Archives and Rare Books

Phrenology exemplified and illustrated or Scraps no. 7 by D.C. Johnston, Boston, 1837

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)

Archives and Rare Books

A Touch of Medical Humor

This work is disrespectfully dedicated to those who feel that a knowledge of the Human Body, sufficient for the needs of the future Medical Practitioner, can be adequately obtained without post-mortem investigation. It will be seen that with the aid of a few objects borrowed from the gardener, or cook (if she be out), the  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

A Spanish Edition of Dioscorides

If you were to look at where all of the pre-1800 books in our collections were published, you would notice that some cities show up over and over, such as Venice, Paris, Lyon, Basel, and Frankfurt.

Archives and Rare Books

National Poetry Month – Samuel Garth’s The Dispensary

Garth’s work is a satirical take on the traditional epic poem, and is perhaps one of the better examples of the “medical poetry” genre. What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than by taking a closer look at this work and its author?

Archives and Rare Books

Women in the Print Shop

Our rare book collections hold several editions of Ambroise Paré’s surgical works.  This is not unusual.  Paré (1510-1590) is one of the most famous early modern surgeons, and his writings were very popular during that time period.  While he published short treatises on distinct subjects beginning in 1545, the large folio editions of his collected  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Mungo Park’s Travels to the Interior of Africa

Although we are a medical library, not every single volume in our rare book collections takes medicine as its focus.  Our shelves also have 19th century novels, 18th century poetry, and 19th century poetry of questionable quality.  We also have quite a few travelogues!  Today we’ll look at Mungo Park’s account of his explorations in West Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Archives and Rare Books

Juan Pablo Bonet and his Reduction de las letras

Some of the most fascinating objects in the CID-Max A. Goldstein Collection in Speech and Hearing are works that contain examples of early modern manual alphabets.  One of the most significant of these is Juan Pablo Bonet’s Reduction de las letras, y arte para enseñar a ablar los mudos (Simplification of the Letters of the  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Christopher Irvine’s Marvelous Magnet

October is a good time to highlight some of the more unusual items in our collection.  It doesn’t get much more unusual than medicinal cannibalism, which is exactly what it sounds like: the practice of using human body parts as an ingredient in medicinal recipes.

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