painting of Paracelsus

Paracelsus, father of toxicology | October 2017 Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room @Hardin Library

PARACELSUS (1493-1541). Opera, Bücher und Schrifften. Strasbourg: In Verlegung L. Zetzners seligen Erben, 1616.

painting of Paracelsus
Portrait of Paracelsus, painter unknown

Philippus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim is universally known as Paracelsus. He was born in Switzerland and educated at Basel. Paracelsus unorthodox ideas and teachings put him in conflict with the orthodox establishment of his revolutionary time and he spent most of his life wandering through Europe as an itinerant physician, chemist, theologian, and philosopher.

Paracelsus ideas were still bound up in alchemy and astrology, and his writings imbued with a mysticism which makes them difficult to interpret.  Paracelsus was usually in advance of his time in the area of practical medicine and attracted many followers. First, he applied chemical techniques to pharmacy and therapeutics. Secondly, in his medical teaching he abandoned the ruling system of humours. Paracelsus believed illness was from a body being attacked by outside agents. He administered specific medications for specific illnesses instead of common cure-alls.

Paracelsus influence on the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries was profound and the work of Helmont is unthinkable without him.  Paracelsus is also credited with creating the terms chemistry, gas, and alcohol.

picture of book
Hardin Library’s copy

You may view this book in the John Martin Rare Book Room, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. Make a gift to the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences by donating online or setting up a recurring gift with The University of Iowa Foundation.

John Hunter | History of the Human Teeth | January 2017 Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room @Hardin Library

hunterteeth

John Hunter. 1813 painting by John Jackson
John Hunter in an 1813 painting by John Jackson

JOHN HUNTER (1728-1793). The natural history of the human teeth. London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1771.

John Hunter was an anatomist and surgeon, practicing in London. His tireless energy helped him to overcome whatever obstacles his educational and cultural lacks may have provided. “Hunter remains one of the great all-round biologists like Haller and Johannes Müller, and with Paré and Lister, one of the three greatest surgeons of all time. . . . Hunter found surgery a mechanical art and left it an experimental science” (Fielding H. Garrison).

One of Hunter’s most important works was this treatise on the teeth. This book was the first scientific study of the teeth and is basic to all modern dentistry.

You may view this book in the John Martin Rare Book Room, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. Make a gift to the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences by donating online or setting up a recurring gift with The University of Iowa Foundation.