Monday, May 14, 2007

Celebrating America's 400th birthday--and, our 16th century medical texts

Today marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown colony, which, according to some scholars makes today the 400th birthday of America (I prefer to count from 1776, but I'm sort of a purist).

Four hundred years is a long time, especially in medical history. While we don't have anything in the collections here that dates from 1607 precisely, we do have quite a few things that the English colonists might have been able to use, had they had the foresight to bring them:

Celsus, Aulus Cornelius.
In hoc volumine haec continentur ... Medicinae libri VIII.
[Venetiis : In aedibus Aldi et Andreae Asulani soceri, 1528]

Lobera de Avila, Luis.
Ein nutzlich Regiment der Gesundtheit genant das Vanquete ... Tr. from Spanish.
Augsburg, Heynrich Steyner, 1531

Vesalius, Andreas, 1514-1564.
Andreae Vesalii Brvxellensis, invictissimi Caroli V. Imperatoris medici, de humani corporis fabrica.
Basileae : per Ioannem Oporinum, [1555]

Rositini, Pietro, 16th cent.
Compendio di tvtta la cirvgia, vtilissimo ad ogni studioso di quella, & sopra modo necessario.
In Venetia, appresso Lodouico Auanze [1561]

Galen.
Cl. Galeni Pergameni omnia, quae extant, in Latinum sermonem conuersa.
[Basileae : In Officina Frobeniana, per Hieronymum Frobenium & Nicolaum Episcopum], 1561-1562.

Vesalius, Andreas, 1514-1564.
Anatomes totivs, aere inscvlpta delineatio.
Lvtetiae Parisiorvm, Apvd A. Wechelvm, 1564.

Frascati, Gabriele, 1520 (ca.)-1581.
De aquis Returbii Ticinensibus commentarii mineras, facultates et usum ear. explicantes...
Ticini : Apud Hieronymum Bartholum, 1575.

Barrough, Philip, fl. 1590.
The method of physick, containing the causes, signes and cures of inward diseases in mans body, from the head to the foote, whereunto is added, the forme and rule of making remedies and medicines, which our physitions commonly use at this day, with the proportion, quantitie, and names of each medicine.
London : imprinted by Richard Field, 1596.

Paré, Ambroise, 1510?-1590.
Les oevvres d'Ambroise Paré ... Diuisees en vingt neuf liures ... Reueués augmentees par l'autheur
Paris, Chez la veufue G.Bvon, 1598.

These texts are all European, representing the best of Western medicine as it stood in the sixteenth century. Which is not to say, however, that the people Smith et alii encountered didn't have a few remedies up their sleeves as well. Check out these six titles in the OHSU Library collections to get a different perspective on the medicine that may have been available to the Jamestown settlers, 400 years ago today....

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