History of Medicine

Historical Anatomy Books on Display April 12

Illustration of Body Muscles

The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will be holding an exhibit of rare and historical anatomical texts on April 12 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Nixon Reading Room and the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library. View a 1st edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem by Andreas Vesalius published in 1543 and a 1481 edition of De Medicina by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, the Nixon Library’s oldest book. The display is open to the general public, and all are welcome to come see these treasures up close.

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

Historical Bexar County Medical Society Membership Records Available Online

Picture of John M. McIntosh, MD

John A. McIntosh, MD, specialist in nervous and mental diseases. Born Oct. 19, 1878, in Brownwood, Texas. Graduated from UT Galveston in 1903.

Last fall the Special Collections of the UT Health Science Center Library received a Rescuing Texas History Grant from the University of North Texas to fund digitization of applications and photographs of members of the Bexar County Medical Association born 1910 or earlier. Many of these records are a unique resource for historical and genealogical research as they provide the names of family members (spouses, children, parents, siblings) in addition to date and place of birth of members, education, training, and current and previous work experience.

The project has been completed, and the records can now be viewed in the History of Medicine collection of the Digital Archive.  They may also be browsed on the University of North Texas’s Portal to Texas History website.

Historical Medical Instruments on Display at Local Heritage Center

Nestled in the heart of downtown is the newly designed Bexar Heritage Center, a project which began its development in early 2017 as part of a idea spearheaded by County Judge Nelson Wolff. The goal of the Center is to preserve the historical roots of Bexar County and highlight the accomplishments of the county government. The Bexar Heritage Center officially opened it’s doors in October of 2019 and features a series of interactive exhibits that provide a glimpse into Bexar County’s historic treasures and culture. Among these treasures are medical instruments from the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library loaned to the county for display as part of the Healing Arts exhibit. Items on display include an ophthalmology kit, doctor’s bag, brass scarificator, and a pharmaceutical case just to name a few.

The Bexar Heritage Center is located at 100 Dolorosa Street and is free and open to the public. Hours of operation are Monday thru Friday from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM.

  

History of Anatomy Class Visits P.I. Nixon Library

History of Anatomy Class Views Hooke's Micrographia

On April 12, 2016, the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library hosted this year’s History of Anatomy Class taught by Charleen Moore, PhD, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology.

Faculty, students, and staff from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, and Dolph Briscoe Jr. Library gathered to view 50 titles from the historical anatomy book collection, along with two stereoscopes, accompanying multi-dimensional slides, and a rare tintype of surgeon and pharmacist Dr. Crawford Long.

Highlights of the event included a chance to see up-close a 1st edition of De humani corporis fabrica libri septem (1543) by Andreas Vesalius and a collection of early nineteenth-century books on surgery by brothers, Charles and John Bell.

roup Photograph of History of Anatomy Class

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

History of Medicine in Poetry

Once again 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 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm to discuss the history of medicine in poetry. UTHSCSA faculty, students, and staff will be reading selected historical poetry, as well as their own original poems.

Take time from your work and study and come enjoy the readings and discussion.  Everyone is welcome!

Kindness First Known in a Hospital

The place seemed new and strange as death,
The white strait bed, with others strait and white,
Like graves dug side by side at measured lengths,
And quiet people walking in and out
With wonderful low voices and soft steps,
And apparitional equal care for each,
Astonished her with order, silence, law:
And when a gentle hand held out a cup,
She took it as you do a sacrament,
Half awed, half melted, – not being used, indeed,
To so much love as makes the form of love
And courtesy of manners.  Delicate drinks
And rare white bread, to which some dying eyes
Were turned in observation.  O my God,
How sick we must be ere we make men just!
I think it frets the saints in heaven to see
How many desolate creatures on the earth
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship
And social comfort, in a hospital.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Published in  The Doctor’s Window: Poems by the Doctor, For the Doctor, and About the Doctor. Ina Russelle Warren, editor.  Buffalo, New York; Charles Wells Moulton, 1898.

For more information on the History of Medicine Society, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

 

History of Medicine Society Draws Record Attendance

Sixty history of medicine enthusiasts attended the September 16th meeting of the History of Medicine Society, a student-led interest group of the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Charleen Moore, PhD, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, presented Potent Potions and Healing Herbs: Medicinal Practices of the Renaissance. The Garden Health Interest Group provided Harry Potter themed snacks, including Snitch cake pops, chocolate pretzel wands, and “Butter Beer” topped with whipped cream!

Dr. Charleen Moore presents

Following the presentation, attendees adjourned to the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library to view some of the books referenced in Dr. Moore’s talk, as well as some historical herbals with magnificent illustrations.

Student views historical medical book

For more information about the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library or the History of Medicine Society, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2406.

History of Medicine Society: 18th Century M&M Conference

Image of Giovanni Morgagni

Shirley Nah, MS II, Charleen Moore, PhD, and Philip T. Valente, MD will present Morbidity & Mortality and Morgagni at the March 2016 History of Medicine Society meeting. Giovanni Morgagni systematically indexed almost 700 postmortem examinations correlating the autopsy findings with the patient’s symptoms.

The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will have on display two editions of his monumental work:

  • De Sedibus, et Causis Morborum per Anatomen Indagatis Libri Quinque
    • 2nd edition
    • Published in Padua in 1765
  • The Seats and Causes of Diseases Investigated by Anatomy: In Five Books
    • 1st English edition
    • Published in London in 1769

When
March 23, 2016
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. Light refreshments (including M&Ms) will be served!

For more information on the History of Medicine Society or the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, contact Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at finnie@uthscsa.edu or 567-2406.

History of the Health Sciences Scavenger Hunt

Discover Hidden Treasures in the Briscoe Library!

Photograph of a wooden treasure chest with jewelsThe History of Medicine Society is sponsoring a treasure hunt for anyone interested in the history of the health sciences. The scavenger hunt will run from Tuesday, September 1 at 8:00 am through Wednesday, September 16 at 6:30 pm. Any time during that period, participants can pick up an entry form at the Circulation Desk on the 3rd floor of the Briscoe Library or in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library on the 5th floor. Uncover treasures located throughout the building and even online! See an ancient Roman coin, examine rare historical books, and view World War I posters.

Deadline

All forms must be returned to the Circulation Desk or to Nixon Library staff by 6:30 pm on Wednesday, September 16.

Prizes

Participants must answer 8 out of 10 questions correctly to be eligible for a prize. All qualifying entrants may enter a drawing to win novelty chocolates, and student entrants are eligible for one of five $5 gift cards to Starbucks! Winners will be drawn at the September 16 meeting of the History of Medicine Society. Charleen Moore, Ph.D. and members of the Garden Health Interest Group will present Potent Potions and Healing Herbs: Medicinal Practices of the Renaissance at 6:00 pm in the Howe Conference Room.

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

July 2016 Historical Book of the Month

Skeleton image from Osteographia by Cheselden

This month’s featured historical treasure is Osteographia, or The Anatomy of the Bones by William Cheselden. Published in London in 1753, this exquisite volume includes depictions of human and animal skeletons in interesting vignettes and in lifelike poses. His artists, Gerard van der Gucht and Jacob Schijnvoet, were the first to use the camera obscura to create more accurate engravings for book illustration.

For more information on the collections of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, contact Andrea Schorr, Head of Resource Management, at schorr@uthscsa.edu or 210-567-2403.

July 2018 Historical Book of the Month

 

This month’s historical book selection is The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is, with all the kinds, causes, symptoms, prognostics & several cures of it. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically opened & cut up, by Robert Burton [Democritus Junior] (1576-1640).  Initially published in 1621, Burton edited and augmented four subsequent editions, and packed his psychological tome with a mix of humor, popular 17th century theory, and boundless lists of symptoms, causes, remedies, and  cures for the mysterious “black-hole”.

Robert Burton

 

Ironically, The Anatomy of Melancholy has its share of whimsy. Burton’s notable sense of humor is initially revealed by his choice of pen name, Democritus Junior. The first Democritus (c. 460 B.C.E. – c. 370 B.C.E.) is known as the laughing philosopher, and Burton’s comic wit is evident throughout his writing, especially in the satirical preface: Democritus to the Reader.

Burton himself was a vicar, mathematician, and philologist. He reportedly wrote to help sort through his own personal fight with melancholy. However, he “increased it to such a degree, that nothing could make him laugh, but going to the bridge-foot and hearing the ribaldry of the bargemen, which rarely failed to throw him into a violent fit of laughter”.

Burton’s work is heavily referenced with Latin, French, Greek, and biblical citations, eager to provide evidence for his ruminations. Within his myriad of divergent contemplations, he examines the relationship between depression and love, beauty, geography (including hot countries prone to jealousy), anatomy of the body and soul, bloodletting and the horse-leech, diet, digestion, drink, bad air, idleness, shame, disgrace, scholarly melancholy, and even cause from an undesirable wet nurse.

 

Frontispiece in 1632 edition

Visit the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library to experience firsthand our treasured 1632 edition of this classic tour de force.  Get a closer look at the detailed frontispiece and read Burton’s interesting interpretations for each illustrated compartment in “The Argument of the Frontispiece”. If you would like to check out a facsimile of this hefty book, there is a copy in the circulating stacks on the fourth floor.

For more information on the collections of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, contact us via email: special collections@uthscsa.edu

Source:
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/democritus/

Diane Fotinos, MLIS student