On November 16th, 2011, students were treated to a tour of Countway Library’s rare collections by Jack Eckert, curator of the collection at the Center for the History of Medicine. What follows is a photo essay of the delightful finds Eckert shared.
From the Fasciculus Medicinae (1491). Includes some of the earliest anatomical drawings.
From the Fasciculus Medicinae (1491). One of the earliest depictions of a pregnant woman's anatomy.
From the Liber Chronicarum (1493) by Anthonius Koberger. The history of the world includes an illustration of Noah's Ark.
From the Liber Chronicarum (1493) by Anthonius Koberger. One of the earliest depictions of conjoined twins.
The cover of a first edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) by Andreae Vesalii. A text of immense historical value, the Countway Library owns four copies.
From De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) by Andreae Vesalii. Instructive illustrations of musculature.
A letter by Sir Isaac Newton (written c. 1669) in Latin and English regarding the alcahest, a substance once thought to be a universal solvent.
Medical medals like this one were bestowed upon fortunate subjects who received the healing touch of royalty, in this case, Queen Anne of Great Britain, who ruled from 1702 to 1714.
(1746) By Jacques Fabian Gautier d' Agoty, these anatomical illustrations were beautiful yet inaccurate.
Log entries (1850) from a relief expedition to find the crew of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition.
While most have heard of J. J. Audubon's birds, few have seen his quadrupeds, including this drawing of a polar bear.
The collection of J. J. Audubon's quadrupeds also includes these Virginia opossums.
After Sarah H. Furber died from a failed abortion, an unscrupulous physician tried to sell her body to Harvard for medical study. This pamphlet dates from 1848.
Photographs (c.1890) for the study of a bust of Oliver Wendell Holmes. The finished bust is currently at the Boston Public Library, however there is a bronze reproduction at Holmes Hall, the reading room of the Center for the History of Medicine.
This silver rattle was given to John Warren at his birth (1874). He was a descendant of the surgeon John Warren, who founded Harvard Medical School in 1782.
Dated January 4, 1912, this letter was penned by the famed writer Henry James. As you can see, he did not let running out of room on the page prevent him from finishing the letter.