Rare Book Room Category


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, November 2012

JACQUES GAMELIN (1738-1803) AND LAVALÉE, JACQUES.  Nouveau recueil d’ostéologie et de myologie.  1779

Gamelin,published this atlas of the bones and muscles for artists in an edition of 200 copies, engraved from drawings that Gamelin made at his own dissection facility with the assistance of professors of the College of Surgery of Toulouse. The first part of the work is devoted to bones; the second part concerns muscles. Gamelin personally engraved some plates; others are by Martin and Lavalée. The plates are larger, more artistically varied, and more expressive and fantastic in their conceptions than other works of its type. Allegorical scenes of death and battle appear throughout the book. Gamelin, in the preface to the second book, is critical of what he considered the typically unvaried nature of the figures in anatomical illustrations. His figures are distinguished by their bold and dramatic nature poses, such as the écorché crucifixion in the second book or this remarkable praying skeleton from the first.

Gamelin illustration


Judith Houck, Univ. of Wisconsin will speak on The Medicalization of Menopause over the past 100 years

Judith Houck, Assoc. Professor of Medical History, History of Science, & Gender and Women’s Studies, Dept. of Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison will speak on “The medicalization of menopause over the past 100 years”,   Thursday, October 25, 2012, 5:30-6:30,  Room 401, Univ. of Iowa Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

How did menopause change from being a natural and welcome end to a woman’s childbearing years to a deficiency disease in need of medical and pharmacological intervention? Judith Houck traces the history of this transformation over the last 100 years, exploring how pharmacological options, cultural ideas and anxieties of the moment affected medical and popular understandings of menopause at any given time.





New Exhibit at Hardin

There’s a new exhibit at the Hardin Library, 3rd floor near the front door.

Title:  Cutting for the Stone

This exhibit includes information about lithotomy (the removal of bladder stones), which is perhaps the least well-known of the ancient surgical procedures.  Bladder stones have been recorded as far back as 6,500 B.C.    Hippocrates warned that young physicians should not risk performing the complex procedure but rather rely on lithotomists.  The exhibit highlights famous suffers from the 1600-1700’s. Bizarre facts and records are revealed.

Jean Civiale, in the early 19th century, collected data about optional lithotomy procedures, thus being the first known physician to practice Evidence Based Medicine.

bladder stone
bladder stone


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, October 2012

JOHN LIZARS (1787?-1860). A system of anatomical plates of the human body. Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars, [1840?].

Lizars developed a great reputation as a teacher and was also a bold and forthright surgeon. He made a number of original contributions, was a pioneer in performing ovariotomies in Europe, and he clearly demonstrated the value of abdominal exploration as a diagnostic procedure. However, he was somewhat ahead of his time and received criticism for exploring new surgical techniques, though later many of his techniques became widely accepted. Lizars was an active writer and prepared many papers on hernia, lithotomy, and hemorrhoids. Although it contains no new discoveries, this superb atlas is certainly one of the most elegant works of the nineteenth century. The 101 lithographs were drawn by the author and his brother, William, from the author’s dissections.

Lizar illustration


Harold Williamson to speak on the History of the Dept. of Pharmacology


The University of Iowa History of Mediciine Society invites you to hear:  Harold Williamson speak on The History of the Dept. of Phamacology at the Univ. of Iowa.  Thurs. Sept. 27, 5:30-6:30, Room 401 Hardin Library.

Learn about the first 100 years of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Iowa. The department traces its origins to 1870, when Dr. Philo Judson Farnsworth was appointed to the chair of materia medica, the name of the first offering on drugs. The first two heads of the department (Drs. Farnsworth and Chase) were practicing physicians in Iowa. During their tenure the presentation of drugs moved from materia medica to pharmacology. Beginning with the third head of the department (Dr. Plant), appointments were made to those who had extensive experimental training and research became prominent.



Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room

CLAUDE NICOLAS LE CAT (1700-1768). Traité des sens. Nouvelle ed. Amsterdam: Chez J. Wetstein, 1744.

Le Cat, a man of many interests, was one of France’s foremost surgeons and researchers. Le Cat was interested in the physiology of the nervous system. He was a contemporary of Haller and incorrectly believed, contrary to Haller, that the dura mater and arachnoid were the seat of sensation.



Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, August 2012

REINIER DE GRAAF (1641-1673). Tractatus anatomico-medicus de succi pancreatici natura & usu. Leiden: Ex officina Hackiana, 1671.

Graaf, a Dutch anatomist and physiologist, was celebrated for his work on digestion as well as on the anatomy of the genital organs of both sexes. He was an early investigator of the pancreas and collected the pancreatic juice of dogs by means of artificially created pancreatic fistulae.   more…


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, July 2012

JAN SWAMMERDAM (1637-1680). Tractatus physico-anatomico-medicus de respiratione usuque pulmonum. Leiden: Apud Danielem, Abraham. & Adrian, à Gaasbeeck, 1667.

Despite his short life and a professional career of only about twelve years, Swammerdam of Amsterdam was one of the outstanding comparative anatomists of the seventeenth century. He was a pioneer in microscopic studies, investigating especially the anatomy of insects.  The present work, a classic on respiration, was his inaugural dissertation at the University of Leipzig and one of only four works published during his lifetime. He first showed that the lungs of a newborn infant would float if the child had ever breathed, and this discovery was put to legal use in cases of infanticide. The engraved title page illustrates his ingenious, if complicated, device for the study of respiration.


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.


Annual R. Palmer Howard Dinner : Spot Ward, Crazy Sally, and the Chevalier Taylor: Three Medical Quacks in 18th Century Britain


The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society announces the R. Palmer Howard Dinner for 2012, Friday, April 13, 2012, 6:00-9:30. 

Lynda Payne, prof. in Medical Humanities & Bioethics, and History, University of Missouri Kansas City will speak on “Spot Ward, Crazy Sally, and the Chevalier Taylor:  Three Medical Quacks in Eighteenth-Century Britain”. 

Reception, dinner and lecture will be at the Sheraton Hotel.  Make your reservations now but no later than April 6 with  Donna Sabin, 319-335-6706, donna-sabin@uiowa.edu
Online form (print & mail): http://hosted.lib.uiowa.edu/histmed/index.html.  Seats for the lecture only will be available.