Friday, December 02, 2011

Thomas Willis in the classroom

Here's the next installation of a series of posts about books I've been bringing to the History of Medicine I class, including editions of Vesalius, Galen, and Hippocrates. This week's History of Medicine I lecture covered a lot of ground - Leeuwenhoek, Thomas Willis, and Thomas Sydenham. I had a few different choices of what to bring for this class, and decided on a recent acquisition made in 2009.

Willis, Thomas. Pharmaceutice Rationalis, or, An Exercitation of the Operations of Medicines in Humane Bodies: Shewing the Signs, Causes, and Cures of Most Distempers Incident Thereunto ; in Two Parts ; As Also a Treatise of the Scurvy, and the Several Sorts Thereof, with Their Symptoms, Causes, and Cure. London: Printed for T. Dring, C. Harper, and J. Leigh : 1679.

Thomas Willis (1621-1675) was an English physician who co-founded the Royal Society and made important advances in anatomy and neurology, among other fields. This is the first English edition of his last work. Pharmaceutice rationalis is one of the major English works on pharmacology, and also contains observations on diabetes that contributed greatly to endocrinology. I also made sure to show the medical students the section where Willis discusses the effects of what was then a new and trendy beverage: coffee.

Our copy of this book carries the very snazzy bookplate of Otto Orren Fisher:

Dr. Fisher was a scientist and book collector who lived in Detroit. His collection was dispersed, and books he once owned can now be found in many museums and libraries.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Historical Collections & Archives receives Edwards Lifesciences Fund award

We are proud to announce that Historical Collections & Archives has received an award from the Edwards Lifesciences Fund to complete a public history project on M. Lowell Edwards, co-inventor of the Starr-Edwards heart valve.

Funding will support a six-month project that will include the development of a Web presentation of the library's collections related to Lowell Edwards, providing longevity for our current exhibition, educating the public about M. Lowell Edwards, and providing online access to selected materials in our collections. Historical Collections & Archives staff will collaborate with staff in the library's Content Management & Systems department to complete this project. The award will also fund the production of a booklet to publicize the library's resources on M. Lowell Edwards, and the preservation of the Jeri L. Dobbs Collection of heart valve prototypes.

This news came on the heels of the announcement of a grant from LSTA to fund the Isabel McDonald Library's digitization project, which HC&A will also support. All of us in HC&A are looking forward to not one but two exciting grant projects in 2012!