History of Medicine

Rare texts support inquiry in the School of Medicine and the School of Health Professions

De Symmetria Partium in Rectis Formis Humanorum Corporum

De Symmetria Partium in Rectis Formis Humanorum Corporum (1532), Albert Durer’s illustrated study of the proportions of the human body, was one of 41 historical anatomy titles that were on display in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on April 30.

Seven MS1s and one graduate student from the School of Health Professions visited the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on April 30.  The visit to the library  was the conclusion of a history of anatomy elective taught by Dr. Charleen M. Moore of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology.

The course for medical students, Enrichment Elective 5022, and the graduate course, CSBL 5015, covered anatomy from ancient times to the present.

Forty-one rare books were on display, including:

Albinus, Bernhard Siegfried, Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body, 1749

Durer, Albert, De Symmetria Partium in Rectis Formis Humanorum Corporum, 1532

Gray, Henry, Anatomy of the Human Body, 1859

Hooke, Robert, Micrographia: Or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses with Observations and Inquiries Thereupon, 1667

Vesalius, Andreas, De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem, 1543

For more information on the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library or to schedule a visit, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

Remembering Pat Ireland Nixon Jr., MD

P.I. Nixon, Jr. passed away on October 20, 2012.

We are sad to report the recent passing of Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon Jr., son of Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon, for whom the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library is named.

The younger Dr. Nixon, who passed away on October 20 at the age of 99 years old, was a constant friend and an ardent supporter of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Born May 28, 1913, Dr. Nixon graduated from the University of Texas, Austin and went on to attend Duke University Medical School, graduating in 1939.  He completed his internship in Baltimore, MD and served in the U.S. Army at Walter Reed Hospital, where he met his wife, Army Nurse Lt. Ruby Baker. Together, they had three children, Pat III, Margaret and John.  Dr. Nixon was stationed at West Point during World War II, and practiced medicine in San Antonio from 1946 until his retirement.

Dr. Pat, as he was known, is survived by his wife, Della; two daughters, Mrs. Margaret (Peggy) Kennedy and Mrs. Nancy LaBounty and two sons, Pat Ireland Nixon III and John Nixon and his brother, Thomas A. Nixon, and many nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

The family of Dr. Nixon has generously asked that memorials be sent to the P.I. Nixon Medical History Library.  Checks can be made to UTHSCSA Library and sent to the University of Texas Health Science Center, Briscoe Library Mail Code 7940, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio Texas 78229.  

Save the date: Former Director of the U.S. Army Burn Center to speak at the Annual Dinner of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Basil A. Pruitt, Jr., M.D., Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, will be the speaker at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Friends of The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, Thursday, November 7, 2013.  He will speak on the topic, San Antonio’s National and International Center of Excellence for Burn Care and Research.

Dr. Pruitt, a graduate of Harvard College and the Tufts University School of Medicine, began his affiliation with the burn center when he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston as a draftee in 1959.  He completed his residency there in 1964, and was named Chief of the Burn Study Branch and Chief of the Clinical Division that same year.

In his early days at Fort Sam Houston, Dr. Pruitt traveled regularly to Viet Nam, where he provided medical care for wounded soldiers during air transport to an Army hospital in Yokahama, Japan.  After they were stabilized he would accompany the soldiers back to Texas for treatment.  In 1967, Dr. Pruitt volunteered for a tour of duty at the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Viet Nam, where he served as Chief of Professional Services.   When he returned to San Antonio he was named Commander and Director of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, a post he held for 27 years.

The Annual Dinner and Presentation of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of November 7 at the Old San Francisco Steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Street in San Antonio.  Everyone is welcome, and paid sponsorships are available for students in any of the UT Health Science Center’s academic programs.  Sponsorships include a one year membership in the Friends group.  For more information, or to inquire about student sponsorships,  contact Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian, hunnicutt@uthscsa.edu, or call 210-567-2406.

 

Shakespeare and the Four Humors: Exhibit opens Wednesday in the Briscoe Library

Sanguine

This image of the sanguine personality type was created by Henry Peacham in 1612. In Shakespeare’s day, sanguine personality was believed to be associated with the predominance of blood in relation to the three other bodily humors– yellow bile or choler, black bile or melancholer, and phlegm. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Dr. Mark Bayer, guest speaker

February 13, 6:00 p.m.

Howe Conference Room, Briscoe Library

William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) characters are timeless, yet he described human personality in the language of his age.  The theory of  the four bodily humors—blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm–  extends across Shakespeare‘s works, and is connected with the belief that emotional states have physical causes.  In Elizabethan England the four bodily humors were thought to engender the passions of anger, grief, hope, and fear— emotions that drive much of the action in Shakespeare‘s plays.

There’s the Humor of It: Shakespeare and the Four Humors is a  traveling exhibit produced by the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health and the Folger Shakespeare Library to explore the inner logic of humoral theory as well as its connections to modern medical thought and practices.

The exhibit will open in the Briscoe Library at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of February 13 with a guest presentation by Dr. Mark Bayer, a member of the faculty in the Department of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Dr. Bayer will speak on the topic, Why the Four Humours Make Sense: Shakespeare and the Four Humours.

The exhibit will remain on display through March 22.

In another event planned in conjunction with the exhibit,  Dr. Charleen Moore of the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology will speak on the topic,  A Balancing Act: Medical Practices and the Four Humors in the Renaissance. Her presentation will take place at noon on Wednesday, February 27th.

Both presentations are programs of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, and will take place in the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library.

 

Suffering and Progress: A History of the HIV Epidemic in the United States – December 3

Red Ribbon for AIDS AwarenessIn honor of AIDS Awareness Week, Gregory Anstead, M.D., Ph.D. will present Suffering and Progress: A History of the HIV Epidemic in the United States on December 3, 2015 at 12 Noon in the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library. This lecture is also being held in conjunction with the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibition, Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture, which will be on display on the 3rd floor of the Briscoe Library from October 26, 2015 – December 5, 2015.

Dr. Anstead is an Associate Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the School of Medicine and Director of the Immunosuppression and Infectious Diseases Clinics at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. He has previously delivered noontime lectures on historical developments in Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and West Nile Virus Encephalitis.

The event is free and open to everyone. Please, bring your lunch and join us for dessert!

For more information, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

Summer reading: Siddhartha Mukherjee to speak at Trinity University on August 28

The Emperor of All MaladiesSiddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 28 in Laurie Auditorium at Trinity University.  The event, part of Trinity’s Reading TUgether summer reading program, is free and open the public.

The Emperor of all Maladies was a 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and the recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. In it Mukherjee reflects on his experiences as a hematology and oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, while at the same time constructing a history of cancer research and treatment.   The Pulitzer jury, in awarding the prize, called it “an elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal”.

More information about the August 28 program at Trinity University can be found on the Trinity University website.

Susan Hunnicutt, Special Projects Librarian

 

 

The Father of Ophthalmology

George Bartisch, a German physician, was born in 1535 in Königsbrück, a village near Dresden, Germany. He could not afford medical school, so apprenticed at the age of 13 to a barber surgeon in Dresden. This was followed by two additional apprenticeships to an oculist and a lithotomist. He acquired medical experience and became a successful wound surgeon, lithotomist, oculist and teacher of surgical anatomy. Bartisch became well known and eventually was appointed court oculist for Duke Augustus I of Saxony, settling in Dresden.

Bartisch is called the Father of Ophthalmology because he was the earliest person to write an ophthalmologic text-book in the German language and the first in history to totally remove an eye from a living human subject. In 1583 he published Ophthalmodouleia, both the first systematic work on ocular disease and ophthalmic surgery as well as the first ophthalmic atlas with its 92 full page woodcuts, many of which Bartisch drew himself. Some of the illustrations had flaps that could be lifted to provide a dissection layer by layer. They illustrate ocular diseases, surgical methods, and instruments. The explanations of each disease in this work are followed by a discussion of herbal remedies and prescriptions and surgical options for treatment.

The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library owns the first edition of Ophthalmodouleia. More information on George Bartisch may be found in the Treasures of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library blog.

To schedule a visit to the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

Sources:

Book review by Mark J. Mannis of Ophthalmodouleia, That is the Service of the Eye, 1996 English translation by Donal Blanchard, MD. American Journal of Ophthalmology 1997, 123:146-147. http://www.history-ophthalmology.com/BartischREVIEW.html

“Georg Bartisch’s Ophthalmodouleia.” The College of Optometrist webpage at http://www.college-optometrists.org/en/college/museyeum/collections/rare_historical_books_collection/Bartisch.cfm

Shastid,, Thomas Hall. George Bartisch,” The American Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Ophthalmology, Volume 2, pp. 888-895. Chicago: Cleveland Press, 1913.

Images:

Images courtesy History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries.

The History of Breast Cancer and its Treatment – October 21

pink_ribbonIn honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Daniel Rosenthal, MD will present The History of Breast Cancer and Its Treatment at the October meeting of the History of Medicine Society, a student-led interest group of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

When
October 21, 2015
6:00 PM

Where
Briscoe Library
Howe Conference Room (5th floor)

Membership in the History of Medicine Society is free, and meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Lisa Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 567-2406.

The History of Medicine in Poetry – HOM Society Meeting in April

In honor of Poetry Month, the History of Medicine Society of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will be meeting in the Howe Conference Room on April 23, 2014, beginning at 6:00 pm to discuss the history of medicine in poetry.  UTHSCSA faculty and students will be doing readings of selected poems and members can discuss their own original poems.

In conjunction with the meeting, an exhibit on The History of Medicine in Poetry will be displayed in the 3rd floor exhibit area of the library starting April 1.

 

Popular 17th century poem describing the plague doctor's costume.

Popular 17th century poem describing the plague doctor’s costume.  See the exhibit for an English translation.

Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, with a satirical macaronic poem (‘Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel’) in octosyllabic rhyming couplets.  Date: 1656.  Courtesy of Internet Archive.

Traveling Exhibit on George Washington Coming in May

Drawing showing two doctors examining George Washington as he lies ill in bed.

Washington in his last illness. Courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

The Briscoe Library will host a traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine entitled Every Necessary Care and Attention:  George Washington and Medicine during May and June.  This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens.

On display from May 11 – June 20, the exhibit explores the story of George Washington’s own health and examines the ways in which he sought to safeguard the health and wellness of those under his care. Washington’s story illuminates the broader context of the experience of illness and the practice of medicine, which during his time, was transitioning from a traditional healer craft to a profession.

A companion exhibit by Special Collections staff on Colonial Medicine will also examine the diseases and culture of medicine during the colonial period of American history.  It will be exhibited in the glass cases of the library foyer during the same period.