Preservation Week – April 26-May 2, 2020

This year’s Preservation Week is April 26 to May 2. The first national preservation survey, conducted in 2004 by Heritage Preservation, revealed that a large portion of the collections in American libraries, museums, and archives was in need of treatment to prevent and reverse deterioration. In 2010, the American Library Association, in partnership with the Library of Congress, Institute of Library and Museum Services, American Institute for Conservation, Society of American Archivists, and Heritage Preservation, sponsored the first annual Preservation Week to raise awareness of the need and promote preservation not just in institutional collections, but also in the collections of individuals, families, and communities. Institutions are encouraged to celebrate Preservation Week by doing at least one thing to raise awareness of the need for preservation, inspire action to preserve collections, call attention to the role of libraries, archives and museums in the preservation of our cultural heritage, and promote preservation resources.

The theme for the 10th annual Preservation Week is Preserving Oral History. It has a dual meaning, both the action of preserving recollections and experiences that would otherwise be lost, and the physical preservation of the media on which they are recorded. Free Preservation Week activities and events, including webinars, are available at the American Library Association’s Association for Library Collections and Technical Services’ website. Programs from previous years are also available at the site, as well as a variety of resources. One of these, Saving Your Stuff, is a comprehensive list for the general public of the care and handling of most media that could make up a personal, family, or community collection.


[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]


Rare Book Profile: R.V. Pierce’s The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English, or, Medicine Simplified.

PierceTPcropR.V. Pierce’s The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser (Buffalo, N.Y.: World’s Dispensary-Printing Office and Bindery, 1875), is a household medicine and health guide, as well as an advertisement for its author and publisher’s products and services. First published in 1875, it remained in print through the 100th edition of 1935, sold millions of copies, and helped make its author one of the most successful manufacturer of home remedies in the late 19th century.

Ray Vaughn Pierce (1840-1914) was an American physician, pharmaceutical entrepreneur, author, publisher, and politician. Pierce was born and raised in Stark, New York. He was a school teacher briefly, then left to attend the Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio. After receiving his medical degree in 1862, he established a medical practice in Titusville, Pennsylvania. In 1867, he moved to Buffalo, New York, where he began manufacturing patent medicines and selling them by mail-order. To house his thriving manufacturing and mail-order operations, Pierce built the World’s Dispensary Building. In 1878, Pierce built Pierce’s Palace Hotel nearby to accommodate his many mail-order customers who came to Buffalo seeking his services as a physician. Pierce’s Palace Hotel burned down in 1881 and Pierce replaced it with the Invalids Hotel and Surgical Institute. His enterprise continued to expand, and at one point had an office in London, England. In 1883 Pierce consolidated all of his business ventures as TheWorld’s Dispensary Medical Association, which was later renamed Pierce’s Proprietaries. Pierce’s son, Dr. Valentine Mott Pierce, succeeded his father as head of the business through the 1940s.

In 1877, Pierce launched his political career, serving in the New York State Senate from 1877-1879, and in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 32nd Congressional District of New York as a Republican from March 4, 1879 until his resignation on September 18, 1880, due to ill health. He never held an elected office again, although he was an active opponent of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. In the last year of his life, Pierce retired to his winter home in St. Vincent, Florida, where he died on February 4, 1914.

Pierce was a master of marketing, using print media and signs to spread advertisements and testimonials for his products and services throughout the country. Not all publications were complimentary, and some, such as Colliers and Ladies Home Journal were extremely critical of his products. Pierce won his lawsuit against Ladies Home Journal, but his suit against Colliers was dismissed due to varying definitions of the word “quack.”

The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser is arranged in four main parts. The first, Physiology, is laid out like a textbook, containing a general overview of basic biology, human and animal, and the various systems of the body, including current theories of race, intelligence, and the relationship between physiognomy and character, with chapters on marriage and reproduction. The second part, Hygiene, covers various aspects of daily life, with recommendations for clean living and criticism of practices and theories with which Pierce disagreed. It also includes a section on diet, with recipes. The third section, Rational Medicine, consists of brief summaries of the various systems of medicine in vogue at the time, such as homoeopathy and hydropathy, a list of individual herbal and compounded preparations available for sale from The World’s Dispensary, and a list of the therapeutic value of various types of bath. The final and largest section, Diseases and Their Remedial Treatment, comprises over half the book, consisting mainly of list of disorders, with a description of the disorder, various possible treatments, cases, and glowing testimonials for the products and services of The World’s Dispensary. It ends with a section describing The World’s Dispensary and its services, how to arrange a visit, and how to submit a specimen for diagnosis by mail.


The Strauss Health Sciences Library’s copy of the first edition of The people’s common sense medical adviser is bound in green publisher’s cloth with blind-stamped boards and gilt-stamped spine. The plates have unprinted tissue guards sheets. It was given to the Health Sciences Library by G. Murray Edwards, M.D. The library also has the second edition (1876), the twentieth edition (1889), and the fortieth edition (1895).

Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]






This was written by Emily, you can contact AskUs with questions.

Rare Book Profile: Girolamo Mercuriale’s De Arte Gymnastica Libri Sex (2nd edition).

MercurialeGymnasticaTPGirolamo Mercuriale’s De Arte Gymnastica Libri Sex (Venetiis : Apud Juntas 1573), first published in 1569, was one of the earliest works on the therapeutic value of gymnastics and exercise, and a major history of the practices of the Greeks and Romans in exercise, diet, hygiene, and bathing, based on study of classical literature. The second edition of 1573 was the first illustrated book on gymnastics, adding drawings by Pirro Ligorio (1513-1583), Ducal Antiquarian to Duke Alfonso II d’Este of Ferrara and former Architect at the Vatican. The drawings are generally believed to have been rendered in wood blocks by German engraver Cristoforo Coriolano (born 1540)

Girolamo Mercuriale (1530-1606) was an Italian physician and philologist, the son of a physician from the city of Forlì. After studying medicine in Bologna, Padua, and Venice, he went to Rome as part of a diplomatic mission to Pope Pius IV in 1562. He spent several years in Rome in the household of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, a prominent collector of antiquities and patron of the arts. Mercuriale’s connection with the Cardinal provided him with access to extensive libraries and antiquarian scholars in Rome, including antiquarian and architect Pirro Ligorio, who was also in Rome in service at various times to Pope Pius IV, Pope Pius V, and Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.

Mercuriale’s reputation as an historian and antiquarian enhanced his medical career. The publication of De arte gymnastica in 1569 helped him obtain appointment to a chair of medicine at Padua in 1570. He later moved to distinguished and well-paid professorships at the universities of Bologna and Pisa. Members of the highest ranks of society were his patrons and patients, including the Emperor Maximilian II and Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany, and he maintained correspondence with leading intellectuals of the day, including Aldrovandi and Galileo.

De arte gymnastica is divided into six books to sketch the history, settings, and equipment, and the varieties of exercise practiced in antiquity, and to examine the effect of such exercises on health. It begins with the origins of gymnastica and its relation to the origins of medicine, followed by description of Roman athletics, with some reference to Greek as well, with some references to modern cultural conditions which had caused health to deteriorate since the days of Hippocrates. Expanding on the work of Galen, Mercuriale deemed exercise a medical necessity for preventing disease, maintaining health, and building up sickly individuals. He pointed out that there was abundant contemporary literature on the other parts of preservative medicine, but not exercise.

While Mercuriale viewed exercise as basically positive, his detailed advice included limitations and warnings. He followed Galen’s assumption that changed in humoral balance, and therefore only those of cold and dry temperament should exercise vigorously, and others should limit themselves to gentler forms of movement. Convalescents and the elderly should avoid vigorous exercise altogether. The lifestyle of athletes was basically unhealthy: too much meat, too much sleep, too much sun exposure, too much physical activity, and unbalanced emotions. The right time to stop was as soon as breathing changed or the face reddened. He also lists the dangers of many specific forms of exercise, including hunting and playing pell mell (an ancestor of croquet), and pointed out that some forms of exercise, such as gymnastics and wrestling were no longer socially respectable.

Most of the illustrations of Roman athletes in action were drawn for the second edition in 1573 by artist, architect, and antiquary Pirro Ligorio, whom Mercuriale had met in Rome. Both left Rome In 1569-70, Ligorio to Ferrara and Mercuriale to Padua, but they continued to correspond and cooperate. The illustrations are carefully placed in relation to the text, and the text refers to them. Ligorio was renowned for investigating, describing, and drawing Roman antiquities, but he was also criticized by his contemporaries and by later scholars for representing his subjects with more imagination than historical accuracy. In the text, Mercuriale identified illustrations by Ligorio, often complimenting his antiquarian expertise. In addition to the illustrations by Ligorio, Mercuriale commissioned some drawings of actual sculptures for his new illustrated edition.

 The Health Sciences Library’s copy of the second edition of De Arte Gymnastica is bound in white vellum over pasteboard with raised bands and a gilt-tooled red morocco spine label. It was given to the Health Sciences Library by the Denver Medical Society in 1982. It was at one time owned by Docteur Flandrin, whose bookplate, dated 1902, is inside the front cover.

Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]

New Military Medicine Exhibit on the 1st Floor

The Rare Materials Collection of the Strauss Health Sciences Library includes many titles illustrating the history of military medicine, including histories, memoirs, and biographies, manuals and handbooks, regulations, and more. A small selection of works which influenced the development of military medicine in the United States and illustrate its history is featured in the exhibit case at the north end of the 1st floor, near the elevator and Teaching Lab 3.



The work of Henry Ingersoll Bowditch, including the publication of this pamphlet following the death of his son at the Battle of Kelly’s Ford, Virginia, facilitated the creation of ambulance service for the entire Union Army.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]

Rare Book Profile: James Parton’s Eminent Women of the Age; being narratives of the lives and deeds of the most prominent women of the present generation


CoverEminent Women of the Age: Being Narratives of the Lives and Deeds of the Most Prominent Women of the Present Generation (Hartford, Conn.: S.M. Betts & Co., 1868) was compiled by popular biographer James Parton. In the preface, he explained that while many works dealt with the lives and deeds of men, “in respect to eminent women of our age, there is not in existence, so far as the publishers are aware, any work, or series of works, which supplies the information contained in this volume.” The biographical sketches in the volume were written by Parton and his wife Sara (a popular novelist who used the pen-name Fanny Fern), and sixteen others, including Horace Greeley and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Grace Greenwod. Stanton Fern, and Greenwood were also among the biographees.

James Parton (1822-1891) was a popular American biographer best known for books on the lives of prominent men, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Horace Greeley, General Benjamin Butler, and Voltaire, biographical collections, such as Captains of Industry (1884) and Revolutionary Heroes (1890), and nonfiction works on a variety of topics ranging from taxation of churches to humorous poetry. He was born in Canterbury, England, but came to the United States with his family at the age of 5. After completing his education in New York City and White Plains, New York, he taught school, first in Philadelphia and later in New York City. In 1875, three years after his wife’s death, he moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he lived until he died in 1891.

Most of the biographees are American, with some notable exceptions, such as Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria, and Empress Eugenie, and a number of artists and actresses. A section devoted to women as physicians was written by Henry Bond Elliot, a Congregational minister. It begins with an historical overview of medical education for women, especially in the United States, followed by biographical sketches of five American physicians: Clemence S. Lozier (Syracuse Eclectic College, 1853), Elizabeth Blackwell (Geneva Medical College, 1849), Harriot Kezia Hunt (studied privately with Dr. Richard Dixon Mott and his wife), Hannah E. Myers Longshore (Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850), and Ann Preston (Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1866). The only subject whose portrait is included is Dr. Lozier.

The Health Sciences Library’s copy of Eminent Women of the Age was recased in its original publisher’s green cloth with gilt-stamped spine and upper board by Frank B. Roger, M.D. It is illustrated with steel-engraved portraits.

Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]

Color Our Collections 2018

The 2018 Color Our Collections project, hosted by the New York Academy of Medicine, will run February 5-9.  The week-long international coloring fest on social media features images contributed by libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions from all over the world. All images are in the public domain and will be freely available with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. You are invited to browse, download, and color as many images as you like, and if you are so inclined, please share your creation on social media with the hashtag.

The Health Sciences Library offers eleven images from works in the Rare Materials Collection, ranging from 16th-century woodcuts to 19th-century wood engravings and lithographs, on an equally wide-ranging variety of topics. Many printed illustrations were intended to be hand-colored, especially those published before 1800, and while altering pages of the library’s rare treasures is usually discouraged, you are now encouraged to do exactly that.

While the #ColorOurCollections event only lasts one week, the images will be available all year at the event website:

Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]Fourth_Booke_of_Dyftillations_BW (3)



The Color Our Collections documents have been added to the digital repository, so users can access them if they would like to print and color them:

Rare Book Profile: Samuel Gross’s A Manual of Military Surgery; or, Hints on the Emergencies of Field, Camp and Hospital practice (2nd edition).

S. D. Gross’s A Manual of Military Surgery (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1861) was written for use as a handbook in the field by Union surgeons in the American Civil War. Its author served as a surgical consultant to the United States Surgeon General.

Samuel David Gross (1805-1884) was one of the most highly esteemed American surgeons and medical educators of his time. Born into a rural Pennsylvania Dutch family, he apprenticed with two local physicians as a teenager, then left home for formal education in schools in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. He earned a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1828. He opened a general practice in Philadelphia, where he also translated a number of French and German medical works into English. After a few year, he married and moved his practice to Easton, Pennsylvania near his family home. He added a small laboratory to his house, where he conducted human and animal dissection, as well as research on a variety of subjects.

In 1833, one of his former teachers helped him obtain a position demonstrating pathology at the Medical College of Ohio in Cincinnati. He was promoted to Professor of Pathological Anatomy two years later. Shortly after that, he moved to the position of Chief of Pathologic Anatomy in the Medical Department of the Cincinnati College. The college folded in 1839, and Gross joined the faculty of the Louisville Medical Institute as Professor of Surgery, where he remained for 16 years, establishing a dog laboratory, practicing medicine, and lecturing. He co-founded the Louisville Medical Review and the North American Chirurgical Review, and contributed to the Institute’s reputation as a major medical center.

In 1856, Gross accepted an appointment as Professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College, where he remained for the rest of his career. He was the first alumnus to join the faculty. He was active in several medical associations and served as the twentieth president of the American Medical Association. Over the years, Gross published many books and articles on anatomy, pathology, surgery, and diseases. He also wrote a number of medical biographies and histories. Gross is perhaps most famous as the subject of Thomas Eakins’ iconic 1875 painting The Gross Medical Clinic, instructing students while performing surgery in the Jefferson Medical College amphitheater. Gross died in 1884 at the age of 78.

A Manual of Military Surgery was published in 1861 as a handbook for Union field surgeons. In 1862, an unauthorized reprint was issued by J.W. Randolph in Richmond, Virginia, who justified the piracy by pointing out that no other such works were available. “The book trade between the two sections of the continent having been interrupted, it has rendered it impossible for Dr. Gs publishers to furnish the work to the Southern Public.” The Confederacy didn’t publish an original surgical manual until 1863.

The Health Sciences Library’s well-worn copy of A Manual of Military Surgery is the second edition, published in Philadelphia in 1862. It is bound in the original publisher’s brown cloth with gilt-stamped spine.

Rare materials are available to individuals or groups by appointment on Wednesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, or at other times by arrangement. To schedule an appointment, contact Emily Epstein, or 303-724-2119.

[Emily Epstein, Cataloging Librarian]