RodriguezA232: This is the coolest library ever. @ UTHSCSA – School Of Medicine
RodriguezA232: This is the coolest library ever. @ UTHSCSA – School Of Medicine
In October 2011, Dr. Charleen Moore, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, gave a fascinating presentation on “Anatomists and Their Art” which featured many of the most important works in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Dr. Moore explained the interrelationship between anatomical study and art by looking at:
You can see and hear Dr. Moore’s presentation (28 minutes long) by clicking the “play” button below.
Summer is a great time to explore nature and science with your family. The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library may be a place to begin your adventure.
The library owns a rare first edition of 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. A first edition was recently found in the lou of a home in Southern England. It was sold to an anonymous buyer through Christie’s of London. The library’s copy, one of only approximately 1,250 printed, is part of many antiquarian texts originally donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970’s by the Bexar County Medical Society.
Darwin was born on February 12, 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. His mother, the daughter of the famous potter Josiah Wedgwood, passed away when he was eight and he was raised by his sisters. Darwin’s school record wasn’t outstanding yet he began his medical studies in 1825 at Edinburgh University. He found “anatomy and material medica dull and surgery unendurable.” He entered Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1828 and took a course in botany where his beetle collection became famous. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1831, he took his botany instructor’s advice and accepted the position of naturalist for the second voyage of the H. M. S. Beagle. In December 1831, the voyage took Darwin to the coast of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego off the coast of South America.
The breakthrough in his ideas came in the Galapagos Islands, 500 miles west of South America. In observing the birds and animals on the islands, Darwin noticed that each island supported its own form of finch, which were closely related but differed in important ways. On his return to England in 1836, Darwin proposed a theory of evolution occurring by the process of natural selection to solve the riddle of how different species evolve. He worked on his theory for 20 years and along with another naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, announced the discovery in 1858.
Darwin had published several articles on his species studies but On the Origin of Species introduced Darwin’s works to a much larger audience. According to the Encyclopedia of World Biography, “The publication of Darwin’s book secured worldwide attention and aroused impassioned controversy.” Jon van Wyne, Bye-Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge, England, explains how the work “demonstrated with converging evidence from geological distribution, comparative anatomy and embryology, and the fossil record that life evolves.”
No matter your take on Darwin’s science, consider your nature exploration in San Antonio. 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 treasured medical texts, contact Special Projects Librarian Susan Hunnicutt at (210) 567-2406 or email@example.com; or Mellisa DeThorne at 210-567-2470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Information Courtesy of:
Christ’s College, Cambridge
Gale Document Number: GALE|K1631001688
The Huffington Post
P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library
San Antonio Express News
Photographs Courtesy of:
The PI 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, and the whole volume is in beautiful condition. We know from the stamps and inscriptions in the book that it once belonged to the Strahov Monastery Library in Prague.
The book came to the PI 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 & Historical Collections
This is a 1910 pharmaceutical case produced by The Abbott Alkaloidal Company in Chicago. The folding case has loops to hold 12 small vials — two brown glass vials with rubber caps and 10 clear glass vials with cork stoppers. The vials contain “dosimetric granules,” an early form of pills created by Dr. Wallace C. Abbott, physician and pharmacy owner (History timeline, 2010).
(Note: these particular vials are not necessarily original to the kit.) Description of vials from left to right:
(1) Typho Bacterin Mulford, First immunizing dose containing 500 million killed typhoid bacilli, Lab. No. 26521A;
(3) label missing, granule residue;
(4) atropine sulfate, Gr. 1-500, (32) Gm. .000125, full of granules;
(5) Anticonstipation, (233) Waugh, Alkaloidal Formula;
(7) Aloin, Gr. 1.12., (16) Gm. .005. [used as a laxative]
(8) Pilecarpine, Gr. 1-10, Gm. .01;
(9) Colchicine, Gr. 1-134, Gm. .0005.; [used to treat gout]
(10) Quinine Arsenate, Gr. 1-67., (184) Gm. .001.;
(11) Morphine Sulfate, Gr. 1-12., (152) Gm. .005.;
(12) Anodyne (Waugh), (231) For Infants. [generic term for pain killer]
History timeline. (2010). Abbott Labs: Global health care & medical research. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from http://www.abbott.com/global/url/content/en_US/10.30:30/general_content/General_Content_00069.htm
(At UT Health Science Center Historical and Special Collections, we have initiated a project to identify items in a collection of medical artifacts. If you have further information about the items highlighted, please comment.)
John Bell was born on the 12th of May 1762 to humble beginnings. He was the second of four boys, his father, Rev. William Bell, was a man of considerable courage, and John’s mother was well educated and quite a talented artist. And so we fast forward to 1779.
It was in 1779 at the young age of seventeen that John apprenticed to Alexander Wood, the leading surgeon in the Edinburgh Royal infirmary, who was not only a skilled surgeon, but had a good reputation for being loved by all who knew him. He left a mark on young Bell, so much so that John Bell dedicated two of his books to Wood.
John studied at the University of Edinburgh under great teachers such as William Cullen and Joseph Black. After his graduation, John traveled to Russia with a large group of Scottish doctors who contributed greatly to Russian medicine–men like Sir James Wylie, who became Physician General to Czar Alexander I, and Sir William Burnett, who became the first Medical Director of the Royal Navy.
John returned to the University of Edinburgh, his mind set on changing the way Anatomy was taught at the University. You see, the Chair of Anatomy, although a fine professor, was not a practicing surgeon like John. Knowing this, John moved swiftly to change the way anatomy was taught, and the outcome was his own school of anatomy in 1790. Bell taught for many years, and some say that the subject of surgical anatomy was given birth by Bell. He, along with Pierre-Joseph Desault and John Hunter, is also considered a co-founder of the modern surgery of the vascular system. It’s interesting to note that John was a successful teacher and his students admired his teaching style. Later, John was passed up for a prestigious professorship, and the University suffered as a result. A quote by Charles Darwin best sums up the man that received the appointment that John so richly deserved. “Dr. Monro made his lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was himself.” Unfortunately, John Bell had many enemies due to outspokenness about the unnecessary pain and suffering inflicted by incompetent surgeons practicing in Scotland. Dr. James Gregory, Professor of Medicine at the University, launched a horrendous campaign against John, resulting from very acrimonious dispute over the right of the junior members of the College of Surgeons of Edinburg to perform operations in the Royal Infirmary. He went so far as to hand out pamphlets warning students against attending Bell’s lectures. Gregory also posted a sign on the Gates of the University and at the entrance to the Infirmary stating “Any Man, if himself or his family were sick, should as soon think of calling in a mad dog as Mr. John Bell.” Maybe it was academic jealousy. We will never know, but I’d like to think that John was a great professor, admired by his students, and maybe hated by his colleagues.
Bell, in his fifties, moved to Italy for his health. He died in Rome on April 15, 1820.
John Bell may not have the same fame as his younger brother, Charles, but he will be remembered as a teacher, a writer of notable medical texts, and for his illustrations, which speak volumes of his talent as an artist. He was one of the few medical men to illustrate his own work. This writer is intrigued by John Bell, and I hope my readers are too.
I urge the Health Science Center community and beyond to see Bell’s work. The Nixon Medical Historical library recently acquired a first edition, three volume set of Bell’s Principles of Surgery. Come see the beautiful leather and marbled cover and open it to discover a world of illustrations that will leave their mark on the reader.
To view any of our old and rare treasures call Mellisa DeThorne at 210-567-2470 or email email@example.com. Any questions about this post should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 210-567-2470.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read our little blog.
Keeper of all things old and precious,
Albrecht Dürer, one of the greatest known artists of the Northern European Renaissance, is best known for his beautiful engravings and religious paintings. Dürer was ahead of his time with his landscape paintings, which were the first of their kind, and the unique self-portraits that he started when he was only 13-years-old. He was born in Nuremburg in 1471 to a goldsmith who taught him a lot about the art of gold, but his father knew that Albrecht would not stay in the family business for long. At the age of fifteen, Dürer apprenticed with Michael Wolgemut, who lived in Nuremburg and specialized in woodcutting. Not only did Dürer and Wolgemut focus on woodcutting, which they financially benefitted from, but they also painted. Dürer was also one of the first great Renaissance artists to study anatomy, writing the book De Symmetria Partium in Rectics Formis Humanorum Corporum, a part of his larger work Four Books on Human Proportions.
Dürer’s Four Books on Human Proportions was influenced by Leonardo da Vinci, Marcus Vitruvius and other significant thinkers. Dürer’s encounter with Leonardo marks the turning point in his career as a theorist of human proportion. Even though he was influenced by these thinkers, Dürer’s portrayal of humans of all different shapes and sizes was entirely unique. He displayed women and men of different shapes and sizes in order to show their unique proportions and beauty of form. Before Dürer’s drawings, there was only one absolute form of beauty based on ideal proportions that were determined by Vitruvius. Dürer thought that there were “many forms of relative beauty…conditioned by the diversity of breeding, vocation and natural disposition.” He aimed to provide a wide range of different body types in order to help him produce the “widest limits of human nature and…all possible kinds of figures: figures “noble” or “rustic,” canine or fox-like, timid or cheerful.” Not only was Dürer aiming to show beauty among many different humans, he also wanted to innovate the science of human proportion.
Dürer is famous for his paintings and woodcuttings, but many do not know about his love for science. There are four books included in his proportion findings, and Dürer probably would have worked more on his theories if he wasn’t commissioned by powerful members of society to create paintings. His book on human proportions was not published until six months after his death.
The P.I. Nixon Library houses a 1st Edition copy in Latin of De Symmetria Partium in Rectics Formis Humanorum Corporum. This book shows the original woodcuts issued by Dürer and displays many different perspectives of the human body. Please stop by to see this legendary geometrical handiwork and learn some information from the past. The Nixon Library also has a facsimile of Les Quartre Lives d’ Albert Durer: Peinctre & Geometrien Tres Excellent, de la Proportion des Parties & Poutraicts des Corps Humains, the French translation of the Four Books on Human Proportions published in 1613.
Here are some wise words from the man himself: “I hold that the perfection of form and beauty is contained in the sum of all men.”
If you have any questions about this post or want to see this work for yourself, contact Mellisa DeThorne at email@example.com or 210 567-2470.
Sarah Borque, Special Collections Intern
Information courtesy of Erwin Panofsky’s The Life and Art of Albrecht Durer.
Images courtesy of
http://berkdoganolgluva312.wordpress.com (link is broken)
“Yellow syringes?” you say to yourself. “Syringes are usually, well, pretty colorless.” That’s exactly the thought I had. My follow-up thought was that it wouldn’t be hard to find out about yellow syringes, since they certainly seemed to be unique. As it turns out, my first thought was right on, while my second thought was slightly off. After exhaustive searching thorough the Becton Dickinson catalog (see that nifty BD tell-tale symbol?), where I was sure the yellow syringes would be the stand-out ones, I turned to the experts: the archivists at Becton Dickinson. The excellent work by Mae Savas revealed that these syringes had changed color from clear to yellow during the sterilization process. Because of this quirk, the syringes never actually made it to market. Wait, never made it to market? Then how did they end up in the UT Health Science Center Medical Artifacts collection…and so the mystery continues. Drop us a line if you have a lead.
Amy Nurnberger, Public Services Intern