Category Archives: History of Medicine

Medical Move Mondays: Introduction

Rachel Ingold, Curator of the History of Medicine CollectionsHi! I’m Rachel Ingold, Curator for the History of Medicine Collections. This summer, the History of Medicine Collections will be moving from the Medical Center Library on Duke’s medical campus to the RBMSCL on West Campus. For the next five weeks, join me every Monday here at The Devil’s Tale. I’ll be walking you through the move step-by-step.

This week, a little background: The History of Medicine Collections consists of over 20,000 rare and unique medical books and journals. Along with these print items are 4,500 manuscripts and numerous medically-related instruments, artifacts, prints, photographs, and ephemera. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of anesthesia, human sexuality, materia medica, pediatrics, psychiatry, vivisection, and yellow fever.

Two major gifts helped form the HOM Collections. In 1931, the Georgia Medical Society of Savannah donated its library of 8,000 volumes to Duke University. Another major donation which brought a new level and depth to the collection was the 1956 donation of the Trent Collection by Mrs. Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans.

History of Medicine Collections Brochure CoverSo, how does one go about moving a collection with so many rare print items and manuscripts, as well as a variety of instruments and artifacts including curiosities such as amputating saws, ivory anatomical manikins, and glass eyeballs? The answer: very carefully. And with a team of wonderful people.

I’m grateful to be working with a great group of folks from the Medical Center Library & Archives and Perkins Library. So many people have been involved in making this move happen. And I hope this series of blog posts will highlight some of the work they have done to help and how we are going about this move.

For photos of the move from start to finish, visit the “HOM Collections Move” set on the Duke University Libraries’ Flickr photostream.

Next week: Technical Services gets to work!

Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator for the History of Medicine Collections.

“Animated Anatomies: The Human Body in Anatomical Texts”

Date: 6 April-18 July 2011
Location and Time: Perkins Library Gallery during library hours
Contact Information: Meg Brown, 919-681-2071 or meg.brown(at)

Physicians' Anatomical Aid, ca. 1880-1890
Physicians' Anatomical Aid, ca. 1880-1890

Animated Anatomies explores the visually stunning and technically complex genre of printed texts and illustrations known as anatomical flap books.

This exhibit traces the flap book genre beginning with early examples from the sixteenth century, to the colorful “golden age” of complex flaps of the nineteenth century, and finally to the common children’s pop-up anatomy books of today. The display—which includes materials from the RBMSCL, the Duke Medical Center Library & Archives’ History of Medicine Collections, and from the private collections of the curators of the exhibit—highlights the history of science, medical instruction, and the intricate art of bookmaking.

The exhibit is curated by Professor Valeria Finucci, Department of Romance Studies, and Maurizio Rippa-Bonati, Department of History of Medicine at the University of Padua, with the assistance of Meg Brown, Duke University Libraries exhibits coordinator, and Rachel Ingold, Curator of the History of Medicine Collections. Items will be exhibited in both the gallery of Perkins Library on Duke’s main campus as well as outside the History of Medicine Reading Room at Duke’s Medical Center Library.

In addition to the exhibit, an opening reception will be held Monday, 18 April, at 10 AM at the History of Medicine Collections, followed by a symposium of renowned scholars in history, medicine, and medical history in Perkins Library. The exhibit and the symposium, both free and open to the public, aim to address a diverse public including those interested in the medical field, history, cultural studies, visual studies, and material studies.

To learn more about the symposium, exhibit, see photos of anatomical flap books, and watch videos of them in action, visit the exhibit website.

Post contributed by Rachel Ingold, Curator of the History of Medicine Collections.