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, firstname.lastname@example.org.