Tuesday, January 09, 2007

World War II rarities

It's been a fairly hectic day here in the History of Medicine Room: a few patron questions, artifacts from the Medical Museum Collection getting the star treatment in a professional photo shoot, and two donations of materials.

One of these donations has brought to our shores an extremely rare imprint from Italy. Pediatric oncologist Dr. Ugo Carpentieri, recently retired from OHSU, brought us an edition of Testut's Anatomia umana, printed in Torino from 1943 to 1945. Twelve parts in eleven volumes, this wartime edition is a reprint of the third Italian edition published in 1921.

Since OCLC records no copy of this edition, or indeed any Italian edition, of this work, I had to go elsewhere for information. I quickly learned that Leo Testut was a French anatomist who lived from 1849-1925; in fact, there is an anatomical museum in Lyon which is named after him. So, I checked the catalog of the Bibliotheque National de France to see if they held this edition. While they do have many titles by Testut (split, unfortunately, into separate files for the eight different recorded versions of his name) including his thesis, they do not have this Italian edition.

So, I moved on to the cataloghi of the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, and searched the SBN catalog, a combined listing of the holdings of 2,300 libraries in the Italian National Library Service. There is no entry for this wartime reprint.

Truly, this is a rare set! The volumes are pristine, neat and tidy in their original bindings, although the quality of the war paper is marginal. Dr. Carpentieri used this text to pass his anatomy exams in Naples, and then carried them with him oversees, first to Galveston, TX, and then to Portland. And now he has passed them along to us for safekeeping, so that scholars--whether of anatomy, medical history, or bibliographical history--can see the originals in person. We are greatly pleased!

1 comment:

Moon said...

Hi Sarah,

I really like your blog. San Jose State is in the middle of Library 2.0, and I am learning the blog ropes. I would like to create a similar blog for SJSU Special Collections for publicity, exhibits, and to use for the history students and faculty.

Thanks for sending out your blog on the archives listserv. I have linked your blog to my post.