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W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library: Exhibits

W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library. Impressions of Medicine in America: 1680-1820. Curated by Hilary J. Lane.


IN AMERICA: 1680-1820

In a famous recollection of the France he had known on the eve of the revolution, Talleyrand said: “those who were not living in and about the year 1789 know not the pleasure of life”.  In the same year, on the other side of the Atlantic, George Washington assumed office as the first President of the United States.  For the future of the world that was an historic moment.  It was a climax to over a decade of turmoil since 1776 – but for America, the best was surely yet to be.

This exhibit focuses on the theme of medical history from the years 1680 to 1820.  These dates have been chosen because they represent the period from Thomas Thacher, (1620-1678) who wrote the earliest medical document to be printed in the American colonies, to the death of Samuel Bard, (1742-1821) who helped further medical education in America.

The courage of Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was taxed to exhaustion in the 1792 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia.  When most people fled Dr. Rush stayed to care for patients.

Exhibit curated: Ms. Hilary J. Lane
Instructor in History of Medicine
Coordinator, W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library
Plummer 15-07


Medicine in America 1680-1820 catalogue of an exhibition July 1976.  Royal College of Physicians of London, U.K.

Bell, Whitfield J.  John Morgan, continental doctor.  Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.
Samuel Bard (1742-1821) Colonial Physician.  JAMA 1968;205(8):586-87.
Bean, W. B.  Daniel Drake (1785-1852).  Pioneer Physician of the Midwest.  Arch. Intern. Med. 1961;108(5):796-802.

Exhibit Archives

 Selections from the Medical Libraries of Doctors William Worrall Mayo (1819-1911) and Charles Nathaniel Hewitt (1835-1920)

A Brief History of Midwifery: Selections from the Mayo Clinic History of Medicine Library

An Evening Among the Books: Selections of the Bibliotheca Prima of Sir William Osler

Pioneers in Medicine: Selections from the Mayo Clinic History of Medicine Library

Rochester Cemetery Walks: Nestled just northeast of the Mayo Clinic campus, Oakwood and Calvary cemeteries provide the citizens and visitors of Rochester with a quiet place for reflection. Some of the great men and women of medicine lay next to civic leaders and ordinary citizens, strengthening the bond between Mayo Clinic and its community.

Rare Anatomical Texts: This exhibit marks the 90th anniversary of the Mayo Clinic Libraries (1907-1997) and comprises part of 130 rare anatomy books donated to the History of Medicine Library by Dr. Anthony H. Kelly in the early 1990's.



Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle) Published in 1493

Liber Chronicarum, (Book of Chronicles) was conceived, executed and published in Nuremberg, Germany.  Its artistic patina is completely “Nurembergian” and so it is no surprise it long ago gave way to the more popular title of Nuremberg Chronicle.  With the exception of the Gutenberg Bible it has become the best known of all the items printed in the 15th century.  The W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library collection is fortunate to own a first edition copy, printed in Latin, dated 1493.