Man: His Structure & Physiology

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“Man: His Structure & Physiology: Popularly Explained and Demonstrated” by Robert Knox, 2nd edition, London: H. Bailliere, 1858.

This month we’ve chosen to highlight an anatomical atlas by Scottish anatomist, zoologist, and physician, Dr. Robert Knox (1791-1862). His popular book entitled Man: His Structure & Physiology: Popularly Explained and Demonstrated was originally published in 1857, with a second edition (shown here) printed a year later in 1858.

Knox was an esteemed professor at The University of Edinburgh — famous for his dissections and lectures which were often ticketed and open to the public. Prior to the 1832 Anatomy Act, it was discovered that Knox relied on illegal methods to acquire his cadavers. Knox was connected to the Burke and Hare West Port murders of 1828, and despite never being tried, his reputation was forever marred in controversy.

The atlas is described in simple language and includes some detailed plate illustrations — several of which can lift (“pop-up”) off the page. The idea behind this design was to imitate a dissection as much as possible, allowing students and readers to discover multiple layers of physiological detail. As the preface of the second edition describes, it is an “elementary and educational Work, containing such an outline of Human Structure and Human Physiology as may prove a safe basis whereon to build the edifice of special or philosophic inquiry and research” (London, October, 1857).

The book is available to view at the Osler Library during regular hours. For those who are not able to visit the library in person, a digitized version of a more recent pressing can be accessed at archive.org.

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Plate #3 from Robert Knox’s “Man: His Structure & Physiology: Popularly Explained and Demonstrated”, 2nd edition, 1858.

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Plate #6 from Robert Knox’s “Man: His Structure & Physiology: Popularly Explained and Demonstrated”, 2nd edition, 1858.

 

 

 

 

 

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Plate #8 with explanations on opposite page in Robert Knox’s “Man: His Structure & Physiology: Popularly Explained and Demonstrated”, 2nd edition, 1858.

Old School

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A handful of New Canadian Health Series, published 1950s.

Harking back to simpler times, these colourful vintage volumes are from The New Canadian Health Series – a series of educational health books published in Canada during the 1950s.

A handful of these health guides, including the American ABC Health Series (pictured below) can be found in the Osler Library’s collection, available to view upon request. Acquired by the library in 2013 upon the closure of McGill’s Education Library, these volumes act as little time capsules of everyday health information and provide a fascinating retro-read of popular medicine through the eyes of mid-20th century North American culture.

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Brownnell-Evans ABC Health Series, “Broad Streets”, 1950s

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Brownnell-Evans-Hobson ABC Health Series, “Building Better Health”, 1950s.

For the Love of Cocoa

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The name Cadbury has been synonymous with chocolatey sweets in Britain and abroad since Quaker chocolatier John Cadbury (1802-1889) opened his first factory in 1831. Cocoa: All About It was written by his son, Richard Barrow Cadbury (1835-1899), and originally published under the pseudonym ‘Historicus’ in 1892. The book chronicles the natural history of the tropical American cocoa plant – its spread and cultivation around the world, the history of its use, and a detailed account of nineteenth century manufacturing processes as exemplified by the Cadbury family’s factory in Bournville, near Birmingham, England.

Truly a must-read for all chocolate lovers, this classic book provides a detailed and intriguing account of the world’s most popular indulgence. It is available to view at the Osler Library during regular opening hours, and if you’re unable to visit the library in person, a fully digitized version can be found by visiting www.archive.org.

Read, indulge, and enjoy!

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First edition copy of Cocoa: All About It, published 1892, with a gatefold reproduction of an illustration from the Latin Book on Chocolate (1639) depicting Neptune receiving a ‘Casket of Chocolate’.

New / Old

1907 was a fiery year in McGill’s history. On April 5th, the Macdonald Engineering building was completely gutted by fire, and less than a fortnight later on April 16th, the first Medical Faculty building (erected 1872) went up in flames, destroying the Medical Library (founded 1823) and the first Medical Museum curated by Maude Abbott.

The Strathcona Building – now known as Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry – was built in its place, opening its doors in 1909. It became known as the New Medical Building and housed the Medical Museum, Osler Library (which opened in 1929), and the resurrected Maude Abbot Medical Museum.

The following photographs show different floors of the Strathcona Medical Library in beautiful black-and-white detail: the well-lit third floor Reading Room, the librarian’s Cataloguing Room, the book stacks, the Bindery, and the empty shelves of the original Osler Library awaiting the overseas arrival of Sir William’s collection.

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Reading Room, Medical Library, New Medical Building (Strathcona), 1927.

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Cataloguing Room, Medical Library, New Medical Building (Strathcona), 1927.

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Stacks, Medical Library, New Medical Building (Strathcona), 1927.

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Bindery Room, Medical Library, 1927.

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The original Osler Library, Medical Library (Strathcona New Medical Building), 1927.

The National Film Board of Canada : Bethune (1968)

pic_2016-06-28_153244In 1968, The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) made an inspiring film about Canadian physician, inventor, thoracic surgeon, war hero, humanitarian, and all-round inspiring figure, Dr. Norman Bethune (1890-1939).

We recently came across this original copy of the NFB’s promotional pamphlet in the archives. The Osler Library houses a Norman Bethune Collection (P156), as well as the Bethune Foundation Fonds (P132).

pic_2016-06-28_153301The feature documentary (link below) can be found on NFB’s website. The grainy 16mm black and white lends itself perfectly to this understated, yet powerful biopic. Bethune was a free-thinker – deeply dedicated and passionate in his work. His legacy is still celebrated today in Canada, China, Spain, and beyond, with dedicated monuments and memorials like the statue that stands in Montreal’s Norman Bethune Square.

https://www.nfb.ca/film/bethune/embed/player/

Hashtag Summer

Summer is in full swing, which means spending less time in front of our computers (perhaps) and more time out and about. With that in mind, we have a new social media account for sharing images, and a friendly reminder that the current exhibition at the Osler Library, Knowing Blood / Sans sens, is entering its last six weeks!

Instagram_Icon_LargeOur brand new Instagram account can be found at @oslerlibrary. If you have an Instagram account, you can follow us here! Keep an eye out for images showcasing our rare and special collections, as well as other library updates and goings-on.

Use the #oslerlibrary hashtag to share your own photos too!

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If you haven’t been able to see this fantastic exhibit yet, now is your chance. Click on the image for more details. The exhibit runs until the end of August. Free entry during library hours.

167th

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Glass slide from the Osler Library archives shows Osler as a young medical student at McGill University, 1871.

Today marks the 167th birthday of Sir William Osler. In celebration this year, we thought we would highlight several invaluable resources and digital collections that McGill University Library – with the help of generous donors – has made accessible for researchers around the world.

McGill Library William Osler Letter Index — This on-going project at Osler Library provides a wealth of information for researchers to access an index of thousands of letters to and from Sir William Osler. It also provides biographical materials gathered by Dr. Harvey Cushing for his 1925 Pulitzer Prize winning biography The Life of William Osler.

William Osler Photo Collection — Browse the photographic collection, read the accompanying biographical notes, and get a sense of the visual history of William Osler and those who were close to him throughout his life.

Osler Library Archives — Retrieval number P100 will direct you to the William Osler fonds. If you prefer to browse, the subject “Osler, Sir William, Sir, 1849-1919” will provide the many fonds collections containing archival material associated with Osler – fonds that include some of William Osler’s friends, relatives and colleagues throughout his life in Canada, USA, and United Kingdom.

Enjoy your Osler celebrations today from all of us here at the Osler Library of the History of Medicine!

Historia Plantarum

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Maple Leaf illustration from Conradi Gessneri Historia Plantarum by Conrad Gessner (1516-1565)

Needing a little garden inspiration this summer? The Osler Library has a selection of eight beautifully illustrated volumes of Conradi Gessneri Historia Plantarum by Conrad Gessner (1516-1565). Each botanical specimen found on the pages of Gessner’s Historia Plantarum are facsimiles of the 16th century originals, printed on 100 gram heavy paper and individually set and glued in their original form.

Gessner was a Swiss botanist, physician, and classical linguist. In 1972, Urs Graf Verlag (a Zurich-based publishing firm) and a team of conservator-restorers at University Library of Erlangen-Nüremburg embarked on the careful process of creating these facsimiles from Gessner’s originals. We are pleased to have these eight beautiful volumes in our rare folio collection, and as with all of our rare materials, these items are available to view upon request during library hours.

 

 

Montréal Baroque Festival at Osler Library

Last Saturday we were pleased to host a sold out festival event in the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera. Vincent Lauzer (pictured below) performed solo works for recorder as part of the 14th annual Montréal Baroque Festival. Each piece was composed by young Quebec composers, inspired and influenced by the Baroque style. We look forward to hosting more music events like this in the future! Details about a winter concert series will be announced later this year.

Vincent Lauzer performs at the Osler Library, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

Vincent Lauzer performing at the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

For more information about the Montréal Baroque Festival, please visit https://www.montrealbaroque.com.