Thursday, September 29, 2011

Galen in the classroom

Last week I posted about bringing our 1638 edition of Hippocrates' Aphorisms to the History of Medicine I class. It was fun to introduce some curious medical students to their first rare book - While some of them were hesitant to even touch something so ancient (one made a reference to the "Don't even look at it" scene from This is Spinal Tap), many respectfully held the book and turned the pages. I got some great questions about the history of book production and use, too.

Here's what I'll be bringing to tomorrow's class:

This is an edition of the works of Galen, printed in Basel between 1561-1562. While last week's book was quite petite, this is practically monumental. The works were printed in 8 volumes and then bound in 5 volumes, generously folio-sized.

I'm intrigued by the inscription of one T. (or maybe F.?) Willoughby, presumably one of the book's previous owners. Anyone want to try to decipher the characters next to his name?


Emily said...

KB = Knight Companion of the Bath. KBE = Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Wonder if it's related to something like that? Seems like he'd've used caps. Curious to see what others think.

John S. Wilkins said...

Wouldn't be Huw Willoughby, John Rays patron and colleague?

Anonymous said...

From a friend: "Instant impression is that it is a library marking/classification/location. IT would be interesting to know if Willoughby had a large collection (say 5k+) or not. ANyway, that's teh first thing that flashed."

Maija said...

Thanks for these great comments! I at first thought it was an abbreviation along the lines of what Emily suggests. One of the medical students also wondered if it could be a classification for Willoughby's library. I'd like to do some more research to track down who Willoughby was.