Holding a 346 Year-Old Heart

By: 

It's not every day that you get a first hand tour of nearly 500 years of medical history, let alone a tour that's hands on. But that's exactly what I experienced yesterday, courtesy of Ronald Sims, special collections librarian at Northwestern's Galter Library.

Galter's special collections area is a museum onto itself. Not only does it feature thousands of rare books, Ron also manages hundreds of medical and dental instruments, microscopes, historical images, and other artifacts. Of note, he has a pedal-powered dental drill from the late 1800's, complete with the original bench from which the dentist worked.

Of the many rare books he allowed me to leaf through, one of my favorites was a work by noted philosopher, mathematician, and anatomist René Descartes, titled De homine (Treatise of Man). It was an original copy published in 1664, featuring an amazingly detailed pop-up diagram of the heart and lungs.  The detail in the drawing was simply exquisite. It's hard to describe the thrill of holding a piece of history this cool. For fans of medical and dental history, the Galter special collections room is a rare treat. Ron Sims welcomes visitors, with at least 24 hours notice.  Click here to get in contact with him.

Tags: 

Comments

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p> <div> <br> <sup> <sub>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Refresh Type the characters you see in this picture. Type the characters you see in the picture; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.  Switch to audio verification.