Treasures of the P.I. Nixon

The Father of Ophthalmology

February 4, 2015

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 […]


William Withering and the beginnings of modern therapeutics

January 27, 2015

  Digoxin is a modern drug used to treat irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure and to relieve symptoms of edema associated with congestive heart failure.  The Western world of medicine’s knowledge of Digoxin’s incredible ability to help treat certain heart diseases was due to the efforts of an English physician called William […]


George Bartisch: An Inventive Look Into Ophthalmodouleia

January 15, 2015

  Buying a pair of glasses is something that has become quite common, and most times can even be done over the internet. Beyond a routine checkup, more serious ocular issues may suggest a trip to the local ophthalmologist, but even that is often quite convenient due to technology and medical advances. Typically you can […]


Middleton Goldsmith and the Use of Bromine to Treat Gangrene

October 3, 2014

The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a report to the Surgeon General of the United States by Civil War surgeon Middleton Goldsmith on the use of bromine to treat hospital gangrene in wounded soldiers. Published in 1863, the report is entitled A Report on Hospital Gangrene, Erysipelas and Pyaemia as Observed in the […]


Clara Barton and The Red Cross: A History of this Remarkable International Movement in the Interest of Humanity

September 22, 2014

Clarissa Harlow Barton was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, on the 25th of December in 1821. She was the youngest of six children, and she took a keen interest in education early in her life. When she was a toddler, she was sent to school with one of her older brothers, where she developed a love […]


Middleton Goldsmith and Hospital Gangrene

August 1, 2014

Middleton Goldsmith was a surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War working primarily in the Louisville, Kentucky area. He was born in Port Tobacco, Maryland in 1818, the son of surgeon Alban Goldsmith. His father was the professor of Surgery at Kentucky School of Medicine in Louisville in the mid-1830s, and Middleton […]


The Louis Lapicque Papers

June 24, 2014

  The Archives of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library houses a collection of professional papers, research notebooks, and personal manuscripts of renowned, early 20th- century French physiologist Louis Lapicque. Born August 1, 1866, Louis Lapicque was a pioneer in the field of neural excitability. One of his main contributions was to propose the integrate-and-fire […]


Anthropometamorphosis: Man Transform’d: or, the Artificiall Changling

May 28, 2014

John Bulwer was born in London in 1606, the only surviving son of an apothecary named Thomas Bulwer and Marie Evans of St. Albans. He continued to work and live in London until his death in October 1656. Although information about his education is unclear, he was probably educated in Oxford (no degree) in the […]


Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – Inventor of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes

May 19, 2014

When eating your breakfast cereal of corn flakes or granola, have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of manufacturing these foods? It might surprise you to know that they were invented by a 19th century physician and surgeon who was devoted to healthy living and the use of natural remedies. John Harvey […]


A Landmark in Anatomical Illustration: Paolo Mascagni and the Lymphatic System

March 24, 2014

Portrait of Paolo Mascagni.  Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Division.  This portrait is in the public domain in the U.S., PD-US.  Housed in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library’s Special Collections is Paolo Mascagni’s 1787 Vasorum lymphaticorum corporis humani historia et ichnographia. Recognized as a landmark in anatomical illustration, this […]