Frankenstein | John Martin Rare Book Room Annual Open House | Thurs. March 22, 5-8pm

John Martin Rare Book Room Open House
Thursday, March 22

Now in the 200th year since its publication, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus continues to raise questions about humanity, scientific ethics, and the place of the monster in our imaginations.

Frontispiece to Frankenstein 1831
Steel engraving by Theodore Von Holst appears as frontispiece to Frankenstein, 1831 ed.
This event features books and manuscripts from the John Martin Rare Book Room and Main Library’s Special Collections, which together trace the creation of the novel, and the scientific world that it grew out of.

Medicine, Shakespeare, and Books | Open House John Martin Rare Book Room @Hardin Library | Thursday, March 23, 4pm-7pm

picture of book by burton
Robert Burton
The Anatomy of Melancoly, 1624

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society and the University Libraries invite you to the annual open house in the John Martin Rare Book Room.

Early Modern England: Medicine, Shakespeare & Books

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 4pm-7pm

John Martin Rare Book Room, 4th Floor, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences

37 books from 1531 to 1697 will be on display highlighting general medical beliefs, herbals, monsters, poisons and cures.  The books will also feature Shakespeare’s contemporaries and doctors in Shakespeare’s plays.

picture of wolfsbane plant
Henry IV, Part II


Donate to the Hardin Library.  Donate to the UI History of Medicine Society.

Directions to Hardin Library.
Limited metered parking available behind library.  Newton Road Parking Ramp 1 block away.

Cambus: take Pentacrest route to VA Loop or Newton Road Ramp stops.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program please call Janna Lawrence at 319-335-9871.


Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room, July 2014: Nathaniel Highmore

Nathaniel Highmore (1613-1685)

Corporis Humani Disquisitio Anatomica

The Hague: Ex oficina Samuelis Brown, 1651.

[Image via Fisher Library Digital Collections, University of Toronto].

Nathaniel Highmore of Dorset, England was a British surgeon known for his 1651 treatise on anatomy, the first of its kind to give an accurate account of the circulatory system. Highmore studied at Oxford beginning in 1631, after which he practiced at Sherborne in Dorset. Corporis, the best-known of his several works, is divided into three sections corresponding to the abdomen, thorax, and head. Although the plates, drawn in the style of Vesalius, echo those of an earlier period, Highmore was responsible for a number of important advances. The most noteworthy of these are his descriptions of the sinus maxillaris (the largest nasal cavity, then known as the antrum of Highmore) and the mediastinum testes (the septum dividing the scrotum, or Highmore’s body).

To learn more about medical history, visit the John Martin Rare Book Room website.

Get to know Curator Donna Hirst at Iowa Now.


Elements of the Practice of Medicine

Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room

June, 2014

RICHARD BRIGHT (1789-1858) and THOMAS ADDISON (1793-1860). Elements of the practice of medicine. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1839.

[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]This rare work represents a joint undertaking by two of the most famous physicians in nineteenth-century Europe. The preface describes it as “a work at once elementary and practical to which [teachers] might refer their pupils as a companion and assistant during the period of their studies.”


[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]Elements lists over sixty diseases and conditions and includes a lucid account of their histories, causes, prognoses, diagnoses, and treatments. Though the style is dated, the descriptions of the diseases excel in accuracy and conciseness. Originally issued in three parts from 1836 to 1839, the work is bound in  a single volume. The intended second volume was never published. Hardin has digitized 17 images from the book. See them here.


Text adapted from Donna Hirst, Curator, John Martin Rare Book Room.

Images: Respectively, Richard Bright, Thomas Addison. Credits: Wikimedia,