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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

    ANDRÉ DU LAURENS (1558-1609). De mirabili strumas sanandi vi solis Galliae regibus christianissimis divinitus concessa liber unus. Paris: Apud Marcum Orry, 1609.

    Illustration of Kidney Pathologies

    Du Laurens taught at Montpellier until 1598 and eventually became personal physician to Marie de Medici and King Henry IV. During the Middle Ages, tuberculosis of the lymph glands was known variously as scrofula, struma, and the “King’s Evil.” It was believed that the “royal touch” could cure this disease. Du Laurens was a firm believer in the effectiveness of the “royal touch” and, in this work, reports that King Henry IV often touched and healed as many as 1,500 individuals at a time.