Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Of quinsy: new acquisitions in History of Medicine Collection

What is quinsy, you might ask? Interestingly, the Medical Subject Headings from the National Library of Medicine can't tell you. But here in the History of Medicine Room, where we deal in obscure usages and antiquated words, we have our ways of finding these things out. OK, I used Merriam-Webster. Quinsy is "an abscess in the tissue around a tonsil usually resulting from bacterial infection and often accompanied by pain and fever."

Before today, a keyword search on "quinsy" in the OHSU library catalog wouldn't have gotten you anywhere; now, you'll find Gerard van Swieten's commentaries on the aphorisms of Boerhaave. This morning we received back from cataloging several new additions to the History of Medicine Collection, including two more volumes in the Swieten set.

Filling in the gaps in a broken set of a given work is the labor of acquisitions; the love is represented by the rest of the titles we got in today, including:

Thomas Willis's De anima brutorum, 1672
John Hunter's Traité des maladies vénériennes, 1787
Rene Descartes Tractatus de homine, 1677
Francis Glisson's Tractatus de ventriculo, 1677
Paul Bert's Pression barometrique, 1878

Landmark titles. Beautiful illustrations. The type of paper that just feels good to the fingers. And great words like quinsy. What's not to love?