New to the MHL!

In case you haven’t been keeping up, here are some of the latest things to come into our collection:

See more of our latest additions right here! And you can subscribe to the RSS feed of our latest additions here.

Digital Highlights: Johann Remmelin’s “Kleiner Welt Spiegel”

The Archives and Special Collections of the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library of Columbia University have digitized the 1661 German translation of Johann Remelin’s Catoptrum Microcosmicum.

Check out the great video made about the process:

And read their full post about digitizing a medical pop-up book! You can check out the final result in the MHL here.

Digital Highlights: Home Dangers

Mrs. Priestley’s 1885 lecture Unseen dangers in the home is a tour de force collection of late Victorian concerns about health and hygiene. She starts right off with the dangers of polluted air and moves on through bad water and the dangers of in-house piping among other things. It’s interesting to note that Priestley’s text assumes her audience is one of well-off matrons with disposable income; this is not a lecture designed to help the working poor, for example. She recounts anecdotes from friends with houses in Mayfair, Picadilly, and St. James, who have had to deal with complaints from their servants of bad air in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and attics.

Flip through the pages of Mrs. Priestley’s lecture below or follow this link to read Unseen dangers in the home.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Lots of state medical journals, that’s what’s new around here!

Check out:

And we also have a ton of new monographs:

And as always, check out our full collection for more!

Digital Highlights: “Letters From a Mourning City”

If you’re a fan of the personal narrative, as I am, then any new one you find is an immediate treasure be it a collection of letters, autobiography, diary, or whatever.

The 1887 Letters from a Mourning City, originally written in Swedish by the traveller Axel Munthe and translated into English by Maude V. White, is a fascinating travelogue of Munthe’s trip to Naples in 1884 during an outbreak of cholera in the city.

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read Letters from a Mourning City (Naples. Autumn 1884).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Check out some of the latest additions to our collection!

As always, there’s more from the Medical Heritage Library at our full collection!

Guest Post: Women and the Tropics

troptrialsAs the summer winds down, I’m sure many of us are packing for a last vacation trip. The woman traveler can pick up some 19th century women’s travel and health tips from Tropical trials. A hand-book for women in the tropics.

With a cover featuring a gilded umbrella, palm trees, pyramids, and a list of the many tropical places one could travel in the late 19th century, including China, Burmah [sic], India, Melanesia, and Egypt, Tropical trials is a definitive travel guide for English women heading to exotic destinations.

While my travel essentials include sunscreen, a bathing suit, and a book, ladies in 1883 had exhaustive suggestions for traveling in comfort. Essentials include mosquito curtains, punkahs, an umbrella –silk with a cotton cover– and goggles to fight glare, dust and even “eye-flies.”

Tropical trials also includes remarks on diets (how to make a water filter), domestic economy (how to navigate a bazaar and hire a native chef), and how to treat simple maladies (including giddiness, nervousness, and sea-sickness). Trials particularly shows colonialist bias through its suggestions for the management and rearing of children in the tropics (including its warning against children acquiring Native Habits).

If you’re feeling up to traveling 1883-style, peruse the many suggestions, anecdotes, hints, and general remarks of Major Hunt below or follow this link to read Tropical trials. A hand-book for women in the tropics.

If you’re looking for the man’s guide to the tropics, Major S. Leigh Hunt and Alexander S. Kenny wrote On Duty under a Tropical Sun, also available via the Medial Heritage Library. The authors suggest that while each book are complete travel guides, On Duty especially addresses men’s issues while Tropical Trials is best suited for women.

Flip through the pages of Tropical trials below!

Digital Highlights: Disquisitions on Ancient Medicine

What we might now call “history of medicine,” Richard Millar in 1811 thought of calling “medical archaeology.” His work in the field was inspired by “some singular traits” he felt he had discovered in ancient Greek medicine that he thought had parallels in other “rude, or semibarbarous, tribes…” and he wrote a book to prove it.

He starts at the beginning: “This will commence with the earliest trace of tradition or history,…” (29)

Flip through the pages below or follow this link to read Disquisitions in the history of medicine. Part first, Exhibiting a view of physic, as observed to flourish, during remote periods, in Europe, and the East.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL: Anatomy, Myology, and Operative Surgery

The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library has recently added several important volumes in the history of medicine to the Medical Heritage Library.  Though the Health Sciences Library participated in MHL’s Sloan Foundation and NEH funded digitization projects, the size of these items precluded them being digitized at that time.


From the Albinus anatomy.

Bernhard Siegfried Albinus’ monumental anatomical atlas of 1749, Tabulae Sceleti et Musculorum Corporis Humani [Plates of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body], is one of the best-known works in the history of anatomy. It features striking engravings of human skeletons standing before tombs, cherubs, and the first living rhinoceros to reach Europe.

Another volume includes two works by Jacques Gautier-D’Agoty: Anatomie de la Tête (1748) [Anatomy of the Head] and Myologie Complette en Couleur (1746) [Complete Myology in Color].  Gautier-D’Agoty was an artist and engraver, not an anatomist, and his works, while scientifically unimportant, are noted for their bold use of color and sometimes weird and fantastic images of the human body.


From the D’Agoty anatomy.

Joseph Pancoast’s Treatise on Operative Surgery (Philadelphia, 1844) is a landmark of 19th century American surgical writing.  It’s particularly noted for its excellent chapters on plastic surgery, but also contains significant sections on neurological and ophthalmic operations.  The 486 illustrations on 80 plates are known for their accuracy and detail and made this work an American medical best-seller with about 4,000 copies sold over nine years.


From the Pancoast treatise.

The digitization of these works is a collaborative effort among the Columbia University Libraries’ departments. It is part of an ongoing project to restore and repair larger quarto and folio rare books held by the Health Sciences Library’s Archives & Special Collections.  The volumes are first treated by professional conservators at Columbia University Libraries’ Conservation Laboratory. They are then digitized by the Imaging Laboratory, part of the Libraries’ Preservation & Digital Conversion Division.

Besides being accessible through the Medical Heritage Library, the volumes can be found via CLIO, the Columbia University Libraries Online Public Access Catalog.

The Health Sciences Library’s conservation project is funded by the Jerome P. Webster Endowment, bequeathed to the Library by Dr. Webster, Columbia’s first professor of plastic surgery, prominent historian of medicine, and bibliophile.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!