Notes from the Rare Book Room Category


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.


Art and Medicine: Partners through the Centuries

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society and the University Libraries
invite you to an
Open House in the John Martin Rare Book Room

Art and Medicine:  Partners through the Centuries

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 4:30-7:30
John Martin Rare Book Room, 4th floor,
Hardin Library for the Health Sciences


John Martin Rare Book Room- News Notes, Feb 2011

Le Boursier, a prominent Parisian midwife, first published the present work in 1759 without illustrations. The success of the book encouraged her to have later editions illustrated by Jean Robert (fl. 1746-1782).  The 1769 edition was the first book on midwifery to appear with plates printed in multiple colors. Robert, a pupil of Le Blon, is known to have illustrated only three books and this was his most copiously illustrated book. The finely applied colors often appear to be hand-painted rather than printed.


Notes from the Rare Book Room December, 2010

An Invitation to Explore the Past

Visit us before, during or after the holidays and bring a friend.  To insure that the room is open email or call 335-9154.



Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room


Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654) was an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer. His published books, The English Physician (1652) and the Complete Herbal (1653), contain a rich store of pharmaceutical and herbal knowledge.

Culpeper spent the greater part of his life in the English outdoors cataloging hundreds of medicinal herbs. He criticized what he considered the unnatural methods of his contemporaries, writing: “This not being pleasing, and less profitable to me, I consulted with my two brothers, DR. REASON and DR. EXPERIENCE, and took a voyage to visit my mother NATURE, by whose advice, together with the help of Dr. DILIGENCE, I at last obtained my desire; and, being warned by MR. HONESTY, a stranger in our days, to publish it to the world, I have done it.”


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, Sept 2010

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Robert Fludd (1574-1637) was a prominent English Paracelsian physician, astrologer,and mathematian.  He was the first person to discuss the circulation of the blood, and did in fact arrive at the correct conclusion.  His conclusion was based on the macrocosm-microcosm analysis, a theory in which all occurrences in the microcosm (man) are influenced by the macrocosm (the heavens).  His theory was that the blood must circulate because the heart is like the sun and the blood like the planets.  William Harvey later explained the circulation of the blood in more modern and experimental terms, though still referring to the macrocosm-microcosm analogy of Fludd.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, August 2010


Sir Charles Wheatstone  (1802-1875) was an English scientist and inventor of many scientific breakthroughs of the Victorian era, including his 1838 invention of the stereoscope (a device for displaying three-dimensional images). Stereopsis, was first described by Wheatstone  in research which led him to make stereoscopic drawings and construct the stereoscope. He showed that our impression of solidity is gained by the combination in the mind of two separate pictures of an object taken by both of our eyes from different points of view.



Notes from the Rare Book Room, July 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010,  5:30-6:30
Scamman, Franklin, M.D.  Prof. Dept. of Anesthesiology, University of Iowa
The Anesthesia for the First Heart Transplant: Cape Town 1967

Thursday, October 28, 2010, 5:30-6:30
George W. Beran, D.V.M., Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus Vet. Microbiol. & Prev. Med., ISU
One Health:  Human & Animal Rabies, an issue in human & animal relations

Friday, November 19, 2010,  5:30-6:30
Mark Waddell, Ph.D., Assist. Prof., Dept. of History, Michigan State University
Viper’s Flesh and Unicorn’s Horn: The Quest for a Magical Panacea

Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5:30-6:30
Axel Ruprecht D.D.S., M.Sc.D., F.R.C.D.(C), Prof. of Diag. Sci. & Oral & Maxillofacial Rad., UI
The History of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

Thursday, February 24, 2011, TBD
 Micheil Cannistra, Sparks essay contest Winner,  3rd Year Med. student, U of I
Indian Giver:  Lynch Syndrome, The Navajo, and the Genetic Revolution

Thursday, March 24, 2011, 4:30-7:30
John Martin Rare Book Rm,. 4th floor, Hardin Library for the Health Sci., U of Ia
Open House in the John Martin Rare Book Room

Friday, April 28, 2011, 6:00-9:00
Allen Shotwell, M.A., M.S. , PhD (ABD) in History & Phil. of Sci. at Ind. Univ.
The Anatomist and the Book in the Early Sixteenth Century


Notes from the Rare Book Room

Ed HoltumSince 1971 EDWIN HOLTUM  has worked for the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, the University of Iowa Libraries and as Curator of the John Martin Rare Book Room.  He retires June 30, 2010.

Ed Holtum’s retirement party is 3:00-4:30 Wednesday, June 30, 2010 in the 1st floor Staff Lounge of the Main Library. You are invited to help Ed celebrate.


Notes from the Rare Book Room: Healing by laying on of hands, 1628-1683

Although born in Ireland, Valentine Greatrakes was English, his ancestors having settled there in the late sixteenth century. In 1641, the family was forced to flee England during an Irish revolt. He was privately educated in theology and the humanities in Devon where the family lived. When he was nineteen, Greatrakes returned to Ireland, determined to regain what he could of his father’s estate. About four years after he regained his estate, Greatrakes “had an Impulse, or a strange perswasion . . . that God had given me the blessing of curing the Kings-Evil”, also known as scrophula. His method was to use his hands to stroke the affected part. His successes were such that he was soon charged with practicing medicine without a license but he countered that, since he charged no fee, he needed no license. Although forbidden to heal, he continued as before and eventually was stroking for all manner of complaints. He effected many cures, achieved great popularity, and was even called upon by Charles II to exercise his powers on three patients from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. After his 1666 tour of England , he returned to live quietly in Ireland and cure those who came to his door. The highlighted tract was written in response to charges contained in a pamphlet by David Lloyd (1635-1692) which attacked his morals and techniques. Greatrakes prepared this small book to answer those criticisms and certify the validity of his cures. Essentially prepared as a letter to Robert Boyle, the book contains, in addition to the autobiographical introduction, over fifty letters from individuals, public figures, patients, churchmen, physicians, and Fellows of the Royal Society testifying to the success of his cures.