Friday, August 28, 2009

Images from the History of Medicine

The National Library of Medicine's History of Medicine Division has launched its image collection in a new software platform by Luna Imaging. Images from the History of Medicine comprises nearly 70,000 images dating from the 15th through the 21st centuries, with a particular strength in pre-World War II materials. Items include "portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine." The collection is of interest to a range of disciplines beyond medicine, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Materials include:

"portraits of health professionals and biomedical scientists; views of health institutions, such as hospitals and medical schools; fine prints with medically related themes; and images reproduced from the NLM rare book and manuscript collections. There are smaller numbers of illustrations of anatomy, medical techniques, and diseases, chiefly derived from rare book illustrations, such as Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Subjects include medieval astrology, World War I hospitals, international efforts to overcome drug abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases, among others. Of particular note is the fine prints collection, numbering more than 3,000 items, including several hundred caricatures on medically related subjects by Honoré Daumier, George Cruikshank, Thomas Rowlandson, and Louis Léopold Boilly. The poster collection of approximately 12,000 items includes representative examples of historical and contemporary posters dealing with public health issues, such as AIDS, smoking, illicit drugs, and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as several hundred posters documenting activities at the National Institutes of Health."

See the NLM announcement here for more information.

Image: Hull, Edward. Death saw two players playing at cards.. 1827. From Images from the History of Medicine.

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