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, June 2012

rbr newsletter 2012 6

Sir THOMAS BROWNE (1605-1682). A true and full coppy of that which was most imperfectly and Surreptitiously printed before under the name of Religio Medici. [London]: 1643.

Browne was not only a noted physician, but one of the great English writers and philosophers of the 17th century. His works deal more with moral and philosophical issues than medicine, as in this, his masterpiece and most popular work. In the book he sets forth his personal religious philosophy and the tenets by which he lived. Browne’s simple and concise essays were widely read, commented upon, and criticized. His book has deeply influenced many individuals and retains its appeal even after three centuries. This first authorized edition contains the curious allegorical engraving by William Marshall which depicts a man falling headfirst into the sea from the rock of faith. A hand emerging from nearby clouds catches him by the arm and saves him from the sea.

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,
Online form (print & mail):  Seats for the lecture only will be available.

The Herbals: Sources of Health and Beauty – Open House

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

The Herbals: Sources of Health and Beauty

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 4:00-7:30

Over 30 Herbals including facsimiles of medieval manuscripts, classic herbals from the 17th and 18 centuries, and 19th century reference books and manuals will be on display.  There will also be a special exhibit on conservation and restoration techniques used on the 17th century Mattioli.

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.

Eating Books

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to hear:  Adam Hooks, Asst. Professor, Dept. of English, speaking on: Eating Books, Thurs., February 23, 2012, 5:30-6:30, Room 401 Hardin Library.  “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”  Francis Bacon.

Medical HOMS Hooke 2 12 newsletter


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, February 2012

MOTONORI TAKI (1732-1801). Kokei saikyuho [Emergency remedies for the benefit of the people]. 1789.

The author was a court physician famous in the annals of Japanese medicine. He was also known as Rankei Taki and Gentoku Tamba, combinations of his professional and personal names. Taki prepared this early Japanese home medical adviser at the request of the shogun Iyeharu in order to help disseminate medical knowledge among the common people. The three-volume set contains information on how to remedy maladies of various kinds and meet emergencies without the help of a physician. The work is illustrated with more than one hundred and thirty woodcuts of plants, animals, fish, and insects with medicinal uses, as well as illustrations of acupuncture sites, methods of reducing fractures, anatomical details, etc.


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