Notes from the Rare Book Room Category


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, May 2012

MONDINO DEI LUZZI (d. 1326). Anatomia Mundini. Marburg: In officina Christiani Egenolphi, [1541]

This edition of Mondino’s anatomy was prepared by Johannes Dryander, called Eichmann, who is generally regarded as one of the first anatomists to make illustrations from his own dissections. This important and rare book is especially interesting for its woodcuts. Nearly half of the plates were copied from Berengario da Carpi’s commentary on Mondino’s Anothomia published in 1521 and most of the remaining plates are Dryander’s. Many of them were taken from Dryander’s Anatomiae first issued in 1537 and at least six of his plates are believed to have been taken from Vesalius’ Tabulae anatomicae sex. Only forty-one of the original forty-six plates are present in Hardin’s copy.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, March 2012

AL-MAJUSI ‘ALI IBN AL-’ABBAS (d. 994). Liber totius medicine necessaria continens quem . . .  1523.

Haly Abbas, as he was known in the Latin west, was a native of Ahwaz in southwestern Persia and, in all probability, studied medicine at nearby Jundi-Shapur. He served as court physician to the Buyid ruler ‘Adud ad-Dawlah (d. 983) in Baghdad. This book’s clear, direct style, good organization, completeness, and systematic description of contemporary medical knowledge and thought undoubtedly contributed to its becoming the standard medical text until Avicenna’s Canon appeared a century later.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, January, 2012

Nicolaas Tulp (1593-1664). Observationes medicae. 1652.

Along with other distinguished anatomists in Holland, Tulp left a rich legacy of anatomical discoveries.  His name is current in the eponym”Tulp’s valve” (the ileocecal valve).  This book contains the first descriptions of beri-beri and of what is probably diphtheria.  Tulp described the condition we know as migraine, the devastating effects to the lungs caused by tobacco smoking, and revealed an understanding of human phychology in a description of the placebo effect.


January, 2012


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, Dec 2011

ALESSANDRO PASCOLI (1669-1757). Il corpoumano. Perugia: Pe’l Costantini, 1700.

A native of Perugia in central Italy, Pascoli initially practiced medicine in his natal city and then lectured in philosophy and anatomy at the university.  Pope Clement XI appointed him professor of anatomy in Rome.  He performed public dissections similar to his colleague and competitor Vesalius.  His metaphysical, medical and mathematics treatises form a coherent thought and methodology and are evidence that demonstrate the vitality of Italian culture and philos0phy in the seventeenth century.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, November, 2011

JAKOB RÜFF (1500-1558). De conceptu et generatione hominis.

Lithotomost, surgeon, obstetrician and playwright, Ruff settled in Zurich about 1525 where he served as town physician and taught at the university.  Ruff published his book in both German and Latin in 1554.  A comprehensive handbook, the treatise opens with a discussion of conception, development, and nutrition of the fetus.  The anatomy of the uterus and a set of precepts for pregnant women are followed by a section on parturition including care of the mother and infant.



Notes from the Rare Book Room, September 2011

AAALESSANDRO ACHILLINI (1463-1512). Opera omnia in unum collecta. Venice: Apud Hieronymum Scotum, 1568

Achillini graduated from Bologna in 1484 with his doctorate in both medicine and philosophy. He immediately began his advancement through the academic ranks by teaching philosophy and, after 1495, he also taught medicine. He left Bologna for Padua in 1506 because of political difficulties and returned in 1508 to teach until his death four years later.

During his lifetime he was most highly regarded as a teacher of logic and philosophy, and little attention was paid to his medical or anatomical contributions. His Opera omnia was first published in 1508. The contents of the book include: De intelligentiis, De orbibus, De universalibus, De physico auditu, De elementis, De subiecto physionomiae & chiromantiae, De subiecto medicinae, De prima potestate syllogismi, De distinctionibus and, De proportione motuum.

His works were generally on the thought and doctrine of Aristotle. In the latter tract Achillini asserts that physiognomy and chiromancy are speculative sciences and not wholly practical. It was his belief that they were subordinated to natural philosophy.





Memories of Oakdale Sanatorium

Kathy Fait, Libraian at the State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa will be speaking on Memories of Oakdale Sannatarium: Iowa’s Tuberculosis Hospital.

Thursday, September 22, 2011,  5:30-6:30,  Room 2032 at the University of Iowa Main Library.

The year was 1906.  Iowa appropriated $50,000 for a State Sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis.  Kathy Fait will share information about life at Oakdale Sanatorium and the treatments for tuberculosis before the advent of antibiotics.  These included a healthy diet, strong in milk and eggs, fresh air which meant freezing in winter and roasting in the summer, and more invasive methods like collapsing lungs.



Notes from the Rare Book Room, Aug 2011

Du Verney: Research on the ear in 1683

Guichard Joseph Du Verney’s treatise of 1683 was the first scientific account of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the ear.  Du Verney corrected the erroneous belief that the Eustachian tube was an avenue for breathing or hearing by showing that it was simply the channel through which air to the tympanic cavity is renewed.  He correctly explained the mechanism of bone conduction and gave a clear and accurate account of the bony labyrinth.


Notes from the Rare Book Room, July 2011

Frederick Ruysch (1638-1731).  Thesaurus anatomicus.  10 pts.  1729-1737.

Rusch, a Dutch surgeon, anatomist and professor of anatomy at Leiden and Amsterdam, mastered (and probably invented) a method of minute injection of anatomical structures allowing detailed studies.  The recipe for the injected substance has been lost, however.  He made many anatomical investigations, including those of the vascular plexuses of the heart, and was the first to point out the nourishment of the fetus through the umbilical cord.  The ten parts of his Thesaurus Anatomicus are especially noteworthy, and the engraved illustrations which accompany them deserve special mention for their whimsical, almost surealistic, quality.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, May 2011

History of Medicine Society Presentations and Events, 2011/2012

The presentation series for 2011/2012 has now been published.  Talks range from 1) Memories of Oakdale Sanatorium to 2) History of Anesthesia in the Veterans Administration to 3) Medical Quakes in the 18th Century.