Two works were added to the collection of of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library in 2012-2013.
Charles Bell, The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design (1833).
This rare first edition copy of Charles Bell’s classic work on the anatomy, physiology, and adaptive importance of the hand was added in March.
Also known as the fourth Bridgewater Treatise, The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design, was one of a series of monographs written in response to William Paley’s 1802 work, Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature.
Paley’s popular work was debated throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, a time when religion and science were widely believed to be in harmony. It was included in the standard curricula at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The treatises, including Bell’s work on the anatomy and physiology of the hand, were produced between 1833 and 1840 by leading authorities in moral philosophy, natural history, astronomy, physiology, chemistry, and geology.
Charles Bell’s The Hand: Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design (1833) was purchased as a memorial for Danny Jones, MLS, formerly Head of Briscoe Library Special Collections and a one-time president of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Danny Jones passed away in January, 2013. Names of contributors to the purchase have been entered in the catalog record for the book.
The Fabric of the Human Body (2013): An annotated translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions of De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (http://www.vesaliusfabrica.com/)
The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library donated funds to purchase The Fabric of the Human Body (2013), a new, annotated English translation of the 1543 and 1555 editions of Andreas Vesalius’ (1514 – 1564) De humani corporis fabrica libri septem. Information about the new translation can be viewed online at: http://www.vesaliusfabrica.com/.
In 1543, Vesalius produced what was at the time Europe’s most detailed and best illustrated atlas of the human body. The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a rare copy of this classic book, which The Oxford Medical Companion calls “probably the most influential of all medical works.” Vesalius challenged the authority of ancient medical books, especially the works of Galen (2nd cent. AD), by demonstrating their reliance on the dissection of animals such as the barbary ape instead of human cadavers. For Vesalius and those who came after him, the human body was the only reliable source for scientific anatomy.
The new translation De humani corporis fabrica libri septemis is the work of classics scholar Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast, Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology and past Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. It includes high resolution images of the original illustrations, and Vesalius’ recently discovered notes for a third edition that was never published.
The Fabric of the Human Body was purchased as a memorial for Dr. P.I. Nixon, Jr., who passed away in 2012.