William Osler, W. J. Calvert, and MU’s Vesalius

This post is by Amanda Sprochi, Health Sciences Cataloger at the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library.

Often called "the Father of Modern Medicine," William Osler was a Canadian physician, pathologist, and internist who established the programs of clinical clerkship and medical residency still in use in medical schools today. One of the four founders of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, he continued his career as the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and later was conferred a baronetcy and knighted.

Osler was from an early age a lover of books, and as his career advanced (and his salary along with it) he became a collector of rare medical volumes, such as the De Humani Corporis Fabrica he donated to the University of Missouri Medical School. He was known to buy works for libraries whose collections were lacking particular volumes, or to encourage other philanthropists to donate them. His own library eventually numbered 8,000 volumes, which he detailed in an extensive bibliography called the Bibliotheca Osleriana. Osler's collection was donated to McGill University upon his death where it forms the core of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine.

Sir William Osler donated a copy of Vesalius' seminal work, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, to the University of Missouri Medical School Library in 1909. In his entry on Vesalius in the Bibliotheca Osleriana, he mentions donating a copy to the University of Missouri "to my old student and friend Calvert, at that time Professor of Anatomy." He indicates in the Bibliotheca that at the time, copies of the Fabrica were "numerous and very often appear in sale catalogues at prices ranging from 10 to 20 varying with the condition." It is safe to say that the days of buying a first edition of Vesalius' work for $30-$40 are long over.

There is a bit of mystery involved with the MU Fabrica. In his original letter to the Medical Faculty, Osler mentions that he is sending a first edition, published 1543. In fact, the volume he sent was a second edition, published in 1555, as evidenced by the frontispiece and the number of lines per page. The 1543 edition has 57 lines per page; the 1555 has 49. There are also differences in the frontispiece between the first and second editions, the most notable being the staff held by the skeleton in the center of the image, which changes from a pole to a scythe, as well as content differences between the two editions. The MU Fabrica was rebound sometime in the 18th or 19th century, however, and the spine was stamped 1543 in Roman numerals. Whether this was a mistake or was done to fool unwary buyers is unknown.

Osler purchased a number of Fabricas in his lifetime, and was a well-known and expert collector of rare medical texts. It is unlikely that he would not have known the difference between the 1543 and 1555 editions of the book. It is equally unlikely that he would have deliberately sent one volume masquerading as the other. Perhaps he simply grabbed and sent the wrong one. At any rate, the gift was a priceless one in honor of a much-favored student and friend, and is a wonderful addition to the MU Library collection.

The volume in its current conservation binding by Jim Downey at Legacy Bookbindery.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Vesalius at 500 exhibit opens today at Ellis Library

Vesalius at 500 exhibit opens today at Ellis Library

December 31, 2014, will mark the five hundredth birthday of Andreas Vesalius, one of the most important anatomists in the history of medicine. The MU Libraries will commemorate this historic occasion with an exhibition entitled Vesalius at 500: Student, Scholar, and Surgeon, on view November 5-30 in the Ellis Library Colonnade.

Andreas Vesalius is frequently called the father of modern human anatomy. Born in 1514 in modern-day Belgium, he studied at the Universities of Louvain, Paris, and Padua before becoming a professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Padua. His primary contribution to the history of medicine was his emphasis on dissection and firsthand observation. Vesalius differed from his colleagues because he used his observations to challenge ancient and often inaccurate Greek and Roman medical writings, which formed the basis of all medical knowledge for over a thousand years.

esalius at 500 showcases materials from the Libraries’ collections that helped to shape Vesalius’ career, including medieval manuscripts and early printed books on medicine. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Vesalius’ most famous work, De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The Libraries hold two copies of this important book, a second edition printed in 1555, and a later edition from 1568. Recognizing MU’s strength in human and animal medical research, the exhibition considers Vesalius’ effect on the history of veterinary medicine with several early illustrated works on animal anatomy. Works of Renaissance science are also included in order to situate Vesalius within the world of sixteenth-century scientific thought.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Dr. Gheorghe M. Constantinescu, a professor of veterinary anatomy in the College of Veterinary Medicine at MU, will present “Andreas Vesalius: On the 500th Anniversary of His Birth” on November 12 at 12:00 pm. Dr. Constantinescu is a medical illustrator and author investigating the gross anatomy of domestic and laboratory animals. His presentation will be held in room 4f51a in Ellis Library.

Vesalius at 500: Student, Scholar, and Surgeon is curated by a team of rare book librarians from the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library, the Zalk Veterinary Medical Library, and Ellis Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books department. The exhibition draws on MU Libraries’ special collections of more than 100,000 original artworks, manuscripts, rare books, and historic documents. The collections, exhibition, and lecture are all free and open to the public.

The gallery below contains a selection of images from De Humani Corporis Fabrica, and we will share more materials from the exhibition over the course of November.

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home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Books With Personality-On display in the Ellis Library Colonnade, August 1-29, 2014

Books With Personality-On display in the Ellis Library Colonnade, August 1-29, 2014

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Presented by the Special Collections Department of Ellis Library

August 1-29, 2014

Ellis Library Colonnade

University of Missouri

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years.  To read is to voyage though time”

-Carl Sagan

The books on display, from the Special Collections Department of Ellis Library, all carry traces of their former owners. Some contain notes in the margins; others hold mementos between their pages. In either case, these traces tell stories not only about the books’ reception but about the lives of those who read them.

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Mizzou Superhero Challenge

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Events and Exhibits, Zalk Veterinary Medical Library Superhero Science with The Antidote!

Superhero Science with The Antidote!

See The Antidote in action! Join MU Libraries for the opening lecture of Superhero Science: Fact vs. Fiction in Superhero Comics, featuring our very own Dr. Tim Evans.

Wednesday, March 12th, 11:00 AM, Ellis Library Colonnade

Heck, design your own Scientific Superhero and win tickets to Bill Nye and a $100 Gift Card! http://library.missouri.edu/announcements/2014/02/20/design-your-own-scientific-superhero-win-100-gift-card/

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Mold FAQ and How You Can Help

FAQ Regarding Mold at Off-site Storage Facility

In October 2013, mold was discovered on books and bound journal volumes in one of MU Libraries' off-site storage facilities (UMLD2). This facility holds approximately 600,000 volumes belonging to the MU campus.

MU Libraries has established a Collection Enhancement Fund to assist our response to the mold damage. Your gift will be used to treat, relocate and in some cases, replace items impacted by mold. Our goal is to ensure the MU Libraries' ability to serve the needs of our users is not compromised by this sad event. A gift of any amount is greatly appreciated!

No one cares more than we do about preserving knowledge and scholarship. As we work through our response plan, know that we are making every effort to save items with special value and to retain ready access to information in the collection. 

If you would like to help us preserve this collection, click here to donate to our Collection Enhancement Fund.

Open Access: What It Is, What It Isn’t

Find out more about Open Access: https://libraryguides.missouri.edu/openaccess

Six OA myths put to rest

home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books New Exhibit! Terrific Tales: From Fairies to Fables

New Exhibit! Terrific Tales: From Fairies to Fables

 

“Terrific Tales: From Fairies to Fables” on exhibit in the Library Colonnade.  The exhibit is brought to you by Special Collections and will be on display July 1st –  August 15th.

home Events and Exhibits, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books New exhibit! Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel

New exhibit! Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel

Yesterday I posed a question on Facebook: What do Albrecht Durer, Thomas Rowlandson, Frans Masereel, and Art Spiegelman have in common?  The answer: they all published works of sequential art, which are now on view in our latest exhibition, Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel.

If, as the popular saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures and words together form an even more powerful tool for communication, expression, and storytelling than either would alone.

The materials in this exhibition are from the Rare Book Collection and the Comic Art Collection. In each, artists and writers have used sequential art to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. Rather than presenting an evolutionary history of visual storytelling, these selections allow us to situate woodcuts, engravings, comic strips, and graphic novels in a long tradition of word- and image-making, in order to consider the roles of image and narrative in our culture.

Beyond Words will be on view in the Ellis Library Colonnade May 3-31, 2013.

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Kelli Hansen

Kelli Hansen is a librarian in the Special Collections and Rare Books department. She teaches information sessions in Special Collections, does reference work, and maintains the department's digital presences. Contact Kelli

home Events and Exhibits, Resources and Services, Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books Papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lanford Wilson in Special Collections

Papers of Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright Lanford Wilson in Special Collections

We're happy to announce that an exhibition of selected materials from the Lanford Wilson Collection, curated by our colleagues at the University Archives, is on view in the Ellis Library Colonnade.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson made a legacy gift of his papers to the University of Missouri in 2011.  Wilson grew up in Springfield and Ozark, Missouri, and spent most of his life in New York.  He began his career at Caffe Cino, a pioneering Off-Off Broadway theater run by Joe Cino that produced plays by many young, aspiring playwrights.

Wilson wrote plays for La MaMa Experimental Theater Club and the Circle Repertory Company, a project organized by Wilson and three of his associates from the Caffe Cino and La MaMa.  Plays that premiered at the Circle Repertory Company included Talley's Folly, Serenading Louie, The Mound Builders, Fifth of July, and The Hot l Baltimore.  Wilson's plays were critically acclaimed and won several awards and nominations.  In 1980, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Talley's Folly. Wilson was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004.

Lanford Wilson displayThe Lanford Wilson Collection includes 53 linear feet of correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, posters, photographs, and over 100 books.  Researchers can access the finding aid online, and the collection is available for use in the Special Collections reading room.

The Lanford Wilson exhibition is presented in conjunction with a conference, "Angels in Performance: Documenting LGBTQ Lives in Theatre & Performance," hosted by the MU Department of Theatre, April 24-28.  The conference will feature guest artist and award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Tony Kushner. The exhibition will be on view through the month of April.