A new historical exhibit titled, “Brain Localization: images and ideas through 500 years,” is on display from June 11 to September 14 on the seventh floor of the Bernard Becker Medical Library.
We believe the earliest illustrations of the brain that can be found at Becker Library are in two books in from the 1490s: “Fasciculus medicinae, 1491” (facsimile 1988) and “Philosophia Pauperum (Philosophy for the simple),” 1496.
“Monstrorum Historia” is a visually stunning book on the history of monsters. It is part of a larger work, an enormous 13-volume encyclopedia on natural history. The author, Ulisse Aldrovandi, wrote parts of the encyclopedia using the raw material in his museum and the botanical garden in Bologna in Italy. He collected not only specimens [Read more]
With “The Vietnam War: A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick” airing this week on PBS, it is a good time to examine the oral history of David Kennell, MD, and his archives on St. Louis Doctors for Peace. Kennell’s oral history and papers contain documentation of the 1969 Moratorium, an event to promote peace [Read more]
In his own words: Philip M. Stimson, MD Assistant Resident at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, 1916-1917
This week, as we welcomed new residents to the Medical Center, we discovered a letter in the Archives and Rare Books Division that was written by a resident 101 years ago. The resident, Philip Moen Stimson, MD, went on to a distinguished career as a pediatrician renowned for his research in infectious disease. Becker Library has three [Read more]
Lola Mae Baird Mathews was an operating room supervisor at Barnes Hospital from 1939-1943. In 1943, her last summer at Barnes Hospital, she worked hard at a course in chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, because she wanted to earn a degree. Still, it seems her considerable knowledge failed to earn her the respect [Read more]
Joseph Jules Dejerine and Augusta Dejerine-Klumpke: Advancing Neurology at the Dawn of the 20th Century
Joseph Jules Dejerine (1849-1917), a French neurologist whose research focused early on the anatomy and pathology of the nervous system, and later on psychoneurosis, died 100 years ago on February
Celebrating a Pocket-Size Cerebri Anatome by Thomas Willis at 350 Years Old: Illustrations from Becker Library’s 1666 Edition
A little over 350 years ago, Thomas Willis of Oxford, England published Cerebri Anatome (Figure 1), which would go on to become highly cited by scholars. This work on the anatomy of the brain as a vehicle for viewing the soul or mind of the creator contains several scientific firsts. One is the first appearance of the term neurology1 and another is the first illustration of the Circle of Willis or Willis' Circle,2 an arterial circle at the base of the brain, by which "full circulation to all parts of the brain can be maintained even when the carotid or vertebral arteries are blocked."3
Phrenology has many definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary. My favorite is:
The theory that the mental powers or characteristics of an individual consist of separate faculties, each of which has its location in an organ found in a definite region of the surface of the brain, the size or development of which is commensurate with the development of the particular faculty; the study of the external conformation of the cranium as an index to the position and degree of development of the various faculties. (Phrenology, Oxford English Dictionary c 2016)