The Milwaukee Academy of Medicine Historical Medical Book Collection
Milwaukee Academy of Medicine Book Collection
The Milwaukee Academy of Medicine has a collection of rare books of medical significance. The collection is housed in the History of Medicine Archives Vault which is an environmentally controlled room that has a stack capacity of 22,000 volumes. The Milwaukee Academy of Medicine collection and archives, as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin History of Medicine collection and archives are housed in the vault. These books are available to scholars by contacting one of the librarians at 414/456-8300 weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The History of Medicine Room is adjacent to the vault which houses the Milwaukee Academy of Medicine archives and book collection. This beautiful room provides an ideal setting for meetings.
There are approximately 1500 volumes in the entire Milwaukee Academy of Medicine book collection. The Horace Manchester Brown Collection is comprised of 347 volumes of the entire collection. The most valuable book in the collection is the priceless 1543 (1st) edition of Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica. This works established the beginning of modern observational science and research. The De Fabrica is not only one of the most remarkable works known to science, it is also one of the most magnificent in the history of printing. In it, illustration, text, and typography blend to achieve an unsurpassed work of creative art. Books of historical medical significance are added to the Academy collection annually.
The Milwaukee Academy of Medicine inherited a collection of rare and historic medical books from Horace Manchester Brown in 1930. Additions to that basic collection have been made regularly. The gem of Brown's collection is the De Humani Corporis Fabrica published by Vesalius in 1543. Although the anatomic drawings are largely self-exploratory, the text is in Latin, limiting its value to most modern anatomists.
A recently published English translation of two volumes has been purchased by the Academy. On the Fabric of the Human Body Book I deals with the Bones and Cartilages; Book II deals with the Ligaments and Muscles. The translators are William Frank Richardson and John Burd Carman. The translation is eminently readable and illustrates Vesalius' genius in describing the details of his dissections.
The New Sydenham Society of England published a series of books covering a variety of medical topics. Each book dealt with a specific medical writer or lecturer or topic. The series in the Academy's collection includes 152 volumes published during the middle and late 1800s. Each book carries the Academy book plate noting that it was dedicated to the memory of Alfred William Gray, M.D.