Open Wide: A Brief History of Dentistry
Selections from the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library
The process of “scaling and scraping around the necks of the teeth” is mentioned in the Talmud. Long before the appearance of the Prophet, mouth care had been established as a national custom in Arab lands. The Buddhist Canon commands every monk to possess a dental fiber-pencil and a whole chapter is devoted to that implement in the Viŝnusmriti. The legendary Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti (2698-25498 B.C.) who enjoys a prominent place in Chinese medical history, wrote about whitening the teeth. Hippocrates of Cos (ca. 450-370 B.C.) wrote “those who have a swollen spleen smell from their mouths and have bad gums.” The Romans believed cleaning the teeth with urine helped whiten them. If you had a toothache in the Middle Ages, you would go to your barber. During this era barbers dealt with far more than just hair. Extracting teeth was a normal and accepted part of their job description as seen in the illustration above.
Caring for teeth has a long and storied history. This exhibit shows some of the rare books in the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine collection dealing with this subject.
Office hours: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
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, (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.