Visitors to the Special Collections Reading Room in March

Visitors to the Nixon LibraryJacqueline Rosenkranz and her mother Laura Rosenkranz, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, visited the Special Collections Reading Room of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library two times in early March.

On their first visit, Dr. Rosenkranz and Jacqueline looked through the library’s Catalog of Rare Book Treasures to learn about the collection, and to prepare a list of books they wanted to view.  Their list of nine books included Leonardo da Vinci on Movement of the Heart and Blood by Kenneth D. Keele (1952); Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery by Sir Charles Bell (1821); and a 1582 Latin edition of Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine.

Visitors to the Nixon LIbrary

Laura Rosenkranz, M.D. and her daughter Jacqueline visited the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library in early March.

When Jacqueline and Dr. Rosenkranz returned to the library a few days later Mellisa De Thorne, Special Collections Library Assistant, had organized the books so that they could spend the morning examining them.

One of the main differences between the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and the Briscoe Library general collection is that visitors to the Nixon library need to request that specific books be arranged for viewing by the library staff.  The books must be used in the Special Collections Reading Room, and returned at the end of the visit.

Other visitors to the Nixon library in March included:

  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters– Kipp Academy:  Three mentors and their charges visited on March 5, asking to see “the oldest book in the collection”.
  • Dr. Dan Peavy, D.D.S., M.S.D., from the Department of Developmental Dentistry:  While waiting for a meeting in the Howe Conference Room, he inquired about the library’s orthodontics collection.

The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library contains more than 5000 rare and historical medical texts dating from the 15th to the early 20th century.  Among its treasures are important works by Vesalius (De Humani Corporis Fabrica– 1543), Albinus (Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body — 1749), Burton (The Anatomy of Melancholy — 1632), and Hooke (Micrographia — 1667).  The oldest book in the collection– the one requested by the visitors from Kipp Academy– is the 1481 edition of De Medicina, written in 30 A.D. by Aulus Cornelius Celsus.  The De Medicina (1481) that is owned by the library was one of the first books to be produced after the invention of the printing press.

The core of the collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library was donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970s by the Bexar County Medical Society.

The library is open to the public, and the staff of the library welcomes visitors.   To schedule an appointment, email

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian