Rare Book Room Category


Celebrate Halloween with some anatomical illustrations

The John Martin Rare Book Room has over 350 anatomy books.  Enjoy this selection!


Andreas Vesalius


 Bernhard Siegfried Albinus


 Jacopo Berengario da Carpi


 William Cheselden


 Charles Estienne


 Genga Bernardino

Craving more?  All images from National Library of Medicine’s collection.




2,000 Year History of Scabies

Russell W. Currier, past president of the American Veterinary Medical History Society will speak on:

“2,000 Year History of Scabies:  From Humoral Beliefs to Contagion to Modern Understanding”

Thursday, October 24, 2013, 5:30-6:30
Room 401
Univ. of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

The transition from Hippocrates’ humors and Galenic dogma to microscopic causes of illness was a long and distressing experience delaying for centuries the concept of contagion.  Manifestations of scabies infestations were attributed erroneously to systemic phenomena, even digestive disorders. This lecture will present a 2,000 year review of this  wholly human parasite that spread in ‘deep time’ to numerous animal species as variant subspecies.


Graduate Student Spotlight : Anne Price

picture of Anne PriceName: Anne Price
Hometown: Columbus, NE
Undergraduate Education: University of Nebraska – Lincoln BA English ‘12
Graduate Education: University of Iowa, MA Library and Information Science, ’14.
Future Plans: Hopefully a job working with either a museum collection or an archive. I’m also open to working in youth services at a public library.
Why I’m Working at Hardin: My interests are primarily special collections and the opportunity arose for me to work in the John Martin Rare Book Room
Favorite Part of Working at Hardin: Just seeing the daily operations it takes to keep a special collection accessible.
Fun Fact:  My great-great uncle was a third class passenger on the R.M.S. Titanic, and was among the people rescued by the R.M.S. Carpathia.

Anne works in the John Martin Rare Book Room as a Student Specialist I.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, September 2013

HANS VON GERSDORFF (ca. 1455-1529). Feldtbuch der Wundartzney. Strasbourg: Bey Hans Schotten, 1530.

Gersdorff was a milGersdorff-149-lxxii-001itary surgeon who gained wide experience during forty years of campaigning and was an expert in the treatment of battlefield injuries. His work covers anatomy, surgery, leprosy, and glossaries of anatomical terms, diseases, and medications. Gersdorff emphasized a well-founded knowledge of anatomy because the surgeon was frequently called on to deal with extensive bodily trauma. He derived his anatomy from Arabic authors and works of Guy de Chauliac. The surgical portion of the work was devoted to wound surgery and covers the methods he employed for extracting foreign objects and amputating limbs. He used a tourniquet to control bleeding when amputating and covered the stump with the bladder of a bovine to help control postoperative hemorrhaging. Of special interest are the sedatives and analgesics, although he appears not to have used them in his practice. The section on leprosy is given over largely to remedies for a disease he did not believe could be cured.



H. Stanley Thompson to speak on Abraham Flexner’s Contributions to the Univ. of Iowa COM


The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to hear:

H. Stanley Thompson, Emeritus Professor,  Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa College of Medicine speaking on:

 “Abraham Flexner’s Contributions to the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine”

Thursday, September 26, 2013, 5:30-6:30
Room 401
Univ. of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences


New Hardin Exhibit: History of Dentistry

There’s a new exhibit at Hardin, 3rd floor.   “Dentistry:  Innovations and Curiosities”

Stop by to see information on antiquities, medieval practices, the founders of modern dentistry, early dental tools, the early days of the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and much more.

Dental Examination, University of Iowa 1920′s;  Tooth key used to extract teeth from the mid-18th to the early 20th century.Tooth keyDentistry exam


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room @Hardin Library

Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room      August 2013

MARC JEAN BOURGERY (1797-1849). Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme, comprenant la médecine opératoire.  Paris: 1831-1854.

Bourgery’s work is without question one of the most beautifully illustrated anatomical and surgical treatises ever published in any lanBourgery-1569-tome 1-fp-001guage. The 726 hand-colored lithographs were executed after drawings by Nicolas Henri Jacob (1781-1871), a pupil of David. Jacob made his drawings from dissections and other anatomical preparations. Bourgery studied medicine at Paris where he interned under Laennec and Dupuytren and won gold medals for excellence from the Paris faculty of medicine and hospital administration. After ten years as health officer at Romilly, Bourgery returned to Paris to continue his career in anatomy and surgery. Bourgery divided his treatise into four parts which covered descriptive anatomy, surgical anatomy and techniques, general anatomy, and embryology and microscopic anatomy. Four volumes of the set are devoted to surgical anatomy and cover in detail nearly all the major operations that were performed during the first half of the nineteenth century.



Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, July 2013

GASPAR SCHOTT (1608-1666). Physica curiosa, sive mirabilia naturae et artis libris XII. comprehensa, quibus pleraque…Wurzburg,] 1697.

Schott was the author of several works on mathematics, physics, and magic. His most interesting work is the “Magia universalis naturæ et artis”, 1657-1659, which contains a collection of mathematical problems and a large number of physical experiments in optics and acoustics. He published “Pantometricum Kircherianum”; “Physica curiosa”, a supplement to the “Magia universalis”; “Anatomia physico-hydrostatica fontium et fluminum”, and a “Cursus mathematicus”. “Physica Curiosa” is a large compendium of pictures and stories regarding monsters, physical abnormalities, and bizarre animals. Rather than a work of original scholarship Schott’s book, like many others of its kind, attempts to gather together as much as is commonly known on a topic. Many of the descriptions of animals and creatures repeat apocryphal accounts as if they are fact, and perpetuate belief in unicorns, satyrs, and other mythical beings”.




Univ. of Iowa College of Medicine Historical Photographs

University of Iowa College of Medicine Historical Photograhs are now available through the Iowa Digital Library.  The collection includes 194 images from 1844-2010.  The collection is a composite of several collections held at the Hardin Library including two boxes of lantern glass slides from ca. 1910.  The original slides are now housed in the University Archives.  Work to document and compile these images has been active in the Rare Book Room since 2012.  It is with great pleasure that we can now make these images broadly available.

Donna Hirst, Curator
John Martin Rare Book Room   June 26, 2013
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Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room

Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room,  June 2013

STEVEN BLANKAART (1650-1702). Anatomia reformata, sive Concinna corporis humani dissection… Leiden, 1695.

Blankaart, Dutch pharmacist, physician, and anatomist, initially practiced pharmacy and later medicine in Amsterdam. He studied medicine and philosophy at Franeker where he graduated in 1674. He was a prolific writer and was the first to edit and publish a medical journal in Holland. Blankaart is also known for his use of the injection technique to study the details of blood vessel distribution. This technique was first suggested by Leonardo da Vinci and later used by such prominent anatomists as Graaf, Swammerdam, and Ruysch. Blankaart first published this popular anatomical text at Leiden in 1687. In this comprehensive work, he cited nearly seventy authors whose works he had consulted. The finely engraved plates in this profusely illustrated work attest to Blankaart’s keen observational powers.  A plate depicts some of the apparatus used in the embalming process.