Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Neurological gems

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I attended the dedicatory lecture for the opening of the Rosenbaum Library last Thursday. Speaker Lilla Vekerdy showed images of the some of the highlights of the H. Richard Tyler Collection of neuroscience texts, and I decided to do a little comparison with our own History of Medicine Collection here at OHSU. What I discovered is that our editions are especially interesting for their provenance:

Tyler's library includes a 1496 edition of Albertus of Orlamunde's Philosophia pauperum, an early psychology textbook. Vekerdy showed Albertus' diagram of the ventricles of the brain, sort of a 2D version of a phrenological model, with three perfect circles neatly packed into the brain case. Alas, our earliest printed book is 1528, and we have no Albertus.

Next, Vekerdy mentioned Caspar Bartholin's Anatomicae institutiones, which is represented by a 1626 edition in the Tyler Collection. Here at OHSU, we do in fact have a version of this work: our 1677 edition of Thomas Bartholin's edition of the Institutiones was given to us by Dr. Robert S. Dow, the noted Portland neurologist.

Marcello Malpighi's Epistolae anatomicae was discussed as one of the first neurological texts to contain illustrations based on microscopic investigations; while we don't have this particular work of Malpighi's, we do have a 1697 edition of his works, published posthumously in London. This copy was purchased with monies from the George E. Burget Memorial Fund.

Lastly, Vekerdy mentioned the great Charles Bell and his work on cranial anatomy. His 1802 text is considered by some to be "the Magna Carta of neurology." While we currently only have a reprint of the 1811 brain anatomy, we do have several of his other neurological works, including an 1833 edition of The nervous system of the human body donated by the Portland neurosurgeon John Francis Ortschild, former student of Harvey Cushing.

For more information on these or other neurosciences titles in the History of Medicine Collection, search our online catalog or contact us directly.

No comments: