The Multiple Lives of Marjorie: The Dogs of Toronto and the Co-Discovery of Insulin

The Multiple Lives of Marjorie: The Dogs of Toronto and the Co-Discovery of Insulin At first glance, the two black-and-white photographs are unremarkable: a pair of men standing on a tar paper and gravel roof, coats and ties snapping in the breeze, a small collie standing between them (figures 1 and 2). The men are relaxed and happy. The dog, however, seems anxious: ears flattened back in the first picture, tail tucked between its legs in the second even as the man in the topcoat gives it an affectionate pat. The dog’s body language suggests attentiveness, maybe friendliness, yet also nervousness and submission.1 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Charles Best Papers, Manuscript Collection 241, Box 109, Folder 4, Digital ID P10007. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Charles Best Papers, Manuscript Collection 241, Box 109, Folder 4, Digital ID P10007. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting and Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10090. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting and Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10090. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. The men are Charles Best, on the left, and Frederick Banting, both research physicians at the University of Toronto. The dog has no name; it is just Dog 408. All three are atop the university’s Medical Building in August 1921, just outside of the “smelly, dirty garret” where the men worked in obscurity, performing surgeries and conducting experiments in the summer heat. On August 3, Banting had removed Dog 408’s pancreas to make it diabetic, and then kept it alive with injections of pancreatic extract derived from fetal calves until it died four days later.2 Dog 408 was one of many dogs who contributed to what Michael Bliss called “one of the genuine miracles of modern medicine,” the discovery of insulin.3 Banting, an Ontario physician and Great War veteran, had speculated that a mystery substance produced by the pancreas, which he originally called “isletin,” could reduce excess urinary glucose, a common symptom of diabetes.4 In the autumn of 1920, he convinced J. J. R. Macleod, an expert on carbohydrate metabolism at the University of Toronto, his alma mater, to back his investigations. A skeptical Macleod eventually provided a small laboratory and a young graduate student, Charles Best, as an assistant. The 1921 photos were testimony should Banting’s gut prove correct. Two years and many dogs later, Banting received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of what we now call insulin, the therapy that transformed a once fatal disease into a manageable condition.5 The miracle of Toronto would have been impossible without the dogs of Toronto. But what can photographs and other visual sources tell us about the place of animals in biomedical research? In an era before peer-reviewed clinical trials and industrial creatures bred specifically for experimentation, lines between scientist and animal research subject often blurred. Yet in many written histories about biomedical research, animals are often invisible. The initial publications announcing the breakthrough in Toronto, which often included images and accounts of the dogs, were an exception to this trend. As Susan Lederer explains, the invisibility of research animals was often intentional. Scientific researchers and journal editors manipulated images and descriptions of animal subjects (or eliminated them completely) to thwart criticism by antivivisectionists or to promote the vital role that animals played in medicine.6 Nonetheless, images of animals with scientists, biased as they are, can sometimes capture elements otherwise unavailable in printed sources, pointing to moments of intimacy where scientific discovery was less mastering nature than partnering with it instead. Some images of the dogs of Toronto abstracted cross-species intimacies, often for scientific purposes or political ends, while other images, made later and based on the original photographs, yielded new affections or hostilities instead. As Gregg Mitman and Kelley Wilder have argued, even while individual photographs can be “an epistemic object, the objects they in turn construct can be epistemic things.”7 Images documenting the discovery of insulin were scientific objects, yet they also acquired a social life of their own, generating new attachments between scientists and experimental animals or diabetics and their canine familiars. The consequences of these intimacies, real or imagined, ramified far beyond the act of discovery.8 At the same time, the original Toronto laboratory itself was more than just a scientific space devoted to disinterested research and intellectual advancement. It was instead a “living laboratory,” a site where human and animal bodies and geographies entangled to create a particular shared place. Within the laboratory, human scientists posed questions, using companionate animals as biotechnologies to test their premises. They injected their canine subjects with the rendered remains of pancreases extracted from fetal calves. Beyond the laboratory was the city of Toronto, home to the stray and abandoned dogs who were the mainstays of the insulin experiments. Dogs were essential to the functioning of the living laboratory: as research subjects, as repositories of knowledge, even as workers alongside the scientists who verified their hypotheses and claimed all the glory. Seen this way, the dogs of Toronto were, perhaps, co-discoverers of insulin as well.9 Much of the sensual, material evidence of this living laboratory is lost. Neither Banting nor Best described their working conditions beyond complaining about the heat and tight quarters. The barks and growls, piles of excrement and accompanying stench, feelings of excitement or fear on the part of so many dogs—these are impossible to recreate. Visual evidence provides a way to reimagine and reanimate this almost vanished past. Another photograph hints at how some of the relationships between scientists and animals in the living laboratory may have functioned. A female collie, Dog 33, looks up eagerly at a man, likely Banting, his face cut out of the frame, holding what could be a piece of meat in his hand (figure 3). Three empty carboys denote the location: once again on top of the Medical Building, just outside of the operating room. Dog 33 seems excited, her ears pulled back in a sign of affability with swishing tail caught mid-wag by the camera, eager to gobble the treat. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Dog 33 standing on the roof of the Medical Building with an unidentified figure, possibly Banting, ca. November 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10093. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Dog 33 standing on the roof of the Medical Building with an unidentified figure, possibly Banting, ca. November 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10093. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Banting had reason to dote on Dog 33. An inscription, missing in this copy but visible in others, states simply, “Dog 33, nine weeks after total pancreatomy [sic] (Nov. 18–Jan. 17).” Dog 33 was special because she was the centerpiece of a longevity experiment, eventually living for about seventy days thanks to pancreatic extract injections. An additional image, made at the same time, captures an alternative aspect of Dog 33. In two charts from November 18–29, 1921, Dog 33 appears instead as cubic centimeters of urine passed, blood drawn, or grams of sugar excreted to determine the physiological effect of the extract (figure 4). As the energetic collie morphs from dog into diagram, the data clinched Banting’s hunch: the mysterious pancreatic extract could control diabetes. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Chart showing glucose (sugar) levels in blood and urine for Marjorie (Dog 33), November 18–-29, 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Map Case, Digital ID M10001. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Chart showing glucose (sugar) levels in blood and urine for Marjorie (Dog 33), November 18–-29, 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Map Case, Digital ID M10001. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Taken alone, the two charts suggest that Dog 33 was nothing more than data. She lived the longest on the extract, and the numbers proved its efficacy. When Banting and Best withheld the extract for three days in mid-January 1922, Dog 33, once so spry, “became so weak that it was barely able to stand.” After resuming injections, they observed “decided improvement,” but the collie, covered in abscesses from repeated needle jabs, had already outlived her value. Limited extract supplies were set aside for human tests, and Dog 33 was euthanized on January 27, 1922.10 Even in death, Dog 33 was more than numbers, and the rooftop photographs can explain why. When Banting and Best published their results in February and May 1922, the previously mentioned photograph, along with another image of Dog 33 alone, in profile, stood next to a polished version of Banting’s original physiological charts.11 The photos were likely included to underscore the significance of the findings. In the 1922 articles, Dog 33 stayed Dog 33. But sometime later Dog 33 became the lone dog of Toronto with a name: Marjorie. Nowhere in Banting’s original laboratory notebooks does she exist as Marjorie. She acquired her title posthumously. But why was only Dog 33 named? The written record is murky. In his definitive account of the discovery of insulin, the late historian Michael Bliss lamented that Banting and Best kept “poor records of Marjorie” and the other dogs. It was an unfortunate “state of affairs” that later became ammunition for critics of the scientists’ methods and conclusions. Marjorie’s endurance was the lynchpin of their hypothesis: the pancreatic extract had kept her alive. Their supervisor, Macleod, doubted that Banting, who had limited surgical practice and no prior experience in metabolic studies, had fully removed Dog 33’s pancreas. An autopsy at Toronto General Hospital found a “small nodule … about 3 mm in diameter” of pancreatic tissue, but the unremoved portion had no insulin-producing islet cells. Promising future studies, Banting and Best decided that their experiments, especially on Dog 33, proved that the extracts had “an antidiabetic power” that could “prolong the life of a depancreated animal.”12 Poor recordkeeping, youthful ambition, professional immaturity, sloppy laboratory practices, personality conflicts—all of these would later fuel rancorous debates over who deserved credit. Even the Nobel Prize was a tarnished honor. Banting officially shared the 1923 award with his supervisor, Macleod, even though the two were already at odds over apportioning recognition because the senior scientist had performed almost none of the basic research.13 Disputes over who truly discovered insulin may explain why only Dog 33 acquired a name. In the scramble for honors, naming Dog 33 underscored the significance of the breakthrough as well as the importance of dogs in achieving it. Marjorie was both pioneer alongside her human companions as well as a hero sacrificed for scientific progress. Naming her reinforced the accomplishment. Christening Dog 33 as Marjorie also was something of an exception at the time because scientists and physicians were under assault by antivivisectionists. The movement in North America was at its peak in the early twentieth century. Dogs were of special concern. Many animal advocates believed that “human beings had special obligations to dogs” because they had lived for so long on “terms of intimacy” with their human familiars.14 Medical scientists acknowledged they faced skeptical, even hostile reactions to animal research. But during the prewar era, before standardized laboratory animals were widely available, investigators relied on animal shelters or pounds for consistent and inexpensive supplies of subjects, especially dogs. While individual hospitals often thwarted efforts by local humane societies to restrict access to pounds and shelters, the larger scientific community grew concerned that future research might become untenable. Research advocates thus began turning experimental animals into scientific objects. Individual names and gendered pronouns were scrubbed from articles in biomedical journals to prevent readers from seeing laboratory subjects as former pets. Editors began insisting that authors use objective medical terminology to efface any hints of animal suffering. The result was to erase animals as obvious physical presences in biomedical publications.15 Despite receiving acclaim from diabetics and physicians for their feat, Banting and Best faced hostility from antivivisectionists in Canada and abroad. A 1924 clipping in Banting’s papers includes an article from The Abolitionist, a Canadian antivivisectionist magazine, that accused the doctor of obtaining dogs from “a juvenile dog-thieving syndicate” or “slinking in midnight shadows on the trail of homeless dogs.” It played to fears animating antivivisectionists’ revulsion at medical research. An illustration depicts “The Vivisector,” who looks uncannily like Banting with slicked-down hair and round wire-rimmed glasses, holding a small limp dog by the scruff of its neck (figure 5). “Nice healthy little dog you are,” the Vivisector says, a smile creasing his face while he points a scalpel at the dog’s belly. “Now I’m just going to cut out your pancreas, and then you will get diabetes.” In contrast, the dog is a swirl of emotions: eyes rolled back, whites exposed, denoting fear and aggression, with perked ears and open mouth signaling compliance. The illustration contrasts the dog’s innocence with the physician’s malice, inviting the viewer to feel the same dread and confusion as the doomed canine.16 Figure 5. View largeDownload slide “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist (February 1, 1924): 17, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 114, Digital ID C10119. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 5. View largeDownload slide “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist (February 1, 1924): 17, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 114, Digital ID C10119. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Such attacks on Banting and his colleagues were not without merit. Dogs had long been used in diabetes and metabolism studies in Europe and North America thanks to the ready supply of stray and impounded dogs often available at scientists’ doorsteps.17 Like many turn-of-the-century cities, Toronto had its own large population of “yelping curs,” in the words of one 1880s report, some roaming the muddy streets, others rounded up and placed in pounds or shelters. Banting had ample dogs for his living laboratory thanks to the sprawling animal geography of Toronto.18 The young physician took advantage of this backdoor urban bestiary. And Banting needed a lot of dogs because, as an untested surgeon, he went through them quickly, often making mistakes, losing track of individual dogs, or double-counting subjects. When he later joked about paying for feral dogs out of his own pocket, critics pounced on his callousness as proof that researchers cared little for canine welfare.19 In later years, Banting rebutted charges of animal cruelty. In an unpublished 1940 memoir, he remembered the death of Dog 92 following an unsuccessful application of pancreatic extract. “I have seen patients die,” Banting wrote, “and I have never shed a tear,” but he recalled weeping for the unnamed collie.20 Earlier, in a 1923 lecture, he reminisced how another dog frolicked in the laboratory. “Somehow or another, he seemed so intelligent,” Banting noted, as if the dog knew “the part he was playing in the experiments and what it was for.”21 Banting countered antivivisectionists with his own anthropomorphic projections. Visual evidence from his papers points to fondness, however conditional, for his laboratory dogs. In an image, possibly from 1927, Banting holds a small dog upright on a bench (figure 6). He gently cradles the dog’s forelegs as he peers into its wiggling (and slightly blurred) face. The dog bears a slight resemblance to the frightened pup from the 1924 antivivisectionist cartoon, but here Banting’s countenance is warm and unguarded. So, too, is the dog’s expression, its eyes soft and mouth relaxed. Figure 6. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting with white dog in his laboratory at the Medical Building, ca. 1927, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 3, Page 154, Digital ID P10101. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 6. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting with white dog in his laboratory at the Medical Building, ca. 1927, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 3, Page 154, Digital ID P10101. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Contrasted to the original photographs of unnamed Dog 408 and named Dog 33 (Marjorie), taken on the roof of the Toronto laboratory, this is an image of interspecies interaction. Banting seems to care about the life in his hands, and the dog looks trusting and happy. Only the polished surface of the surgical table, with coiled restraints snaking beneath the dog’s belly, reminds us why Banting is in the picture. By this time, he is a celebrity, savior to millions, the youngest Nobel laureate ever in physiology or medicine. He was also trapped by his achievement and enmeshed in bitter quarrels with his former colleagues. Perhaps his smile is a flicker of nostalgia, projected onto the face of man’s best friend.22 In the years following the discovery of insulin, the dogs of Toronto, figuratively speaking, have run free across the visual landscape of biomedical science and diabetes activism. One 1946 article published in an Eli Lilly & Company newsletter had the rooftop portrait of Marjorie, misnamed “Margery,” as its centerpiece. The article lauded her as a “heroine” and “canine pioneer” for the pharmaceutical industry, “hailed and acclaimed by medical men throughout the world” for her sacrifice. Without Marjorie and the Toronto scientists, the argument went, Lilly would not have been the first firm to mass-produce insulin and save countless lives.23 Other pictures or descriptions of Dog 33 (Marjorie) or Dog 408 in textbooks, articles, and websites have further justified or condemned animal experimentation.24 Such depictions perform similar roles today even as animal rights advocates and biomedical scientists alike question the clinical value of animal models to investigate human health.25 For their part, many people with diabetes acknowledge the dogs of Toronto as coequals to the human scientists they credit with saving their lives. The naming of Marjorie, however it unfolded, may have contributed to this affinity and allegiance. The photographic evidence almost certainly has. Some diabetics have taken the original photographs from the Toronto laboratory rooftop, available freely online through the University of Toronto Library’s website or excerpted from the original scientific publications archived on the PubMed database, to create new relationships with their canine champions.26 One example is particularly poignant. In 2012 Jessica Apple, a woman with type 1 diabetes and cofounder of the online magazine about diabetes, A Sweet Life, claimed Marjorie as her “diabetes heroine.” “Banting and Best got all of the credit,” she wrote in homage, “but you deserve a fair share, too.”27 Two years later, in 2014, Jen Jacobs, an artist who reflects on life as a person with type 1 diabetes in her work, created a painting of Marjorie, adapted from one of the November 1921 photographs (figure 7). As in the original picture, Marjorie is looking up, expectantly, but here she stands alone. Neither Banting nor Best are in the frame. Her collar gestures to the international symbol of diabetes awareness, a sky-blue circle, along with an insulin vial dangling like a dog tag.28 The painting was emblazoned on T-shirts to raise money for the Diabetes Media Foundation, the nonprofit publisher of A Sweet Life. “With this shirt, we’re not just honoring Marjorie,” the editors wrote in an announcement, but also “the other dogs … for the diabetes treatments and tools we have today.” A statement of gratitude framed the image of Jacobs’s painting in the article: “Remember, heroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes they wear shaggy coats. Marjorie: Loyal to the cause since 1922.”29 Figure 7. View largeDownload slide Jen Jacobs, Marjorie, 2014. Acrylic on Bristol. Used by permission of Jen Jacobs (diabetesart.com) and ASweetLife.org/Diabetes Media Foundation. Figure 7. View largeDownload slide Jen Jacobs, Marjorie, 2014. Acrylic on Bristol. Used by permission of Jen Jacobs (diabetesart.com) and ASweetLife.org/Diabetes Media Foundation. Visual documents can provide nuance and perspective on a time when human researchers were on perhaps more personal terms with their animal subjects in the laboratory environment even as they disavowed close relations in their published research. Dominance and control coexisted with affection and cooperation because dogs were recognizable as pets and working companions as well as objects of study. Images from the past can point to the enduring if complicated intimacies between humans and animals in the laboratory and beyond.30 Insulin is a true miracle because there is animal nature mixed with human nature inside every vial—and in the images of the dogs of Toronto. Matthew Klingleis associate professor of history and environmental studies at Bowdoin College. He is the author of Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). He is finishing a book manuscript titled “Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Changing Nature of Modern Health.” This Gallery essay is part of that larger project, which was supported by a Bowdoin College Fletcher Family Award, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Notes This essay began as a Faculty Seminar Series talk at Bowdoin in April 2014. Many thanks to the attendees whose questions propelled my interest in writing this piece. The late Michael Bliss, Sean Kheraj, and the staff at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library provided vital advice before and after my January 2014 research trip. I’m grateful to Neil Maher, Cindy Ott, Connie Y. Chiang, Jay Taylor, and especially Kathryn Morse for their comments on earlier drafts. Additional thanks to Finis Dunaway and the two anonymous reviewers who pushed me to hone analysis and trim flab. Finally, I want to acknowledge Jen Jacobs Bachrach and the Diabetes Media Foundation for granting permission to use the painting of Marjorie, as well as the millions who face diabetes and its many complications daily. 1. I base my photograph readings of dogs in this article on the following: John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller, Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Change or Prevent Unwanted Ones, ed. Debra F. Horwitz and John Ciribassi, with Steve Dale (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014); and Juliane Kaminski, Jennifer Hynds, Paul Morris, and Bridget M. Waller, “Human Expression Affects Facial Expressions in Domestic Dogs,” Nature Scientific Reports 7, article 12914 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12781-x. 2. Michael Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 25th anniversary ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 67–73; and Banting: A Biography, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), 66–68. 3. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 11. 4. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 50; Frederick G. Banting, “The Story of the Discovery of Insulin,” unpublished manuscript (London, January 1940), 50–51, Manuscript Collection 76, Frederick G. Banting Papers, Box 1, Folders 9-13, University of Toronto Libraries. 5. The definitive account of this history remains Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin; see also Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010). 6. Susan Lederer, “Political Animals: The Shaping of Biomedical Research Literature in Twentieth-Century America,” Isis 83 (March 1992): 61–79. 7. Gregg Mitman and Kelley Wilder, “Introduction,” from Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Method (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 6. 8. I borrow the idea of intimacy from Brett L. Walker, “Animals and the Intimacy of History,” History and Theory: Theme Issue 52 (December 2013): 45–67. See also Chris Pearson, “Dogs, History, and Agency,” and David Gary Shaw, “The Torturer’s Horse: Agency and Animals in History,” History and Theory: Theme Issue 52 (December 2013): 128–45, 146–67. 9. For “living laboratory,” see Rom Harré, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). For creating new “multispecies” spaces, see Thom van Dooren and Deborah Bird Rose, “Storied-places in a Multispecies City,” Humanimalia 3 (Spring 2012): 1–27, and Thom van Dooren, Eben Kirksey, and Ursula Münster, “Multispecies Studies: Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness,” Environmental Humanities 8 (May 2016): 1–23. For “companionate species” and dogs as coworkers, see Donna Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), esp. 55–62. For living organisms as “biotechnologies,” see Edmund Russell, Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 133–42. 10. F. G. Banting and C. H. Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 7 (May 1922): 464–72 (quotations on 469); see also Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 120–22. 11. Banting and Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” 466–68; see also F. G. Banting and C. H. Best, “The Internal Secretion of the Pancreas,” Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 7 (February 1922): 256–71. 12. Banting and Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” 468, 471–72. 13. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 189–211. Following the announcement, Banting shared his portion of the prize with Best, who Banting felt was slighted by the Nobel committee, and Macleod did the same with James B. Collip, a biochemist recruited by Macleod to purify the extract later called insulin. 14. Lederer, “Political Animals,” 63–64. 15. Ibid., 65–73. 16. “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist, February 1, 1924, 17. For the antivivisection movement, see Harriet Ritvo, “Plus Ça Change: Antivivisection Then and Now,” BioScience 34 (November 1984): 626–33, reprinted in Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010), 73–90; and The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987), 157–66; J. T. H. Connor, “Cruel Knives?: Vivisection and Biomedical Research in Victorian English Canada,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 14 (1997): 37–64; and Lederer, “Political Animals.” 17. Previous researchers using dogs included German physiologist Oskar Minkowski, whose early work showed that removing or ligating the pancreas produced diabetes, and the Romanian physiologist Nicolae Paulesco, whose studies mirrored the Toronto experiments but was overlooked for Nobel consideration. See Louis Rosenfeld, “Insulin: Discovery and Controversy,” Clinical Chemistry 48 (2002): 2270–88; Stephen W. Barthold, “Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against Diabetes,” ILAR (Institute for Laboratory Animal Research) Journal 45 (2004): 227–30; and Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 25–42, 209–20, 233, 239. 18. Amanda Anne Margaret Sauermann, “Regulating and Representing Vagrant Curs and Purebred Dogs in Toronto, 1867–1910” (master’s thesis, Carleton University, 2010), quotation on 77; see also Sean Kheraj, “Living and Working with Domestic Animals in Nineteenth-Century Toronto,” in Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region, ed. L. Anders Sandberg, Stephen Bocking, Colin Coates, and Ken Cruikshank (Hamilton: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 2013), 120–40. For animal experimentation, see Anita Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Harré, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat; and Ritvo, Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras. 19. Rosenfeld, 2274; and Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 61. 20. Banting, “The Story of the Discovery of Insulin,” 42, also quoted in Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 77–78. 21. “Fondness for Mongrel Helped to Find Insulin,” Toronto Star, January 20, 1923. 22. For Banting’s life after insulin, see Bliss, Banting: A Biography, 157–310. 23. “Margie in the Role of Heroine,” The Lilly Review 6 (August 1946): 8–9, copy at Eli Lilly & Company Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana. The same article also noted that an image of Dog 33 (Marjorie) was on a mural at the Rochester Institute of Medicine in Rochester, New York. 24. For three additional examples, see cover and Gene E. McCormick, “Insulin: A Point in Time,” Tile & Till 57 (March 1971): 3–6, copy at Eli Lilly & Company Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana; John Lauermann, “Animal Research,” Harvard Magazine, January-February 1999, 49–57; and Anne Casselman, “Dogged Research: The Top 10 Canines of Science—Slide Show,” Scientific American, June 7, 2010, accessed March 19, 2015, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-ten-dogs-science/. 25. For critiques of animal research, see Rich McManus, “Ex-Director Zerhouni Surveys Values of NIH Research,” NIH Record 45 (June 21, 2013): 7; see also Barbara J. Culliton, “Extracting Knowledge from Science: A Conversation with Elias Zerhouni,” Health Affairs 25 (March 9, 2008): w98. For overviews of recent debates over animal research, see Nuno Henrique Franco, “Animal Experiments in Biomedical Research: A Historical Perspective,” Animals 3 (March 2013): 255–56. 26. For analyzing the circulation and recirculation of photographs as documents, see Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Pubic Culture, and Liberal Democracy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 1–48, 287–306. 27. Jessica Apple, “The Dog Behind Banting and Best: Marjorie, My Diabetes Heroine,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, May 20, 2012, accessed March 19, 2015, http://asweetlife.org/jessica-apple/blogs/insulin-pumps/the-dog-behind-banting-and-best-marjorie-my-diabetes-heroine/27404/. 28. Jen Jacobs, “Marjorie’s Fifteen Minutes,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, October 13, 2014, accessed March 19, 2015, https://asweetlife.org/marjories-15-minutes/. In 2006 the blue circle was adopted to promote UN Resolution 61/255 “World Diabetes Day.” See https://www.idf.org/images/Blue-circle-usage-guidelines.pdf, accessed October 10, 2017. 29. “A Dog with a Blue Collar: Get Your Marjorie Shirt and Support A Sweet Life,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, October 6, 2014, accessed March 19, 2015, http://asweetlife.org/tips/a-dog-with-a-blue-collar-get-your-marjorie-shirt-and-support-asweetlife/. 30. I take my ideas here from Yi-Fu Tuan, Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984). © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Environmental History and the Forest History Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmental History Oxford University Press

The Multiple Lives of Marjorie: The Dogs of Toronto and the Co-Discovery of Insulin

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Abstract

At first glance, the two black-and-white photographs are unremarkable: a pair of men standing on a tar paper and gravel roof, coats and ties snapping in the breeze, a small collie standing between them (figures 1 and 2). The men are relaxed and happy. The dog, however, seems anxious: ears flattened back in the first picture, tail tucked between its legs in the second even as the man in the topcoat gives it an affectionate pat. The dog’s body language suggests attentiveness, maybe friendliness, yet also nervousness and submission.1 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Charles Best Papers, Manuscript Collection 241, Box 109, Folder 4, Digital ID P10007. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Charles Best Papers, Manuscript Collection 241, Box 109, Folder 4, Digital ID P10007. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting and Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10090. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 2. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting and Best with Dog 408 on the roof of the University of Toronto Medical Building, August 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10090. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. The men are Charles Best, on the left, and Frederick Banting, both research physicians at the University of Toronto. The dog has no name; it is just Dog 408. All three are atop the university’s Medical Building in August 1921, just outside of the “smelly, dirty garret” where the men worked in obscurity, performing surgeries and conducting experiments in the summer heat. On August 3, Banting had removed Dog 408’s pancreas to make it diabetic, and then kept it alive with injections of pancreatic extract derived from fetal calves until it died four days later.2 Dog 408 was one of many dogs who contributed to what Michael Bliss called “one of the genuine miracles of modern medicine,” the discovery of insulin.3 Banting, an Ontario physician and Great War veteran, had speculated that a mystery substance produced by the pancreas, which he originally called “isletin,” could reduce excess urinary glucose, a common symptom of diabetes.4 In the autumn of 1920, he convinced J. J. R. Macleod, an expert on carbohydrate metabolism at the University of Toronto, his alma mater, to back his investigations. A skeptical Macleod eventually provided a small laboratory and a young graduate student, Charles Best, as an assistant. The 1921 photos were testimony should Banting’s gut prove correct. Two years and many dogs later, Banting received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of what we now call insulin, the therapy that transformed a once fatal disease into a manageable condition.5 The miracle of Toronto would have been impossible without the dogs of Toronto. But what can photographs and other visual sources tell us about the place of animals in biomedical research? In an era before peer-reviewed clinical trials and industrial creatures bred specifically for experimentation, lines between scientist and animal research subject often blurred. Yet in many written histories about biomedical research, animals are often invisible. The initial publications announcing the breakthrough in Toronto, which often included images and accounts of the dogs, were an exception to this trend. As Susan Lederer explains, the invisibility of research animals was often intentional. Scientific researchers and journal editors manipulated images and descriptions of animal subjects (or eliminated them completely) to thwart criticism by antivivisectionists or to promote the vital role that animals played in medicine.6 Nonetheless, images of animals with scientists, biased as they are, can sometimes capture elements otherwise unavailable in printed sources, pointing to moments of intimacy where scientific discovery was less mastering nature than partnering with it instead. Some images of the dogs of Toronto abstracted cross-species intimacies, often for scientific purposes or political ends, while other images, made later and based on the original photographs, yielded new affections or hostilities instead. As Gregg Mitman and Kelley Wilder have argued, even while individual photographs can be “an epistemic object, the objects they in turn construct can be epistemic things.”7 Images documenting the discovery of insulin were scientific objects, yet they also acquired a social life of their own, generating new attachments between scientists and experimental animals or diabetics and their canine familiars. The consequences of these intimacies, real or imagined, ramified far beyond the act of discovery.8 At the same time, the original Toronto laboratory itself was more than just a scientific space devoted to disinterested research and intellectual advancement. It was instead a “living laboratory,” a site where human and animal bodies and geographies entangled to create a particular shared place. Within the laboratory, human scientists posed questions, using companionate animals as biotechnologies to test their premises. They injected their canine subjects with the rendered remains of pancreases extracted from fetal calves. Beyond the laboratory was the city of Toronto, home to the stray and abandoned dogs who were the mainstays of the insulin experiments. Dogs were essential to the functioning of the living laboratory: as research subjects, as repositories of knowledge, even as workers alongside the scientists who verified their hypotheses and claimed all the glory. Seen this way, the dogs of Toronto were, perhaps, co-discoverers of insulin as well.9 Much of the sensual, material evidence of this living laboratory is lost. Neither Banting nor Best described their working conditions beyond complaining about the heat and tight quarters. The barks and growls, piles of excrement and accompanying stench, feelings of excitement or fear on the part of so many dogs—these are impossible to recreate. Visual evidence provides a way to reimagine and reanimate this almost vanished past. Another photograph hints at how some of the relationships between scientists and animals in the living laboratory may have functioned. A female collie, Dog 33, looks up eagerly at a man, likely Banting, his face cut out of the frame, holding what could be a piece of meat in his hand (figure 3). Three empty carboys denote the location: once again on top of the Medical Building, just outside of the operating room. Dog 33 seems excited, her ears pulled back in a sign of affability with swishing tail caught mid-wag by the camera, eager to gobble the treat. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Dog 33 standing on the roof of the Medical Building with an unidentified figure, possibly Banting, ca. November 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10093. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 3. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Dog 33 standing on the roof of the Medical Building with an unidentified figure, possibly Banting, ca. November 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 85, Digital ID P10093. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Banting had reason to dote on Dog 33. An inscription, missing in this copy but visible in others, states simply, “Dog 33, nine weeks after total pancreatomy [sic] (Nov. 18–Jan. 17).” Dog 33 was special because she was the centerpiece of a longevity experiment, eventually living for about seventy days thanks to pancreatic extract injections. An additional image, made at the same time, captures an alternative aspect of Dog 33. In two charts from November 18–29, 1921, Dog 33 appears instead as cubic centimeters of urine passed, blood drawn, or grams of sugar excreted to determine the physiological effect of the extract (figure 4). As the energetic collie morphs from dog into diagram, the data clinched Banting’s hunch: the mysterious pancreatic extract could control diabetes. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Chart showing glucose (sugar) levels in blood and urine for Marjorie (Dog 33), November 18–-29, 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Map Case, Digital ID M10001. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 4. View largeDownload slide Chart showing glucose (sugar) levels in blood and urine for Marjorie (Dog 33), November 18–-29, 1921, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Map Case, Digital ID M10001. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Taken alone, the two charts suggest that Dog 33 was nothing more than data. She lived the longest on the extract, and the numbers proved its efficacy. When Banting and Best withheld the extract for three days in mid-January 1922, Dog 33, once so spry, “became so weak that it was barely able to stand.” After resuming injections, they observed “decided improvement,” but the collie, covered in abscesses from repeated needle jabs, had already outlived her value. Limited extract supplies were set aside for human tests, and Dog 33 was euthanized on January 27, 1922.10 Even in death, Dog 33 was more than numbers, and the rooftop photographs can explain why. When Banting and Best published their results in February and May 1922, the previously mentioned photograph, along with another image of Dog 33 alone, in profile, stood next to a polished version of Banting’s original physiological charts.11 The photos were likely included to underscore the significance of the findings. In the 1922 articles, Dog 33 stayed Dog 33. But sometime later Dog 33 became the lone dog of Toronto with a name: Marjorie. Nowhere in Banting’s original laboratory notebooks does she exist as Marjorie. She acquired her title posthumously. But why was only Dog 33 named? The written record is murky. In his definitive account of the discovery of insulin, the late historian Michael Bliss lamented that Banting and Best kept “poor records of Marjorie” and the other dogs. It was an unfortunate “state of affairs” that later became ammunition for critics of the scientists’ methods and conclusions. Marjorie’s endurance was the lynchpin of their hypothesis: the pancreatic extract had kept her alive. Their supervisor, Macleod, doubted that Banting, who had limited surgical practice and no prior experience in metabolic studies, had fully removed Dog 33’s pancreas. An autopsy at Toronto General Hospital found a “small nodule … about 3 mm in diameter” of pancreatic tissue, but the unremoved portion had no insulin-producing islet cells. Promising future studies, Banting and Best decided that their experiments, especially on Dog 33, proved that the extracts had “an antidiabetic power” that could “prolong the life of a depancreated animal.”12 Poor recordkeeping, youthful ambition, professional immaturity, sloppy laboratory practices, personality conflicts—all of these would later fuel rancorous debates over who deserved credit. Even the Nobel Prize was a tarnished honor. Banting officially shared the 1923 award with his supervisor, Macleod, even though the two were already at odds over apportioning recognition because the senior scientist had performed almost none of the basic research.13 Disputes over who truly discovered insulin may explain why only Dog 33 acquired a name. In the scramble for honors, naming Dog 33 underscored the significance of the breakthrough as well as the importance of dogs in achieving it. Marjorie was both pioneer alongside her human companions as well as a hero sacrificed for scientific progress. Naming her reinforced the accomplishment. Christening Dog 33 as Marjorie also was something of an exception at the time because scientists and physicians were under assault by antivivisectionists. The movement in North America was at its peak in the early twentieth century. Dogs were of special concern. Many animal advocates believed that “human beings had special obligations to dogs” because they had lived for so long on “terms of intimacy” with their human familiars.14 Medical scientists acknowledged they faced skeptical, even hostile reactions to animal research. But during the prewar era, before standardized laboratory animals were widely available, investigators relied on animal shelters or pounds for consistent and inexpensive supplies of subjects, especially dogs. While individual hospitals often thwarted efforts by local humane societies to restrict access to pounds and shelters, the larger scientific community grew concerned that future research might become untenable. Research advocates thus began turning experimental animals into scientific objects. Individual names and gendered pronouns were scrubbed from articles in biomedical journals to prevent readers from seeing laboratory subjects as former pets. Editors began insisting that authors use objective medical terminology to efface any hints of animal suffering. The result was to erase animals as obvious physical presences in biomedical publications.15 Despite receiving acclaim from diabetics and physicians for their feat, Banting and Best faced hostility from antivivisectionists in Canada and abroad. A 1924 clipping in Banting’s papers includes an article from The Abolitionist, a Canadian antivivisectionist magazine, that accused the doctor of obtaining dogs from “a juvenile dog-thieving syndicate” or “slinking in midnight shadows on the trail of homeless dogs.” It played to fears animating antivivisectionists’ revulsion at medical research. An illustration depicts “The Vivisector,” who looks uncannily like Banting with slicked-down hair and round wire-rimmed glasses, holding a small limp dog by the scruff of its neck (figure 5). “Nice healthy little dog you are,” the Vivisector says, a smile creasing his face while he points a scalpel at the dog’s belly. “Now I’m just going to cut out your pancreas, and then you will get diabetes.” In contrast, the dog is a swirl of emotions: eyes rolled back, whites exposed, denoting fear and aggression, with perked ears and open mouth signaling compliance. The illustration contrasts the dog’s innocence with the physician’s malice, inviting the viewer to feel the same dread and confusion as the doomed canine.16 Figure 5. View largeDownload slide “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist (February 1, 1924): 17, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 114, Digital ID C10119. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 5. View largeDownload slide “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist (February 1, 1924): 17, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 2, Page 114, Digital ID C10119. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Such attacks on Banting and his colleagues were not without merit. Dogs had long been used in diabetes and metabolism studies in Europe and North America thanks to the ready supply of stray and impounded dogs often available at scientists’ doorsteps.17 Like many turn-of-the-century cities, Toronto had its own large population of “yelping curs,” in the words of one 1880s report, some roaming the muddy streets, others rounded up and placed in pounds or shelters. Banting had ample dogs for his living laboratory thanks to the sprawling animal geography of Toronto.18 The young physician took advantage of this backdoor urban bestiary. And Banting needed a lot of dogs because, as an untested surgeon, he went through them quickly, often making mistakes, losing track of individual dogs, or double-counting subjects. When he later joked about paying for feral dogs out of his own pocket, critics pounced on his callousness as proof that researchers cared little for canine welfare.19 In later years, Banting rebutted charges of animal cruelty. In an unpublished 1940 memoir, he remembered the death of Dog 92 following an unsuccessful application of pancreatic extract. “I have seen patients die,” Banting wrote, “and I have never shed a tear,” but he recalled weeping for the unnamed collie.20 Earlier, in a 1923 lecture, he reminisced how another dog frolicked in the laboratory. “Somehow or another, he seemed so intelligent,” Banting noted, as if the dog knew “the part he was playing in the experiments and what it was for.”21 Banting countered antivivisectionists with his own anthropomorphic projections. Visual evidence from his papers points to fondness, however conditional, for his laboratory dogs. In an image, possibly from 1927, Banting holds a small dog upright on a bench (figure 6). He gently cradles the dog’s forelegs as he peers into its wiggling (and slightly blurred) face. The dog bears a slight resemblance to the frightened pup from the 1924 antivivisectionist cartoon, but here Banting’s countenance is warm and unguarded. So, too, is the dog’s expression, its eyes soft and mouth relaxed. Figure 6. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting with white dog in his laboratory at the Medical Building, ca. 1927, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 3, Page 154, Digital ID P10101. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Figure 6. View largeDownload slide Photograph of Banting with white dog in his laboratory at the Medical Building, ca. 1927, Frederick Banting Papers, Manuscript Collection 76, Scrapbook 1, Box 3, Page 154, Digital ID P10101. Courtesy of the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Contrasted to the original photographs of unnamed Dog 408 and named Dog 33 (Marjorie), taken on the roof of the Toronto laboratory, this is an image of interspecies interaction. Banting seems to care about the life in his hands, and the dog looks trusting and happy. Only the polished surface of the surgical table, with coiled restraints snaking beneath the dog’s belly, reminds us why Banting is in the picture. By this time, he is a celebrity, savior to millions, the youngest Nobel laureate ever in physiology or medicine. He was also trapped by his achievement and enmeshed in bitter quarrels with his former colleagues. Perhaps his smile is a flicker of nostalgia, projected onto the face of man’s best friend.22 In the years following the discovery of insulin, the dogs of Toronto, figuratively speaking, have run free across the visual landscape of biomedical science and diabetes activism. One 1946 article published in an Eli Lilly & Company newsletter had the rooftop portrait of Marjorie, misnamed “Margery,” as its centerpiece. The article lauded her as a “heroine” and “canine pioneer” for the pharmaceutical industry, “hailed and acclaimed by medical men throughout the world” for her sacrifice. Without Marjorie and the Toronto scientists, the argument went, Lilly would not have been the first firm to mass-produce insulin and save countless lives.23 Other pictures or descriptions of Dog 33 (Marjorie) or Dog 408 in textbooks, articles, and websites have further justified or condemned animal experimentation.24 Such depictions perform similar roles today even as animal rights advocates and biomedical scientists alike question the clinical value of animal models to investigate human health.25 For their part, many people with diabetes acknowledge the dogs of Toronto as coequals to the human scientists they credit with saving their lives. The naming of Marjorie, however it unfolded, may have contributed to this affinity and allegiance. The photographic evidence almost certainly has. Some diabetics have taken the original photographs from the Toronto laboratory rooftop, available freely online through the University of Toronto Library’s website or excerpted from the original scientific publications archived on the PubMed database, to create new relationships with their canine champions.26 One example is particularly poignant. In 2012 Jessica Apple, a woman with type 1 diabetes and cofounder of the online magazine about diabetes, A Sweet Life, claimed Marjorie as her “diabetes heroine.” “Banting and Best got all of the credit,” she wrote in homage, “but you deserve a fair share, too.”27 Two years later, in 2014, Jen Jacobs, an artist who reflects on life as a person with type 1 diabetes in her work, created a painting of Marjorie, adapted from one of the November 1921 photographs (figure 7). As in the original picture, Marjorie is looking up, expectantly, but here she stands alone. Neither Banting nor Best are in the frame. Her collar gestures to the international symbol of diabetes awareness, a sky-blue circle, along with an insulin vial dangling like a dog tag.28 The painting was emblazoned on T-shirts to raise money for the Diabetes Media Foundation, the nonprofit publisher of A Sweet Life. “With this shirt, we’re not just honoring Marjorie,” the editors wrote in an announcement, but also “the other dogs … for the diabetes treatments and tools we have today.” A statement of gratitude framed the image of Jacobs’s painting in the article: “Remember, heroes don’t always wear capes. Sometimes they wear shaggy coats. Marjorie: Loyal to the cause since 1922.”29 Figure 7. View largeDownload slide Jen Jacobs, Marjorie, 2014. Acrylic on Bristol. Used by permission of Jen Jacobs (diabetesart.com) and ASweetLife.org/Diabetes Media Foundation. Figure 7. View largeDownload slide Jen Jacobs, Marjorie, 2014. Acrylic on Bristol. Used by permission of Jen Jacobs (diabetesart.com) and ASweetLife.org/Diabetes Media Foundation. Visual documents can provide nuance and perspective on a time when human researchers were on perhaps more personal terms with their animal subjects in the laboratory environment even as they disavowed close relations in their published research. Dominance and control coexisted with affection and cooperation because dogs were recognizable as pets and working companions as well as objects of study. Images from the past can point to the enduring if complicated intimacies between humans and animals in the laboratory and beyond.30 Insulin is a true miracle because there is animal nature mixed with human nature inside every vial—and in the images of the dogs of Toronto. Matthew Klingleis associate professor of history and environmental studies at Bowdoin College. He is the author of Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). He is finishing a book manuscript titled “Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Changing Nature of Modern Health.” This Gallery essay is part of that larger project, which was supported by a Bowdoin College Fletcher Family Award, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Notes This essay began as a Faculty Seminar Series talk at Bowdoin in April 2014. Many thanks to the attendees whose questions propelled my interest in writing this piece. The late Michael Bliss, Sean Kheraj, and the staff at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library provided vital advice before and after my January 2014 research trip. I’m grateful to Neil Maher, Cindy Ott, Connie Y. Chiang, Jay Taylor, and especially Kathryn Morse for their comments on earlier drafts. Additional thanks to Finis Dunaway and the two anonymous reviewers who pushed me to hone analysis and trim flab. Finally, I want to acknowledge Jen Jacobs Bachrach and the Diabetes Media Foundation for granting permission to use the painting of Marjorie, as well as the millions who face diabetes and its many complications daily. 1. I base my photograph readings of dogs in this article on the following: John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller, Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Decoding Your Dog: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Dog Behaviors and Reveal How to Change or Prevent Unwanted Ones, ed. Debra F. Horwitz and John Ciribassi, with Steve Dale (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014); and Juliane Kaminski, Jennifer Hynds, Paul Morris, and Bridget M. Waller, “Human Expression Affects Facial Expressions in Domestic Dogs,” Nature Scientific Reports 7, article 12914 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12781-x. 2. Michael Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 25th anniversary ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 67–73; and Banting: A Biography, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), 66–68. 3. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 11. 4. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 50; Frederick G. Banting, “The Story of the Discovery of Insulin,” unpublished manuscript (London, January 1940), 50–51, Manuscript Collection 76, Frederick G. Banting Papers, Box 1, Folders 9-13, University of Toronto Libraries. 5. The definitive account of this history remains Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin; see also Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg, Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2010). 6. Susan Lederer, “Political Animals: The Shaping of Biomedical Research Literature in Twentieth-Century America,” Isis 83 (March 1992): 61–79. 7. Gregg Mitman and Kelley Wilder, “Introduction,” from Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Method (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), 6. 8. I borrow the idea of intimacy from Brett L. Walker, “Animals and the Intimacy of History,” History and Theory: Theme Issue 52 (December 2013): 45–67. See also Chris Pearson, “Dogs, History, and Agency,” and David Gary Shaw, “The Torturer’s Horse: Agency and Animals in History,” History and Theory: Theme Issue 52 (December 2013): 128–45, 146–67. 9. For “living laboratory,” see Rom Harré, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). For creating new “multispecies” spaces, see Thom van Dooren and Deborah Bird Rose, “Storied-places in a Multispecies City,” Humanimalia 3 (Spring 2012): 1–27, and Thom van Dooren, Eben Kirksey, and Ursula Münster, “Multispecies Studies: Cultivating Arts of Attentiveness,” Environmental Humanities 8 (May 2016): 1–23. For “companionate species” and dogs as coworkers, see Donna Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), esp. 55–62. For living organisms as “biotechnologies,” see Edmund Russell, Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 133–42. 10. F. G. Banting and C. H. Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 7 (May 1922): 464–72 (quotations on 469); see also Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 120–22. 11. Banting and Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” 466–68; see also F. G. Banting and C. H. Best, “The Internal Secretion of the Pancreas,” Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 7 (February 1922): 256–71. 12. Banting and Best, “Pancreatic Extracts,” 468, 471–72. 13. Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 189–211. Following the announcement, Banting shared his portion of the prize with Best, who Banting felt was slighted by the Nobel committee, and Macleod did the same with James B. Collip, a biochemist recruited by Macleod to purify the extract later called insulin. 14. Lederer, “Political Animals,” 63–64. 15. Ibid., 65–73. 16. “Dr. Banting as Dog Stealer,” The Abolitionist, February 1, 1924, 17. For the antivivisection movement, see Harriet Ritvo, “Plus Ça Change: Antivivisection Then and Now,” BioScience 34 (November 1984): 626–33, reprinted in Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010), 73–90; and The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987), 157–66; J. T. H. Connor, “Cruel Knives?: Vivisection and Biomedical Research in Victorian English Canada,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 14 (1997): 37–64; and Lederer, “Political Animals.” 17. Previous researchers using dogs included German physiologist Oskar Minkowski, whose early work showed that removing or ligating the pancreas produced diabetes, and the Romanian physiologist Nicolae Paulesco, whose studies mirrored the Toronto experiments but was overlooked for Nobel consideration. See Louis Rosenfeld, “Insulin: Discovery and Controversy,” Clinical Chemistry 48 (2002): 2270–88; Stephen W. Barthold, “Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against Diabetes,” ILAR (Institute for Laboratory Animal Research) Journal 45 (2004): 227–30; and Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 25–42, 209–20, 233, 239. 18. Amanda Anne Margaret Sauermann, “Regulating and Representing Vagrant Curs and Purebred Dogs in Toronto, 1867–1910” (master’s thesis, Carleton University, 2010), quotation on 77; see also Sean Kheraj, “Living and Working with Domestic Animals in Nineteenth-Century Toronto,” in Urban Explorations: Environmental Histories of the Toronto Region, ed. L. Anders Sandberg, Stephen Bocking, Colin Coates, and Ken Cruikshank (Hamilton: L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 2013), 120–40. For animal experimentation, see Anita Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Harré, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat; and Ritvo, Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras. 19. Rosenfeld, 2274; and Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 61. 20. Banting, “The Story of the Discovery of Insulin,” 42, also quoted in Bliss, The Discovery of Insulin, 77–78. 21. “Fondness for Mongrel Helped to Find Insulin,” Toronto Star, January 20, 1923. 22. For Banting’s life after insulin, see Bliss, Banting: A Biography, 157–310. 23. “Margie in the Role of Heroine,” The Lilly Review 6 (August 1946): 8–9, copy at Eli Lilly & Company Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana. The same article also noted that an image of Dog 33 (Marjorie) was on a mural at the Rochester Institute of Medicine in Rochester, New York. 24. For three additional examples, see cover and Gene E. McCormick, “Insulin: A Point in Time,” Tile & Till 57 (March 1971): 3–6, copy at Eli Lilly & Company Archives, Indianapolis, Indiana; John Lauermann, “Animal Research,” Harvard Magazine, January-February 1999, 49–57; and Anne Casselman, “Dogged Research: The Top 10 Canines of Science—Slide Show,” Scientific American, June 7, 2010, accessed March 19, 2015, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-ten-dogs-science/. 25. For critiques of animal research, see Rich McManus, “Ex-Director Zerhouni Surveys Values of NIH Research,” NIH Record 45 (June 21, 2013): 7; see also Barbara J. Culliton, “Extracting Knowledge from Science: A Conversation with Elias Zerhouni,” Health Affairs 25 (March 9, 2008): w98. For overviews of recent debates over animal research, see Nuno Henrique Franco, “Animal Experiments in Biomedical Research: A Historical Perspective,” Animals 3 (March 2013): 255–56. 26. For analyzing the circulation and recirculation of photographs as documents, see Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Pubic Culture, and Liberal Democracy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 1–48, 287–306. 27. Jessica Apple, “The Dog Behind Banting and Best: Marjorie, My Diabetes Heroine,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, May 20, 2012, accessed March 19, 2015, http://asweetlife.org/jessica-apple/blogs/insulin-pumps/the-dog-behind-banting-and-best-marjorie-my-diabetes-heroine/27404/. 28. Jen Jacobs, “Marjorie’s Fifteen Minutes,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, October 13, 2014, accessed March 19, 2015, https://asweetlife.org/marjories-15-minutes/. In 2006 the blue circle was adopted to promote UN Resolution 61/255 “World Diabetes Day.” See https://www.idf.org/images/Blue-circle-usage-guidelines.pdf, accessed October 10, 2017. 29. “A Dog with a Blue Collar: Get Your Marjorie Shirt and Support A Sweet Life,” A Sweet Life: The Diabetes Magazine, October 6, 2014, accessed March 19, 2015, http://asweetlife.org/tips/a-dog-with-a-blue-collar-get-your-marjorie-shirt-and-support-asweetlife/. 30. I take my ideas here from Yi-Fu Tuan, Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984). © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Environmental History and the Forest History Society. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Environmental HistoryOxford University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2018

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