Rare Book Room Open House to Feature Early Works on Childbirth

The John Martin Rare Book Room will hold its annual open house on Thursday, May 14 from 4:30 to 7:30.  The exhibit, “De Partu Hominis; Six Centuries of Obstetrics,” will feature rare books on childbirth from the 15th through the 20th centuries.  The event is open to the public.  The open house will allow visitors to view and page through early atlases and manuals used by midwives and physicians featuring illustrations and descriptions of birthing chairs, forceps, caesarean section, the development of anesthesia, and complications of labor and delivery.  Among the dozens of works to be displayed include William Hunter’s striking 1774 atlas, The anatomy of the human gravid uterus, Oliver Wendell Holmes’ controversial 1842 treatise,  The contagiousness of puerperal fever, and De formato foetu, a set of plates rendered in the Baroque style, published in 1626.  The exhibit is part of a series of public lectures and presentation sponsored by the University of Iowa History of Medicine Society.  The John Martin Rare Book Room is located on the fourth floor of the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.  For additional information, please contact Ed Holtum, Curator at 335-9154.