History of Medicine

History of Medicine lecture on November 8- Apocalypse Cow: The Strange Rise and Fortunate Decline of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Gregory Anstead MD, PhD, Director, Immunosuppression and Infectious Disease Clinics, Veterans Healthcare System, will be the speaker at the next Noon Lecture of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  He will speak on the topic, Apocalypse Cow- The Strange Rise and Fortunate Decline of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, popularly known as Mad Cow Disease.  The Noon Lecture Series provides opportunities for informal learning and conversation. Everyone is invited.  Please feel free to bring your lunch.

For more information about the Noon Lecture Series contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian, Hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu.


History of Medicine lecture series continues with HIV-AIDS

  • Thursday, May 26, noon to 1 p.m.
  • Howe Conference Room

In the fall of 1980, Dr. Michael Gottlieb of UCLA Medical Center received a referral on a gay, white male in failing health with wasting, Pneumocystis pneumonia, and oral candidiasis.  Over the next few months, he and other colleagues observed the syndrome in four other patients, and described the new entity of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 1981.  In 1984, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) responsible for this syndrome was discovered.

Infection with the HIV virus was found to predispose persons to opportunistic infections and cancers.  Epidemiologic investigations revealed the disease was transmitted sexually, by blood products, IV drug use, and from mother-to-child. Cases of AIDS exploded throughout the world in 1980s and 1990s. Millions upon millions have suffered and died. Efforts to control the disease have been hampered by prejudice against infected persons.  AIDS has become one of the greatest public health challenges in modern medicine.  Currently, about 33 million people are infected across the globe.    Efforts to develop vaccines against HIV have failed.  Nevertheless, in the last 15 years, combination antiretroviral therapy has transformed the treatment of HIV infection, converting a deadly disease into a chronic, manageable condition.  Analysis of the history of the HIV epidemic in the United States reveals the power of these drugs and also the deficiencies of drug therapy to combat this disease.

Dr. Gregory M. Anstead
Director, Immunosuppression and Infectious Diseases Clinics
South Texas Veterans Health Care System

History of medicine lecture series continues: Beyond Bugs and Drugs: Infectious Disease Discovery and Epidemiology

Navajo Painting

The deer mouse, an important carrier of hantavirus disease, depicted in Navajo art. Photo by permission, Ben Muneta, M.D.


Thursday, April 28, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.

Howe Conference Room, Briscoe Library

In May of 1993, members of the Navajo Nation in the Fours Corners area of the United States were stricken by a deadly pneumonia of unknown cause.  In less than two months, investigators from the CDC determined the infection was due to a new virus related to the Hantaan virus of Asia.  The infection was spread to humans by exposure to rodent excreta. 

The Four Corners area had a population explosion of rodents in 1993 due to an El Nino climate event, which caused an abnormally high level of precipitation.  Subsequently, it was discovered that many other species of Hantaviruses were lurking in the rodents of the New World. 

The spring lecture series, Beyond Bugs and Drugs: Infectious Disease Discovery and Epidemiology, sponsored by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library and the Briscoe Library, continues on April 28.  In the third talk of the series Dr. Gregory Anstead of the School of Medicine, director of the Immunosuppression and Infectious Diseases clinics of the South Texas Veterans Healthcare System, will explore the rapid discovery of the etiology and reservoir ecology of Hantavirus as evidence of the power of epidemiology and molecular diagnostics. 

As always, the event is free and open to everyone.  Please bring your lunch and join us!

For more information about the spring lecture series, contact Pennie Borchers, Special Collections Librarian, at borchers@uthscsa.edu.

History of Medicine noon lecture will explore the treatment of diabetic pregnancy in the early 20th century

pregnancy“We Named Her Priscilla: Diabetic Pregnancy in early 20th century and Dr. Priscilla White”

Thursday, November 14, 12:00 noon
Howe Conference Room
5th floor, Briscoe Library

Kirsten Gardner, Ph.D., will talk about Priscilla White, a 1923 graduate of Tufts University Medical School whose groundbreaking work contributed to deeper understanding of diabetes, including diabetes in pregnancy.

Dr. Gardner, an Associate Professor of History at UTSA, is a past president of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  Her research interests include women’s health, particularly the history of female cancers. Recent articles include “Hiding the Scars: A History of Post-Mastectomy Prostheses,” “From Cotton to Silicone: A History of Breast Prosthesis Since World War II”, and “Informing Women: Early Cancer Detection Skills.”

History of Medicine noon lectures, hosted by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, provide opportunities for informal learning and conversation. Everyone is invited. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian

History of Medicine presentation for March: Malaria in Central America

Panama CanalMarch 27, 6:00 pm

Howe Conference Room

5th floor, Briscoe Library

Eva Galvan, MSII and Member-at-Large for the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, will be the presenter at the March meeting of the History of Medicine Society.  Eva will speak about  The Impact of Mosquito Control on the Building of the Panama Canal.  Everyone is invited.

The History of Medicine Society is an interest group of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  Membership in the Friends is open to students, faculty and staff of the UT Health Science Center as well as members of the broader community.  For information about membership, contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian, at 567-2406 or hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu.

History of Medicine Society Annual Trivia Night

Along with all of his other accomplishments, Harvey Cushing, M.D. was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of what famous physician?

William Daniels – most noted for his role as Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World – has appeared in five medically-based television shows. Can you name them?

 Photograph of Participants at History of Medicine Society Trivia Night

Participants in the History of Medicine Society’s Second Annual Trivia Night attempted to answer these questions and more! On January 14, 2015, Ally Hertz MSIV quizzed three teams on their knowledge of medical history and medical popular culture. Six rounds of questions, as well as a halftime bonus and a final question, challenged UT Health Science Center students, faculty, retired faculty, staff, and guests.

Using some creative strategies, the Green Team came from behind to triumph on the final question by putting four significant medical advancements in the correct chronological order. Congratulations to the members of the winning team: Adelita Cantu, Ph.D., Jack Flores MSII, Eithan Kotkowski MSII, Michael “Bo” Still MSII, Becky Still, and Lisa Matye Finnie, MLS!

For more information on the activities of the History of Medicine Society, contact Anne Comeaux, Assistant Director for Special Collections, at 210-567-2428 or comeaux@uthscsa.edu.


Harvey Cushing, M.D. was awarded the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for his book entitled The Life of Sir William Osler.

William Daniels has appeared in Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, St. Elsewhere, Trapper John, M.D., and Quincy, M.E.

History of Medicine Society will hold organizational meeting October 3

Illustration of a fly’s eye from Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665), collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. The Micrographia is one of the books that will be featured in Dr. Charleen Moore’s presentation on some of the treasures of the Nixon library.

A new organization is being formed at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The History of Medicine Society will provide a relaxed, interactive setting, with opportunities to discuss interesting stories of our predecessors as enrichment to our scientific and medical endeavors.  Membership will be open to students, faculty, and staff from all schools at UT Health Science Center, as well as from local undergraduate institutions.

Everyone is invited to learn more at the group’s introductory meeting, which will be held October 3, 2012 at 6:00 pm in the Howe Conference Room, 5th floor, Briscoe Library next to the Special Collections Reading Room.

For the group’s first program, Dr. Charleen Moore from the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology will speak about some of the rare book treasures of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  Among the books she will discuss that will be on display following her presentation are:

Oldest book in the Nixon library

1481 Celsus, De Medicina, Roman medicine


1543 A. Vesalius, De Fabrica

1597 (1924 facsimile) Ketham, The fasciculus medicinae

1749 B. Albinus, Tables of Skeleton and Muscles

Natural History

1859 C. Darwin On the Origin of Species (1st edition)


1778 J. Hunter, Natural History of Human Teeth

General Medicine

1582 Avicenna, Canon of Medicine


1667 R. Hooke, Micrographia


1851 J. Hunter, The Gravid Uterus


1583 G. Bartisch, Ophthalmodouleia (1st edition)


1859 F. Nightingale, Notes on Nursing (1st edition)


1821 C. Bell, Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery


1632 Burton Anatomy of Melancholy – oldest printed book in English


1785 W. Withering, An Account of the Foxglove (1st edition)

Early San Antonio and Texas

1853 G. Cupples, Case Books (one of San Antonio’s early physicians)

1936 P.I. Nixon, A Century of Medicine in San Antonio

1946 P.I. Nixon, The Medical Story of Early Texas

Newest  Addition

1801, 1806, 1808 J. Bell, The Principles of Surgery (3 vol. 1st editions)


An RSVP will be appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, please contact one of the individuals below.

Suzanne Thibodeaux, MS-4, thibodeauxs@livemail.uthscsa.edu

Daniel Barron, GS-2, barrond@livemail.uthscsa.edu

Lindsey Jackson, MS-4, jacksonla@livemail.uthscsa.edu

Dr. Charleen Moore, Faculty Advisor, moorec@uthscsa.edu

Illustrator for the Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations to speak April 10

Dr.-Carlos-MachadoWednesday, April 10

6:00 pm

Howe Conference Room, Briscoe Library

Dr. Carlos Machado, physician and artist for The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations, will speak to the History of Medicine Society of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on April 10, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the evening.  Dr. Machado will speak on the topic: Converging Paths: The Styles of Netter and Machado.

An exhibit, The Artistic Style of Carlos Machado, MD: Selected Illustrations from the Netter Art Collection, is currently on display on the third floor of the Briscoe Library.  The exhibit is on loan from NetterImages.com, ©Elsevier.

Before his artistic talents took his career in a different direction, Dr. Machado practiced medicine as a cardiologist in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His skill in medical illustration came to the attention of Ciba-Geigy, which at that time controlled the illustration work initiated by Dr. Frank H. Netter.  Dr. Machado has contributed to the Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations for nineteen years, working first for Ciba-Geigy/Novartis, then Icon, and finally Elsevier. He has added over 1,000 new illustrations to the collection, and also updated many of the Netter images to reflect current medical practice and knowledge.

As part of his talk on April 10, Dr. Machado will discuss how his technique has evolved over time, and the factors that influenced his development as an artist. He will discuss his experience working in various media, and comment on similarities and differences between his and Dr. Netter’s professional training, styles, and particular techniques.

Dr. Machado received his medical degree at the Faculdade Medicina de Teresopolis, and his postgraduate degree in cardiology from Santa Casa de Misericordia in Rio de Janeiro.  His illustrations can be seen in Clinical Symposia, The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations, and the highly acclaimed Interactive Atlas of Clinical Anatomy.

The Netter Presenter database, which contains images from Netter: Atlas of Human Anatomy 5th Edition, can be accessed online through the database page on the library’s website.

Other Netter anatomical resources, including print resources, can be found by searching with the keyword “Netter” in the library’s online catalog.

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian

In the history of medicine — Early ophthalmology text turns 500 this year

First page of treatise "De oculis" from Champier's _Speculum Galeni_

The first page of the treatise "De oculis" from Symphorien Champier's _Speculum Galeni_ (Lyon, 1512)

The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library is celebrating the 500th birthday of one of its treasures, an edition of Symphorien Champier’s Speculum Galeni.  The book includes one of the first treatises on ophthalmology ever printed.

Symphorien Champier (1472-1539) was an early French humanist and physician to Charles VIII, Louis XII, and the Duke of Lorraine.  He settled in Lyon, where he established the College of the Doctors of Lyon and studied Greek and Arab scholars, as well as medicinal science, composing a great number of historical works.   He was also an admirer of Galen, the great second-century Greek physician and philosopher.  Champier set out to expand his contemporary colleagues’ knowledge of Galen by using a powerful new tool: the printing press.  

Speculum Galeni, printed in Lyon in 1512, begins with Champier’s own biography of Galen and a list of Galenic works.  It continues with Champier’s careful compilation of Latin translations of key works that were (at that time) attributed to Galen, to form a complete Treatise of Medicine.  Included in the compilation is “De oculis,” a treatise on the eyes, the first page of which appears in the photo above. According to later historians, “De oculis” may not have been Galen’s at all — it is only known today from this Latin translation, and no Greek original has ever been found.  Nonetheless, its inclusion in Champier’s compilation makes it one of the first printed works on the subject of ophthalmology.

Our copy of Speculum Galeni is bound together with another work of Champier called Practica nova in medicina which was probably printed several years earlier, around 1509. The beautiful binding was also created around the same time; it is stamped pigskin over wooden boards with metal clasp closures.  The whole volume is in beautiful condition.

Photo of cover of our copy of Champier's book

The handcrafted early-16th-century cover of Champier's book.

We know from the stamps and inscriptions in the book that it once belonged to the Strahov Monastery Library in Prague.

Speculum Galeni came to the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library as part of the Andrew A. Sandor Ophthalmology collection, a group of some 400 rare and historical books that the library acquired in 1988. We invite you to come and see this historical treasure, along with many other treasures on the history of ophthalmology such as Georg Bartisch’s Ophthalmodouleia (1583) and Samuel Thomas Sommering’s Abbildungen des menschlichen Auges (1801).

The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Reading Room is located on the fifth floor of the Briscoe Library and is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  In order to view books in the collection, it is best to schedule an appointment prior to visiting by calling 567-2470.

Luke Rosenberger, Director of Library Technology and Historical Collections

Integrating the humanities into anatomy instruction

Article documents art and anatomy workshop offered at the UT Health Science Center

Penelope Borchers, Special Collections Librarian, is a co-author with Dr. Charleen Moore of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, of an article in an upcoming issue of Anatomical Sciences Education:

Moore, C. M., Lowe, C., Lawrence, J., & Borchers, P. (2011). Developing observational skills and knowledge of anatomical relationships in an art and anatomy workshop using plastinated specimens, in press. Anatomical Sciences Education. Epub ahead of print retrieved July 29, 2011. doi: 10.1002/ase.244.

Constance Lowe, M.F.A. and Jayne Lawrence, M.F.A., both of UTSA, are also co-authors.

The article describes art and anatomy workshops that took place in the Briscoe Library in 2009 and 2011.  The workshops rely in part on materials housed in the collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

From the abstract: Many medical schools have developed formal art observation training in conjunction with nearby art museums to enhance the visual diagnostic skills of their medical students. We report here on an art and anatomy workshop that paired medical and art students who did drawing exercises from plastinated anatomical specimens and the animated face to hone observational skills… We propose workshops such as these …  will assist the medical student in developing diagnostic skills for identifying disease and the art student in using the human body as subject. We further propose that these programs will help students develop humanistic sensitivities and provide an outlet for expression of the emotional aspects of dealing with disease and mortality.