History of Medicine

Interdisciplinary Art and Anatomy Workshop showcases the resources of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Dr. Charleen Moore, Ph.D. of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, Jayne Lawrence, M.F.A., of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and Penelope Borchers, M.L.S., Special Collections Librarian in the Briscoe Library, organized the Art and Anatomy Workshop as an interdisciplinary experience in the representation of the human body.  The workshop is built around the resources of the rare book collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, including original works by Vesalius (1514-1564), Albinus (1697-1770), Paolo Mascagni (1755-1815), William Hunter (1718-1783) and John Hunter (1728-1793).

On April 8, senior art students from Ms. Lawrence’s advanced special studies class at UTSA joined second and third year medical and dental students for the day-long workshop, which took place in the Howe Conference Room and the Special Collections Reading Room of the Briscoe Library.

Dr. Moore  spoke about anatomists/artists from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and Nancy Place, M.S., Director of Multimedia Services, provided an introduction to the contemporary field of medical illustration.   Two guests, Carlos Machado, M.D., medical illustrator for the Elsevier Netter Collection; and Ron Philo, Ph.D., retired senior lecturer in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, were available to interact one-on-one with the students. Dr. Philo is the author of two books on the anatomical drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci.  David Baker, M.A., Sam Newman, B.F.A,. and Christopher McKee, B.F.A., medical illustrators in the Department of Information Management and Services – Academic Technology Services, were also present.

Students had the opportunity to examine many rare anatomical texts from the P.I. Nixon collection.  They ended the day with a studio drawing session organized around plastinated human specimens from the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology.

Susan Hunnicutt
Special Projects Librarian

Also in April

Students of the history of anatomy visited the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on Friday, April 22.

The History of Anatomy course is offered each spring as an Enrichment Elective for first year medical students and a Special Topics course for graduate students.  Dr. Charleen Moore is director of the course.

Rare Books in the Special Collections Reading Room

John Hunter: “the father of scientific surgery”: Resources from the collection of the P.I. Nixon Library

Scottish anatomist and surgeon John Hunter is described as “the father of scientific surgery.”

Illustration of jaws and teeth from The natural history of the human teeth: explaining their structure, use, formation, growth, and diseases, by John Hunter, 1778.

The youngest of ten children, Hunter grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Glasgow and received only a basic education.  After spending several years as a cabinetmaker, he joined his brother William, a prominent anatomist and obstetrician, in London.  There, while preparing specimens for William’s anatomy lectures, John had dealings with the notorious ‘resurrection men’ who supplied medical schools with cadavers.  John’s dissection skills were so impressive that he was taken on as William’s assistant, and in 1753, after studying medicine, he became a master anatomist.

During the Seven Years’ War John Hunter served as staff surgeon in the British Army, gathering experiences he would later compile into his famous treatise on gunshot wounds.  Back in London, he returned to surgical practice and to his extensive collection of specimens, one of which was the skeleton of Charles Byrne, the legendary Irish pituitary giant.  Hunter’s reputation grew, and he eventually became a Fellow of the Royal Society and surgeon-extraordinaire to George III.

John Hunter was one of science’s most brilliant innovators.  He published breakthrough studies on venereal disease (inadvertently contracting syphilis in the course of his experiments). He also developed important new surgical techniques – among them, methods for repairing the Achilles tendon and for arterial ligature in cases of aneurysm.

The Natural History of Human Teeth, one of Hunter’s most important works, revolutionized the practice of dentistry and provided medical research with a new, scientific nomenclature for the teeth.  Hunter based his book on detailed observations of the anatomy of the jaw and mouth.  He described the tooth’s construction – bone, pulp and enamel – and examined the processes of tooth development in fetuses and children.  Hunter’s many valuable contributions to the advancement of medicine make him one of the greatest names in science.

The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns all three of the Hunter classics mentioned in this article:

The Natural History of the Human Teeth

Treatise on the Venereal Disease

Treatise on the Blood, Inflammation, and Gun-Shot Wounds

Visitors can stop by the Special Collections Reading Room– Briscoe Room 5.078— to view these medical historical treasures.  Information about reading room hours can be found here.

Pennie Borchers
Special Collections Librarian

Library Says Goodbye to Trinae Weldy, Archives Intern

The UTHSCSA Libraries have sponsored numerous undergraduate and graduate students over the years as interns.  These

Trinae Weldy, Library Archives Intern

Trinae Weldy, Library Archives Intern

interns worked on various projects to gain experience in library operations, information services, systems, records management, or archives and historical collections while earning college credit at the same time.

Trinae Weldy, a graduate student in the History Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio, has worked for two semesters as an intern in Special Collections at the Briscoe Library.  During this time she has completed many projects that have made materials in the University Archives and the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library more accessible to researchers, faculty, and students.  She added four interesting entries to the Treasures of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library blog to highlight rare books and medical instruments in the collections including:

Trinae also identified numerous antique medical instruments in the Special Collections and scanned newspaper clippings about the university from 1995, 1996, and 1999 for preservation and to enable keyword searching.  She scanned the 2011 Medical School Yearbook for future addition to the Digital Archive’s University History Project and created an exhibit on antique obstetric and gynecological instruments, which is displayed in front of the Nixon Library.  Trinae helped inventory the rare books in the Nixon Library and worked to organize the negatives, proof sheets, and photographic prints in the University Archives from Academic Technology Services.

Trinae is graduating in May.  We wish her luck in her search for an archival position.  Thank you, Trinae for all of your hard work.

For more information on archival internship opportunities, contact Anne Comeaux, Assistant Director for Special Collections, 210-567-2428, comeaux@uthscsa.edu

 

Trinae Weldy, Library Archives Intern

Local exhibit showcases rare books from the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Regimen Sanitatus Salerni

Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, a primary source for medieval humorism, appeared in manuscript form between the 11 and the 14th centuries. It was enormously popular. Following its first appearance in print it was translated into almost every European language. Nearly forty different editions were produced before 1501. The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a 1575 edition of the work, Regimen Sanitatis Salerni, that was produced in London.

Humoral medicine, with its roots in ancient Greece, held that an excess or deficiency of any of four bodily liquids was a primary source of differences in temperment and health.  Humorism was the most commonly held view of the human body in the West before the advent of modern scientific medicine in the nineteenth century.

A local exhibit currently on display in the Briscoe Library provides an introduction to humoral thinking and showcases some of the resources of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library that shed light on that tradition.

The local exhibit, which has been planned in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine exhibit There’s the Humor of It: Shakespeare and the Four Humors, can be found  in the seating area at the entrance to the Briscoe Library.  Books from the collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library that are highlighted in the exhibit include:

Regimen Sanitatis Salerni (1575)

Avicenna, The Canon of Medicine (1582)

Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1632)

Both exhibits and their accompanying presentations are programs of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  For information about either exhibit, contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian, hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu.
 
 
 

Make your reservation by Friday: Annual Dinner of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., MDThursday, November 7, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Old San Francisco Steak House

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., F.A.C.M., will be the guest speaker at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. The evening’s program, to be held at the Old San Francisco Steak House, will explore a significant chapter in San Antonio’s history, reviewing the treatment innovations developed at the Army Burn Center that have revolutionized care and improved the survival of even massively burned patients.

Dr. Pruitt received his M.D. degree in 1957 from the Tufts University School of Medicine. He was drafted in 1959. Assigned to the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research (ISR) at Fort Sam Houston, he completed his residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in 1964 and went on to serve 31 years with the ISR. For 27 of those years, he was its commander and director.

Nixon Dinner InformationComplete information about the Annual Dinner and Presentation, and other activities of the Friends, can be found in the organization’s newsletter:

Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library – Newsletter 2013

Friends of the Nixon Library – Membership and Dinner Reservation Form

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian

Hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu

NLM offers History of Medicine volunteer internship program

The National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division in Bethesda, MD, welcomes applications for its volunteer internship program from undergraduate students in any discipline, current graduate students in library science or information studies, archival studies, cultural studies, film studies, history of medicine and science, museum studies, preservation, public heath, or related programs.  The program is open to qualified individuals of any age and background who would wish to offer their experiences and skills.

For further information, visit the website of the National Library of Medicine:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/volunteer-intern.html

November 7 – 41st Annual Meeting of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Dr. Fernando Guerra, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P., Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the UT Health Science Center, and recently retired Director of Health for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, will be the speaker at the 41st Annual Meeting, Dinner and Presentation of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.  The event will take place Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Airport Hotel.

The topic of Dr. Guerra’s presentation, “Doctors and Dollars May Not Always Be Enough!” will provide the occasion for him to reflect on the health care system, its institutions, professionals, personnel, technology and investments, as well as measurable progress in the delivery of health care over the past forty years. Dr. Guerra will also consider ongoing challenges and opportunities, especially in light of the Affordable Health Care Act.  How is it possible to fill the gaps when doctors and dollars may not be enough?

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library invite all those interested in the history of medicine   to an enjoyable evening of good food and conversation.

The cost of attendance is $40/person.  Advance registration is required.  Student attendance is $30 and includes Friends membership.  Opportunities to sponsor student attendees at the dinner are available.

Please register by October 3: Send registration form to Briscoe Library – MSC 7940, UTHSCSA, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229-9674, Attention: Susan Hunnicutt.  Email questions to Hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu.

October 5 – Anatomists and Their Art: Dr. Charleen Moore will speak

Illustration: Bernhard Siegfried Albinus and Jan Wanderlaar: Tabulae Sceleti e Musculorum Corporis Humani, London 1749.Dr. Charleen M. Moore, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, will give a presentation on Anatomists and Their Art in the Howe Conference Room, 5th Floor, Briscoe Library at noon on Wednesday, October 5, 2011.  Dr. Moore’s lecture will include stories of artists who dissected, anatomists who illustrated their own works, and anatomist/artist teams who worked together in the early days of printing to produce some of the most important anatomical texts of all time.  The public is welcome to attend.

After the presentation, a display of more than 25 rare anatomical books will be on exhibit in the P.I. Nixon Reading Room, including many of the books described in Dr. Moore’s lecture.

For more information, contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian: 567-2406 or hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu.

Image: Bernhard Siegfried Albinus and Jan Wanderlaar: Tabulae Sceleti e Musculorum Corporis Humani, London 1749. Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

On the Origin of Species: A treasure of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Did you know that the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a rare first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life?  Published in 1859, the library’s fragile volume is a treasure. The valuable first editions with iconic green spines are in high demand for book collectors and science lovers.  The library’s copy, one of only approximately 1,250 printed, is part of a collection of antiquarian texts originally donated to the the University of Texas Health Science Center in the early 1970’s by the Bexar County Medical Society.

The Witte Museum is currently hosting the American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin exhibit Darwin: How One Man’s Theory Turned the World on its Head. It runs through September 3, 2012 and includes Darwin’s handwritten journals of his observations while on the Galapagos Islands.  For additional resources for children and families, visit the American Museum of National History’s Resources for Darwin.

Darwin’s complete works can also be read online.

To view the Health Science Center’s first edition of On the Origin of Species, or any of the other 5,000 rare and historical texts, contact Special Projects Librarian Susan Hunnicutt at (210) 567-2406 or hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu; or Mellisa DeThorne at 210-567-2470 or dethorne@uthscsa.edu.  Additional and selected materials from the Nixon Library may also be viewed online in the UTHSC Digital Archives / Historical Collection.

Melva Ramirez, MLS, Records and Information Management Intern, Special Collections

P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library to be closed May 6 through 10

Nixon LibraryThe P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will be closed to users  from May 6 through 10.  Representatives of the School of Medicine will be meeting with the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Monday through Wednesday, and will require the use of the Howe Conference Room and the Special Collections Reading Room.

An appraisal of the collection of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library is scheduled for May 9 and 10.

Users needing materials from the history of medicine collection should plan to schedule their visits at another time, as retrieval of rare books and archives will not be available during the LCME site visit and the appraisal of the collection that will follow.

For more information, contact Anne Comeaux, comeaux@uthscsa.edu or Mellisa DeThorne, dethorne@uthscsa.edu.