Exhibit on Intersections of Medical Science and Art Opens in May 2022

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This is a guest post by exhibit curator Sabrina Oliveros 

Original engravings from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Facsimiles of masterworks by Andreas Vesalius and Leonardo da Vinci. Images produced through technologies developed at UCSF – including a three-dimensional rendering of a patient’s lungs with COVID-19.

See all these groundbreaking images from the history of medicine, and many more works of science and art, at an exhibit opening in May 2022 at the UCSF Library.

Entitled Seeing the Self Anew: How Art and Science Intersect, this exhibit uses anatomical atlases, medical artifacts, and other materials from UCSF Archives & Special Collections to explore some ways that artists and scientists have informed each other’s work when examining a common subject: the human body.

Frontispiece of De humanis corporis fabrica, libri septem (1543) by Andreas Vesalius.

Collaborations and inspirations

On one level, the relationship between artists and scientists is collaborative. As scientists uncover new knowledge about the body, artists put this information into visual form, recording and disseminating it.

Exhibits in the library’s main lobby feature such collaborations, which, at the times of their publications, counted as the most accurate and attractive anatomical atlases the world had seen. These include books like De humanis corporis fabrica (1543 facsimile) by Andreas Vesalius, which set new directions for the art and science of anatomy; Osteographia (1733) by William Cheselden, which showed the bones in life-like size and detail; and the pioneering manuals on obstetrics by William Hunter (1774) and William Smellie (1793 edition).  

Other displays also show what is created when artists engage with the science of depicting the human body – best exemplified in the works of Albrecht Dürer and Leonard da Vinci.

“The Flayed Angel” from Myologie complètte en couleur et grandeur naturelle (1746) by Jacques Fabian Gautier d’Agoty.

More featured illustrations – like “The Flayed Angel” (1746) by Jacques Fabian Gautier d’Agoty, and fantastical skeletons by Jacques Gamelin (1779) – arguably have less instructional value for medical students. Still, they suggest how anatomical studies inspired artists to produce compelling images all their own.

The rare books and artifacts on this floor are supplemented by images from the National Library of Medicine.

Inventions and new dimensions

Art and science also intersect in engineering, where drawings guide the design of instruments. From microscopes and stereoscopes to x-rays and MRI technology, these instruments facilitate further studies, procedures, and treatments that produce even newer images of the body.

Exhibits on the library’s fifth floor offer a glimpse into such designs. These include conceptual sketches and models envisioned by early 20th-century UCSF professionals like Verne T. Inman, Howard C. Naffziger, and Saxton T. Pope.  

The fifth-floor displays are highlighted by selections from Images, the official publication of the UCSF Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, dating from 2012 to 2021. With detail and depth that perhaps even the most accomplished early modern artist-anatomists could not have imagined, these illustrations show how far scientists have come – and how much farther they can go – in enabling us to see, and understand, our bodies and our selves anew.

The latest issue of Images magazine renders, in 3D, the lungs of a patient with COVID-19 pneumonia.

Seeing the Self Anew will be on display on two floors (third and fifth) of the UCSF Library at Parnassus through Spring 2023. UCSF Library is currently open to UCSF faculty, staff, and students via ID badge access Monday–Friday from 7:30am–6pm. Changes to in-person library access will be shared through library website as UCSF policies and guidelines are updated in the coming months.

The Women Behind the Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

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By Erin Hurley, User Services & Accessioning Archivist

One of UCSF Archives & Special Collections’ most famous and beloved collections is the Japanese Woodblock Print collection – a collection of over 400 colorful and informative woodblock prints on health-related themes, such as women’s health and contagious diseases like cholera, measles, and smallpox. According to the Library website dedicated to the prints, they “offer a visual account of Japanese medical knowledge in the late Edo and Meiji periods. The majority of the prints date to the mid-late nineteenth century, when Japan was opening to the West after almost two hundred and fifty years of self-imposed isolation.”[1] The collection has been used, most recently, in a documentary about woodblock prints to be aired on NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting network, and has been a subject of enduring interest to researchers. I’ve heard colleagues wonder aloud about how UCSF came to own this unique collection, so I did some research. Naturally, an enterprising curator and librarian – Atsumi Minami, MLS – is to thank for the collection’s arrival at UCSF.

Walters, Tom F., “Atsumi Minami with items from UCSF Library East Asian Collection,” 1968. UCSF History Collection.

While I was not able to find the exact dates of her employment at UCSF Library, I do know that Minami began working at UCSF Library in 1959, and soon took charge of a small collection of 70 titles of materials related to East Asian medicine started in 1963 by John B. de C.M. Saunders (a shortening of his full name, John Bertrand de Cusance Morant Saunders), then Provost and University Librarian.[1] Minami could read Japanese script, so she became responsible for the collection and was soon given free rein to begin collecting additional materials. In order to do this, Minami “traveled to Japan and China and purchased items from various smaller, private collections, acquiring the woodblock prints as well as hundreds of rare Chinese and Japanese medical texts, manuscripts, and painted scrolls.”[2] Her collecting efforts spanned over 30 years, and produced a collection with over 10,000 titles. It would appear that Minami was still working at UCSF when this informative article was written for a 1986 issue of UCSF Magazine.[3] At the time that article was published, the East Asian medicine collection was also the only active collection of its kind in the U.S., making it even more notable.  

Another woman who was influential in shaping the East Asian collection was Ilza Veith, a German medical historian and former UCSF professor in both the Department of the History and Philosophy of Health Sciences and the Department of Psychiatry. Veith, who in 1947 was awarded the first ever U.S. Ph.D.in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University, was also awarded later, in 1975, the most advanced medical degree conferred in Japan, the Igaku hakase, from Juntendo University Medical School in Tokyo.  Veith was extremely knowledgeable about both Chinese and Japanese medicine, and, in her time at Hopkins, translated Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen, or The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine – the oldest known document in Chinese medicine. Though the text has somewhat mythical origins that make its author and date a little difficult to determine, it probably dates from around 300 BC. Veith also helped shaped UCSF’s East Asian medicine collection by donating a number of her Japanese medical books. 

“Ilza Veith,” 1968. UCSF History Collection.

I would encourage anyone interested in the collection to browse the prints on our website, and to read more about their history via a finding aid on the Online Archive of California. Archives & Special Collections also houses the Ilza Veith papers. While we don’t yet have an Atsumi Minami collection, we welcome donations and would appreciate any information that the present-day UCSF community has about this amazing woman.


[1] “Glory of the Special Collections,” UCSF Magazine, V. 9, Issue #342, 1986: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31378005349033&view=1up&seq=341&q1=”Atsumi Minami”

[2] “About the Collection,” UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection, 2007, https://japanesewoodblockprints.library.ucsf.edu/about.html. Accessed April 6, 2021.

[3] “Glory of the Special Collections,” UCSF Magazine, V. 9, Issue #342, 1986: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.31378005349033&view=1up&seq=341&q1=”Atsumi Minami”


[1] “About the Collection,” UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection, 2007, https://japanesewoodblockprints.library.ucsf.edu/about.html. Accessed April 6, 2021.

#ColorOurCollections Coloring Book

We are once again participating in #ColorOurCollections. We’ve created a coloring book featuring images from our rare books and journals. Please download the book, color, then tweet your creations @ucsf_archives using #ColorOurCollections.

Download the complete UCSF Archives 2018 Coloring Book here.

View more books from other participating institutions here.

Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker: The 19th-Century “Life-Awakener”

Another installment in our blog series that explores artifacts related to health practices now considered inaccurate or fraudulent. Check out Carl Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker.

Baunscheidt's Lebenswecker, circa 1850. Item 436, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

Baunscheidt’s Lebenswecker, circa 1850. Instrument pictured with cap on and off. Item 436, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

The Lebenswecker, translated as the “Life-Awakener” or the “Resuscitator,” was developed by German inventor Carl Baunscheidt in the mid-19th century. The small instrument included over 30 thin, spring-loaded needles concentrated at the end of an ebony staff.

Detail of Lebenswecker.

Detail of Lebenswecker. Item 436, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

Carl Baunscheidt. From According to Baunscheidt, the Lebenswecker was designed to quickly puncture the skin, creating “artificial pores.” The “pores,” i.e. puncture wounds, were then covered with a proprietary irritating oil called “Oleum Baunscheidtii” that produced blisters. As another option, the practitioner could dip the needles in the oil before application, thus creating a more concentrated injection. As the blisters formed and drained, Baunscheidt claimed, the “health-destroying morbid matter” in the body naturally escaped.

Illustration of Adonis and Aphrodite with "most generally appropriate" areas of the body on which to use the Lebenswecker.

Illustration of Adonis and Aphrodite with “most generally appropriate” areas of the body on which to use the Lebenswecker. From Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, 1865.

 

 

Baunscheidt developed a health philosophy around the Lebenswecker known as Baunscheidtism. His inspiration, as detailed in his book Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, came from his experience watching mosquitoes bite his rheumatic hand. As he writes, “it seemed as if the pains he had suffered, had fled with the flies…the inflicted sting caused an opening in the epidermis just large enough for the fine, volatile, but pathogenic substances lodged in the skin to exude.”

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Detail of illustration from Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure, 1865.

Baunscheidt claimed that the Lebenswecker could cure everything from sleeplessness to measles to epilepsy. Baunscheidtism practitioners, like John Linden, made similarly broad claims. As Linden noted in his work, Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, the Lebenswecker could eliminate a tapeworm because, after repeated applications, “the unwelcome guest will soon become disgusted with his quarters, and be compelled to vacate.”

Order sheet fixed inside John Linden's Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, 1882.

Order sheet fixed inside John Linden’s Manual of the Exanthematic Method of Cure, 1882.

Baunscheidt’s philosophy, backed by personal testimonies included in his publications, achieved a measure of popularity in the 19th and early 20th century, especially in Germany and the United States. Today, his treatment is widely discredited.

Two differnt designs of Lebenswecker avaiable for research in the UCSF Archvies and Special Collection. Items 436, 242, Artifact Collection.

Two different designs of Lebenswecker. Items 436 and 242, UCSF Archives Artifact Collection.

We house two different “Life-Awakeners” in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections and a similar instrument developed by Baunscheidt called an artificial leech. Please contact us if you would like to come in and see the artifacts! We also have editions of John Linden and Carl Baunscheidt’s writings or you can read Baunscheidtism, or a New Method of Cure online in our digital collection.

Songs of a Nurse…

We would like to commemorate this International Nurses Day by sharing with you a poem that was written by a San Francisco nurse, Margaret Helen Florine a century ago:

MHFlorine_nurse_poem

This poem comes from a book, Songs of a Nurse that was published in 1917.

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Ms. Florine’s poetry was later advertised in the Pacific Coast Journal of Nursing (volume 15, 1919, p.770).

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UCSF Archives Coloring Book

We created a coloring book featuring illustrations from fifteenth to nineteenth-century rare books housed in the UCSF Archives and Special Collections. Coloring reduces stress, inspires creativity, and it’s just plain fun. You can scroll through a few of the images below and download the entire book for free here. Happy coloring!

We would love to see your finished creations. Tweet your pictures @ucsf_archives and use #ColorOurCollections.

Ketham, Joannes de. The Fasciculo di medicina, Venice. 1493. Find it at the UCSF Library: ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1121554~S0

Ketham, Joannes de. The Fasciculo di medicina, Venice, 1493. ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1121554~S0

Konrad, von Megenberg. Buch der Natur. 1482. Find it at the UCSF Library: ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1074494~S0

Konrad, von Megenberg. Buch der Natur, 1482. ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1074494~S0

Ryff, Walther Hermenuis. Omnium humani corporis partium… 1541. Find it at the UCSF Library: ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1063757~S0

Ryff, Walther Hermenuis. Omnium humani corporis partium…, 1541.
ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b1063757~S0

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Bartisch, Georg. Ophthalmodouleia. 1583. ucsfcat.library.ucsf.edu/record=b2286634~S0

Download the complete UCSF Archives and Special Collections Coloring Book

Celebrating Valentine’s Day

A heart is a universal symbol of the Valentine’s Day. We would like to share with you a selection of heart illustrations from the UCSF Rare Book Collection.

lowerDiagrams of the heart. Lower, Richard. Richardi Lower … Tractatus de corde : item de motu, colore, & transfusione sanguinis, et de chyli in eum transitu, ut et de venae sectione : his accedit Dissertatio de origine catarrhi .., 1728.

verheyen

Illustrations of the heart and lungs. Verheyen, Philip. Corporis humani anatomiae, 1710.

cabrol

Diagram of the heart. Cabrol, Barthelemy. Ontleedingh des menschelycken lichaems, 1633.

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Illustrations of the heart and lungs. Vesling, Johann. Syntagma anatomicum, 1666.

Unadulterated Holiday Spirits

Post by David Uhlich

‘Tis the season for reminders about the proper handling of Thanksgiving leftovers, cautions regarding the dangers of overindulgence, and USDA recommendations that you cook your turkey breast until it is roughly the texture of sawdust. A recent foray into the rare book vault indicates that almost 200 years ago a German chemist named Fredrick Accum was doling out similar fare.

From A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons..., Fredrick Accum, 1822.

From A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons…, Fredrick Accum, 1822.

In his book, titled simply Culinary Poisons (or more lengthily A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, Exhibiting the Fraudulent Sophistications of Bread, Beer, Wine, Spiritous Liquors, Tea, Coffee, Cream, Confectionary, Vinegar, Mustard, Pepper, Cheese, Olive Oil, Pickles, and Other Articles Employed in Domestic Economy, and Methods of Detecting Them), Accum warns about the dangers of food additives and contamination, both for fraudulent purposes and as a byproduct of newly industrialized food production. For example, in his chapter “Disgusting Practice of Rendering Butchers’ Meat, Fish, and Poultry Unwholesome,” Accum rails against butchers who tamper with meat to make it appear fresher and those who mistreat animals that are meant for the table. While definitely a man of many words, Accum echoes current desires for natural, organic, cruelty-free foods. He would almost certainly approve of spending the extra money for that free-range heritage turkey.

From A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons..., Fredrick Accum, 1822.

From A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons…, Fredrick Accum, 1822.

Accum’s motto for the book is “there is death in the pot” (from 2 Kings 4:40), but he seems just as concerned with those that might tamper with the bottle. In the 344 page text, there are 30 pages dedicated to wine, 25 pages to spirits, and over 60 pages regarding the adulteration of beer. In fact, one of the numerous other books he wrote was A Treatise on the Art of Making Wine from Native Fruits; Elucidating the Chemical Principles upon Which the Art of Winemaking depends, the Fruits Best Adapted for Home-Made Wine, and the Methods of Preparing Them.  Sounds like the kind of person we’d all like to have at our holiday parties this year!

Celebrating Food Day: Recipes from the Archives

We’re joining UCSF’s Food Day celebration, October 22-24, by sharing some recipes from our collections! Definitions of healthy eating and proper nutrition have changed dramatically over the years. These examples provide just a taste of the history of food science and our changing understandings of diet and wellness. Recipe contributions from Kelsi Evans, David Uhlich, and David Krah.

This page of recipes, including sweet potato pie and peach shortcake, comes from a diet supplement created in 1961 by Dr. Mary Olney and Larry Carbine at the Bearskin Meadow Camp for children with diabetes.

Bear Facts Supplement (Known as Fare for Cub and Bear), August 1961. Mary Olney papers, MSS 98-64, carton addition 3, folder 4.

Bear Facts Supplement (Known as Fare for Cub and BEAR), August 1961. Mary Olney papers, MSS 98-64, carton addition 3, folder 4.

In 1938, Olney founded the first wilderness camp in California for children with diabetes. The camp developed into Bearskin Meadow, a permanent campsite located near Kings Canyon National Park. Dr. Olney graduated from the UCSF School of Medicine in 1932. She completed her training in pediatrics at San Francisco General Hospital and was later appointed Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF. At the time of her death in 1993, Olney had served the UCSF community for over 50 years.

Dr. Mary Olney teaching a nutrition class for campers, circa 1965. Mary Olney papers, MSS 98-64, box 1, folder 6.

Dr. Mary Olney teaching a nutrition class for campers, circa 1965. Mary Olney papers, MSS 98-64, box 1, folder 6.

This page of recipes from Diet for the Sick: A Treatise on the Values of Foods, Their Application to Special Conditions of Health and Disease, and on the Best Methods of Their Preparation by Mary Newton (Foote) Henderson illustrates the vast differences in thought between what foods were considered healthy and nutritious–and even curative–in the 19th century in relation to how they are thought of today. Now frequently vilified and excluded from diets, gluten is the central ingredient in an entire section of recipes in the book, which was published in 1885. Gluten souffles anyone?

DietfortheSick_Gluten

Diet for the Sick, page 130-131.

Just in case you were hoping to get a good recipe for chicken fricassee or clabbered milk, the entire book is available digitally through UCSF’s online catalog.

DietfortheSick_Cover

Diet for the Sick: A Treatise on the Values of Foods, Their Application to Special Conditions of Health and Disease, and on the Best Methods of Their Preparation by Mary Newton (Foote) Henderson, 1885.

The author of The Book of Star Ralstonism, Webster Edgerly, led a late 19th Century health and social well-being movement known as Ralstonism (Regime, Activity, Light, Strength, Temperation, Oxygen and Nature). Amongst many proscriptions contained in the book is the warning to “…not buy any food or any goods bearing the name ‘Ralston,’ contrary to our latest bulletins. We endorse everything that is pure, wholesome, honest and meritorious; but do not wish the word Ralston to be used in any connection apart from our Club, its literature and its educational interest.”

Edgerly began doing business with the Purina Food Company in 1900, and I’m sure many are familiar with Ralston-Purina products such as Chex breakfast cereal and a variety of pet foods. In the Book of Star Ralstonism, Edgerly includes this charming recommendation for sustenance for sedentary persons, which consists of two cups of roasted wheat coffee. If you “wish good blood”, go with a slice of toasted brown bread and butter along with your “coffee”. This recipe is similar to the Boston Brown Bread you can still buy in the can today.

Star_Ralstonism

Book of Star Ralstonism, page 168

The full text of the Book of Star Ralstonism is available online at Hathi Trust or through UCSF’s catalog.

Happy Food Day!

Chemistry labs of Barlet

Among the many jewels of our rare book collection is Annibal Barlet’s work of 1657 Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie

The volume has been rebound in vellum. It is 626 pages with a woodcut frontispiece and contains 37 full-page woodcuts illustrating the diverse operations of alchemical processes in detail.

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Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

Woodcuts depict various chemical apparatus and operations of a laboratory in the mid 17th century. Barlet gives accounts of instruments, vessels, processes, minerals, and recipes.

Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

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Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

Our copy has been digitized and is available in full via the HathiTrust Digital Library.

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Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

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Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657

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Barlet, Annibal, Le vray et methodique cours de la physique resolutive, vulgairements dite chymie, 1657