Turning the Pages


The National Library of Medicine is like a huge public library of medical information. It’s a treasure trove of rare books as well as current research. Anyone can go there in person, or visit it online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov.

Be sure to peruse “Turning the Pages,” high-quality digitized images that simulate the action of turning the pages of medical books from the 16th century.

The three works are:

  • Konrad Gesner’s (1516-1565) Historiae Animalium (Studies on Animals) is a delightful compendium of colorful zoological hand-colored woodcuts. Although it includes descriptions of such creatures as satyrs and unicorns, this masterpiece was the first attempt to describe many of the world’s animals accurately.
  • Ambroise Pare’ (1510-1590), the author of the second book, Oeuvres (Collected Works), was a French surgeon from humble beginnings who revolutionized how surgeons treat wounds. His book features surgical instruments and prosthetic devices from the 16th century.
  • Andreas Vesalius’s (1514-1564), De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) features beautifully detailed engravings by artists from the workshop of Titian. Vesalius created the modern science of anatomy and produced one of the most influential works in the history of medicine.

 Turn the pages at http://archive.nlm.nih.gov/proj/ttp/intro.htm.

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