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The University of Iowa Libraries

John Martin Rare Book Room

John Martin Rare Book Room

The nearly 6,500 volumes in the John Martin Rare Book Room are original works representing classic contributions to the history of the health sciences from the 15th through 21st Centuries. Also included are selected books, reprints, and journals dealing with the history of medicine at the University and in the State of Iowa.

Secondary sources such as histories of particular subjects, biographies, and bibliographies are housed in the Hardin Library main collection.

  • Notes from the RBR

    PARACELSUS (1493-1541). Opera, Bücher und Schrifften. Strasbourg: In Verlegung L. Zetzners seligen Erben, 1616.


    Image of early intravenous infusion

    Paracelcus’s unorthodox ideas and teachings put him at loggerheads with the orthodox establishment of his revolutionary time and he spent most of his life wandering through Europe as an itinerant physician, chemist, theologian, and philosopher. First, he applied chemical techniques to pharmacy and therapeutics. Secondly, in his medical teaching he abandoned the ruling system of humours. His influence on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was profound.
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  • History of Medicine Society

    Marquis Berrey presents

    Ancient Surgery in Early Modern Italy: Celsus, Benivieni, Morgagni

    Thursday, January 25, 2018

    5:30-6:30


    Portrait of Benivieni

    European medical professionals from the 15th through the early 19th centuries treated the De Medicina “On Medicine” by the ancient Roman encyclopediast Aulus Cornelius Celsus (fl. 30 CE) as a standard medical reference equivalent to the works of Hippocrates and Galen. This lecture considers how Benivieni and Morgagni put Celsus’ De Medicina to work in medical ethics, in identifications of syphilis, and in specific surgical interventions.