by D. Guthrie in 1949. See also R. Fisher, Joseph Lister, New York: Stein & Day, 1977. Digital facsimile of the 1909 edition from the Internet Archive at this link.

Subjects: BACTERIOLOGY, Collected Works: Opera Omnia, SURGERY: General › Antisepsis / Asepsis