Treasures of the P.I. Nixon

Investigating the Origins of a Spencer Monocular Microscope

December 6, 2013

S. Perry Post, M.D., donated this Spencer monocular microscope to the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library in April 2001. Little information was provided about the microscope upon its delivery. Dr. Post merely stated that he purchased the microscope, second hand, from an upper classman when he entered medical school (UTMB, Galveston) in 1934. Preliminary […]



The Life and Experiences of Dr. John Matthews

November 13, 2013

  The medical bag and instruments below belonged to Dr. John Matthews, an ophthalmologist whose practice was held in the Nix Medical Arts Building (now the Emily Morgan Hotel), in San Antonio.  Dr. Matthews was a prominent member of San Antonio’s medical community. As a physician and active member and leader in local medical organizations, […]



October is American Archives Month—How to make a Humidification Chamber

October 22, 2013

Humidification is the process of introducing moisture into paper by placing the document inside an enclosed area with a water source.  This is often done for tightly rolled documents such as large maps, posters, or large pictures.  Water vapor enters the fibers of the document, allowing them to relax.  Often the document may then be […]


Electrotherapy: Stimulating Medicine

September 25, 2013

  The early twentieth century was a transforming period for the United States. Progress was the name of the game and science became a way to play. Physicians of the day used scientific language and data to authenticate their methods and equipment. The PI Nixon Medical Historical Library has such medical equipment from the period […]


Menger in his study.

Through the Eye Piece of the Microscope … San Antonio Nature Observations

November 30, 2012

Dr. Rudolph Menger was an early San Antonio doctor who loved nature and is best remembered for his nature observations and pictures.  He was born in San Antonio, Texas on April 21, 1851, to Johann and Augusta Menger.  His parents, native Germans, arrived in Texas in 1846. Menger attended the German-English school, a school established […]



Archives Matter!

October 24, 2012

What is an Archives?  Is it some mysterious club that only library workers belong to?  The short answer is no.  Chances are you have an archive at home -maybe love letters to your spouse, family photos, mom’s wedding gown, a collection of your favorite vinyl records.  My personal archives consists of photographs, handwritten love letters from my husband, my […]


Anatomists and their art

August 6, 2012

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 […]


Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Rare Treasure at the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

June 27, 2012

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 […]


Early ophthalmology text turns 500 this year

June 8, 2012

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.  […]


John Bell, Scottish Anatomist and Surgeon

April 3, 2012

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 […]