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  • Wound man in 1495 printed book.

    Wound man Part 2: afterlives

    18/08/2016

    The remarkable manuscript image of the wound man did not die with the medieval medical world that created it, finding a rich afterlife in the Renaissance and beyond. With the adoption of new print technologies in the second half of… Continue reading

  • Wound man image.

    Wound man Part 1: origins

    12/08/2016

    The ‘wound man’ is an enigmatic and troubling figure from the world of medieval and early modern medical manuscripts.     Staring impassively out of the page, he bears a multitude of graphic wounds. His skin is covered in bleeding… Continue reading

  • Hand in margin of manuscript.

    Hands, holes and hashtags: Wellcome MS. 550

    27/02/2016

    The first manuscript that I ever encountered face-to-face was Wellcome MS. 550. This volume, mainly in medieval Latin, dates from the early 15th century, and is a compendium of different medical and surgical writings. As my research involves the plague,… Continue reading

  • Galen title page with inscription.

    A Parisian surgical dynasty and their books

    31/07/2015

    Why do we often sign and date our books when we acquire them? It is not surely for fear that we will lose them and thus to ensure their safe return. Rather, it is to mark their place in our… Continue reading

  • Wounds from the Battle of Waterloo

    18/06/2015

    A “damned near-run thing” said the Duke of Wellington on his victory over Napoleon at Waterloo on 18 June 1815. The Battle of Waterloo was the the bloody finale of the French Emperor’s 100-day reign. While Napoleon was exiled to… Continue reading

  • Film of the month: Abdominal hysterectomy for pyosalpinx

    05/09/2013

    This is a fragment of a longer film (the original length was 502 feet which is about 6 minutes) depicting the surgical removal of the uterus (a hysterectomy) in close-up. Pysosalpinx relates to the fallopian tube being blocked by pus.… Continue reading

  • The British Transplantation Society papers (1972-2007)

    12/08/2013

    The recently catalogued papers (SA/BTS) of the British Transplantation Society (BTS) document changing attitudes towards organ and tissue transplantation, in the medical community and more broadly, over a 35-year span. The papers provide an insight into the rapid medical advances… Continue reading

  • ‘Everard Home: Hero or Villain?’

    10/05/2013

    Dr Simon Chaplin, Head of the Wellcome Library, will be giving a lecture about the surgeon Everard Home at the Hunterian Museum in London on Tuesday 14th May at 13.00. “Who was the real Everard Home (1756-1832)? Was he a brilliant… Continue reading

  • Hermitage and heritage: Augustinians in history

    03/01/2012

    Austen (the surname of one of England’s best-loved novelists) and Austin (the capital city of Texas) are both abbreviations of the name Augustine. That name became popular from Saint Augustine of Hippo, Father and Doctor of the Church (354-430), philosopher… Continue reading

  • Item of the Month, November 2011: Certificate of attendance at William Hunter’s lectures

    30/11/2011

    One of the pivotal figures in eighteenth century medicine, William Hunter (born on May 23rd 1718 at Long Calderwood, Kilbride, Scotland) was an eminent doctor, surgeon, obstetrician and teacher of anatomy. Educated in Glasgow and Edinburgh, he arrived in London… Continue reading