Bernard Becker Collection in Ophthalmology and Optics

Man wearing spectacles, from Georg Bartisch’s Opthalmodouleia, das ist, Augendienst. Dresden: Stöckel, 1583.

The Bernard Becker Collection in Ophthalmology and Optics is one of North America’s finest rare book and print collections specializing in the sciences of the eye and light. Bernard Becker (b. 1920) served as chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Washington University School of Medicine for more than 35 years, and during his tenure the department earned national and international renown. His main focus in research was glaucoma and he is coauthor of Becker-Shaffer’s diagnosis and therapy of the glaucomas, which became a classic textbook. Dr. Becker served as editor-in-chief of Investigative Ophthalmology and edited several other journals. He authored more than 500 articles, several of which are landmarks in the development of ophthalmology.

The collection’s holdings span some five hundred years and include works such as Georg Bartisch’s 16th century monograph Opthalmodouleia, which was the first comprehensive work on eye diseases and their treatments; two incunabula (books printed prior to 1500), and works by key scientific figures such as Antonio Scarpa and Francesco Redi.

If you would like more information about the collection, please visit the digital exhibit Rare Books at Becker.  An annotated catalog is also featured in the online exhibit.