San Antonio physician and historian Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon lent his name to what is now a treasure-trove of antiquarian texts, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Ophthalmology, surgery, and anatomy are particular strengths of the Nixon Library. Originally donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970s by the Bexar County Medical Society, the superb core collection has expanded to contain close to 5000 volumes of treasured medical texts. Over the years, the library has endeavored to identify and digitize works from this collection that are of particular historical value, to make them available to the public online through the library’s website. Other books from the collection have been digitized through grants from the University of North Texas and are available through the Portal to Texas History.
Atkinson, Donald Taylor (1874- ). Texas surgeon: an autobiography. N.Y.: Washburn, 1958.
An autobiographical account of the life of Dr. Donald Taylor Atkinson who overcame tremendous financial obstacles to gain an education. The author chronicles his family’s history, his upbringing in Canada, and his journey to become a surgeon in Texas.
Bell, Charles (1774-1842). Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1806.
Scottish anatomist Charles Bell’s Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting was the first textbook of anatomy for painters and illustrators. In it he analyzed the anatomical basis of facial expression and the errors artists typically make by neglecting to acquire a thorough knowledge of anatomy. In a series of beautifully detailed drawings, Bell showed how facial muscles are utilized to express human passions. The Nixon Library acquired this great book through generous donations.
Brunschwig, Hieronymus (ca. 1450-ca. 1512). Dis ist das buch der Cirurgia Hantwirkckung der wundartzny von Hyeronimo brunschwig. Strassburg: [J. Grueninger], 1497.
Brunschwig’s compilation of ancient and medieval medical knowledge is the first printed surgical treatise in the German language as well as the earliest detailed description of gunshot wounds. In picturesque scenes of the doctor at his patient’s bedside, the apothecary in his pharmacy, and villagers undergoing various medical remedies, we are given glimpses not only into medical conditions of the 15th century, but also into the fashions and interior décor of the period. Strasbourg was famous as a center for scientific studies and printing, and the outstanding woodcuts produced for this book – among the earliest medical illustrations – are a testimony of its standards. This copy is number 519 printed at the presses of the Druckerei Holzer, Weiber im Allgaeu, West Germany. The plates for this printing were made from the copy of the original 1497 Strasbourg edition.
Cerna, David (1857-1953). Notes on the newer remedies: their therapeutic applications and modes of administration. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1895, c1894.
A pharmacology reference text that includes physical characteristics, modern therapeutic applications and recommended dosages for various synthetic and natural drugs available in 1895. An index by diseases begins on page 229, and a general index begins on page 243.
Corner, William. San Antonio de Bexar: a guide and history. San Antonio: Bainbridge & Corner, 1890.
Serves as a guide and historical sketch of San Antonio, Texas. It includes descriptions of county and church records, interviews with memorable Texans, a discussion of the benefits of the San Antonio climate for individuals suffering from lung disease, descriptions of local churches, schools, public halls, parks and other establishments.
Scottish-born surgeon George Cupples moved to Texas in 1844, and subsequently served as surgeon for the Texas Rangers in the Mexican War and then for the Confederate Army. Afterwards, Cupples served as county commissioner and alderman, and as president of the Bexar County Medical Society, San Antonio Board of Health, Texas Medical Association, and the West Texas Medical Association. In this handwritten case book, Cupples captured patient notes and reports on both medical and surgical cases he treated between about 1853 and 1867.
Dixon, Chas. D. (Charles D.). The menace: an exposition of quackery nostrum exploitation and reminiscences of a country doctor. San Antonio: Lodovic Printing Company, 1914.
The purpose of Dixon’s book was to expose fraudulent doctors, practitioners and other professionals who treat individuals without the proper licenses. Includes detailed descriptions of malpractice, letters from a fake professor, newspaper advertisements for fake treatments and cures, and as well as other miscellaneous prosecutions in Bexar County, Texas.
Fisher, C. E. Queer quaint old San Antonio: its climate in throat and lung diseases. No publisher listed, 1895.
Describes the climate of San Antonio, Texas and its potential benefits to individuals suffering from lung illness and disease.
Genga, Bernardino (1620-1690). Anatomy improv’d and illustrated with regard to the uses thereof in designing… London: J. Senex 
English translation of Genga’s Anatomia per Uso et Intelligenza del Disegno,one of the finest examples of anatomy and artistry in balance, a masterwork from the age of copperplate engraving. The drawings of the human body by Charles Errard, court painter to Louis XIV, were based on Genga’s dissections, inspired by antique Roman statuary, and originally intended for painting and sculpture classes at the French Royal Academy. The Anatomia has since become one of the most famous books on anatomy for artists.
Herff, Adolph (1858-1952). Chemistry note-book. [Lexington, Virginia: Adolph Herff, 1876?]
Chemistry student notebook of Adolph Herff, noted San Antonio surgeon. Dr. Herff received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia in 1878. He returned to San Antonio in 1880 and began practice in association with his father, Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig von Herff. Dr. Adolph Herff remained in practice for fifty-five years, performing his last operation in 1933.
Herff, Ferdinand Peter (1883-1965). The doctors Herff: a three-generation memoir. San Antonio: Trinity Univ. Press, 1973.
A memoir written by Ferdinand Peter Herff, San Antonio physician, about his two ancestors, Ferdinand Ludwig von Herff and Adolph Herff, both early Texas physicians.
Hoyt, Henry Franklin (1854-). A frontier doctor. Boston: New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1929.
A autobiographical account of pioneer doctor Henry Franklin Hoyt chronicling his family’s history, his upbringing on a small farm in Minnesota, his work as a surgeon in New Mexico, Chicago, California, Texas and the Philippines, along with many other miscellaneous adventures. He was the first physician to practice medicine in the Texas Panhandle.
Massie, J. Cam. A treatise on the eclectic Southern practice of medicine. Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwai,t 1854 [c1853].
This book serves as a reference text on the theory and practice of medicine. It includes “a rapid sketch of the history…of medicine,” practical medicinal remedies, in depth discussions of the modifications of many diseases as they appear in Texas, special pathology and therapeutics, and common surgery practices.
Menger, Rudolph (1851-1921). Texas nature observations and reminiscences. San Antonio: Guessaz & Farlet Company, 1913.
A collection of photographs and photo-micrographs taken by Dr. Menger of native animal and insect life found around San Antonio in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s along with accompanying detailed narratives.
Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). A century of medicine in San Antonio: the story of medicine in Bexar County, Texas. Lancaster, PA.: Lancaster Press, Inc., 1936.
A history of the development of medicine in the San Antonio area including early physicians, hospitals, and clinics, and the development of the West Texas Medical Association and the Bexar County Medical Society. Nixon was a prominent physician in San Antonio who treated patients for over 50 years. He was a skillful writer and researcher and is recognized as the preeminent historian of Texas medicine.
Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). The medical story of early Texas. Lancaster, Penn. published by the Mollie Bennett Lupe Memorial Fund, 1946.
Highlights the story of medicine in Texas between 1528 and 1853, from the beginnings with Indian medicine to the development of the Texas Medical Association.
Nixon, Pat Ireland (1883-1965). A history of the Texas Medical Association. Austin Univ. of Texas Press, 1953.
This book is a narrative description of the Texas Medical Association over a period of one hundred years. Readers will follow the history of the Texas Medical Association and the small band of medical pioneers who contributed to the beginnings of organized medicine in Texas.
Nott, T. H. President’s address, delivered before the 19th session of the Texas State Medical Association. Waco, Texas: Brooks & Wallac, 1887.
Include the text of the address by T. H. Nott in 1887 regarding the protection of patients from quacks and fraudulent doctors.
Singleton, Albert O. An Account of the Early History of Surgery in Texas. Galveston, Tex: Texas Surgical Society, 1932.
Presidential address given before the Texas Surgical Society, October 24, 1932. Covers the early history of surgery in Texas, including the development of the specialty, early surgical procedures, the first medical associations and organizations, as well as discussions of notable Texas surgeons.
Smith, Theobald (1859-1934). Investigations into the nature, causation, and prevention of Texas or southern cattle fever made under the direction of Dr. D.E. Salmon, chief of the bureau of animal industry. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893.
This is a report on the nature, causation, and prevention of Texas cattle fever or the infection of cattle by ticks. Includes statistical tables and illustrations of red blood corpuscles infected by ticks.
Texas Eclectic Medical Association. Constitution and by-laws of the Texas Eclectic Medical Association of the state of Texas. Honey Grove, Texas: Texas Citizen Steam Print, 1891.
This pamphlet contains the text of the Texas Eclectic Medical Association’s constitution and by-laws, including the purpose of the Association, membership information, election of officers, resolutions, ethics, and other rules and regulations.
Banner image: Charles Bell, from Essays on the anatomy of expression in painting.