Over the past 2 years we have made excellent progress on the History of Medicine collection. The majority of the books have been gone through, assessed, researched, and a portion of them pulled for the creation of a Restricted Room. These books are distinguished by their historical significance and/or collectible value. The collection as a whole represents many areas of interest, from general histories and theories of medicine, procedural-specific texts, and biographies. There are small 19th century pamphlets and impressive folio sized collections of plates. There are a number of important items listed in the well regarded Garrison and Morton’s Medical Bibliography: an Annotated Check-list of Texts Illustrating the History of Medicine. The collection includes signatures and inscriptions of notable figures, such as Silas Weir Mitchell, John Syng Dorsey; Alfred Stille, and Jean Cruveilhier. There are a variety of bindings across many levels of sophistication: vellum, leather, paper, gilding and raised bands. We have discovered some interesting items laid into the books, placed there for safe-keeping by previous owners, and we have come across some unique bookplates. Because these books are in diverse states of condition, it is important that we now determine how they should be handled and stored, and consider refurbishment for select items. The HOM collection is intended for students, faculty and visiting scholars for regular use; appointments can be made for viewing the “restricted” material. As you follow our work through this blog, we will begin to introduce more items of special interest and make any announcements related to events and presentations held in the HOM library.
Special thanks to Alan Kitchen for his contributions to this blog series.
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