Items You've Funded So Far
All the items listed below have received full funding under the Conserve our Collections scheme. If not already, then they are soon to be on their way to the conservators.
If you have supported an item from the list below and would like know how the conservation work is going or would like to enquire when the work will be completed, please email email@example.com.
Eighteenth century recipes
The twelve unbound pages of manuscript receipts (recipes) are in several different hands. The recipes include one for making liquid friar’s balsam, to treat asthma, a cough, jaundice and piles.
Some recipes have names included: Mr More, Dr Booha, Dr Furlong, Mrs Hegden and Mr Bethell.
RCS Court of Assistants letter book, vol 2
The Court of Assistants was the College's governing body, 1800-1822. It consisted of a Master and two Wardens and eighteen other members who were elected, by the Court, for life. This volume contains copies of outgoing letters written by the College's Secretary to individual surgeons, benefactors to the College, and to the Royal Navy about examining wounded sailors to determine their fitness to serve.
Museum letter book, s 1, vol 2
This large volume contains copy letters from the College Secretary Edmund Belfour to various recipients. Amongst the recipients are institutions such as the Zoological Society and the British Museum, as well as individuals including William Buckland and Robert Liston. Most of the letters are short acknowledgements of gifts to the museum or library collections.
Twelve drawings of teeth
This file contains twelve rough sketches of teeth, for illustrations of Sir John Tome's "Dental physiology and surgery" (published 1848). The drawings appear to have been wrapped around the teeth depicted, which are now in the College’s odontological collection, and later flattened out.
Catalogue of diseased preparations
A Catalogue in three parts, partly in the hand of John Heaviside, listing part of his Museum. The catalogue lists all of the Diseased Preparations, preserved in Spirits; numerically arranged as they were placed in the Museum. Included with each entry is a short account of each case. The catalogue was begun in July 1786 and when Heaviside’s collections were sold in the early-19th century, William Clift (first conservator of the Hunterian Museum) purchased a lot of specimens to add to the College’s collection.
Case notes written by Astley Cooper
This volume contains pencil notes of various cases treated by Sir Astley Cooper, arranged according to illness/disease. The first few pages of the volume contain notes on injecting absorbents, drying preparations, the extent of the ossific process at birth, jaundice, piles and polypus.
On Harelip and Cleft Palate (1877)
Francis Mason is noted for his contributions to the development of surgery on the cleft lip and palate. The two papers in this volume originally appeared in St Thomas's Hospital Reports and were published to make them more widely accessible to the surgical profession. This copy was presented to the Library by the author.
Observations on Strictures 2nd Ed
Item ref: LIB12
William White MRCS (1792-1806) practiced in Bath. He was apothecary, later surgeon, to Bath City Infirmary and Dispensary. He was also surgeon/apothecary to St James's and the Abbey and the Poor House from 1804. He is most noted for recommending the use of use of broad-leaved willow bark in place of quinine.
Traite de Maladies des Fosses (1804)
Item ref: LIB13
Joseph François Louis Deschamps (1740-1824) was a celebrated French surgeon who practiced at the Hôpital de La Charité in Paris. Famous for inventing the Deschamps needle which had a long shaft for passing sutures in deep tissues, he is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.
For this work on the surgery of the ear, nose and throat he claimed to have studied widely both ancient and modern texts and consulted numerous articles in the Mémoires de l’Académie de Chirurgie and the work of such notable surgeons as Sabatier and Lassus.
LIB14 Textbook of endocrinology
Item ref: LIB14
Hans Selye (1907-1982) was a celebrated Austrian/ Canadian physician and endocrinologist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize several times. Born in Vienna, he grew up in Hungary and studied medicine in Prague, where he began to develop his theory that stress was the foundation of many illnesses – noting that patients suffering from different diseases often exhibited similar signs. The Textbook of endocrinology was central to this work for it was through the study of the effect of hormones that he developed his “general adaptation syndrome” (GAS). His theory was that failure to deal with the effects of stress could produce “diseases of adaption” such as ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks. His research led to the discovery of steroids.
Selye published more than 1,700 articles and 39 books on stress and it is said that he revolutionised medical science’s understanding of the mind-body relationship. In his initial article he used the word “stress” unaware that it was a specific term in physics and that what he really meant was “strain”. This caused confusion when his works came to be translated and, in the end, the word “stress” was used in most European languages – even the French Academy agreed to the term “le stress”.
Etmullerus Abridg’d (1712)
Item ref: LIB15
Michael Etmuller (1644-1683) was Professor of Physic at the University of Leipzig. Among his remedies, he recommends the use of dried toads. “Transfixed alive in the month of July, dried, powdered and administered in doses of twelve grains on alternate days they furnish an excellent cure for dropsy. Powdered toad is also an effective remedy against incontinence of urine, and is said to be efficacious because of its anodyne character while it's volatile, penetrating salt as acts as a diuretic”.
Thankfully this therapy is now obsolete but Etmuller did accurately observe, in 1667, that the gallbladder could be removed without harm to the patient and that there was no drug that could cure gallstones which is still the case today.
Item ref: LIB16
William Wood FLS, FLS (177-1857) originally trained as a surgeon and then turned to the study of natural history. Eventually, he became a leading natural history bookseller.
This book is important for the black and white aquatints by William Daniel (1769-1837) who was one of the most notable English landscape artists of his day.
The subjects are renowned for their realism and are placed against exotic scenery reflecting their origin, for example the camel is pictured in front of a view of the Nile with feluccas sailing up and down in the background. William is now most famous for a fabulous six-part work on India called Oriental scenery which he produced with his uncle, the landscape artist Thomas Daniel (1749-1840) and which he must have been working on while producing the plates for the Zoography as it was published between 1795 and 1808.
On Cataract: And its treatment
Item ref: LIB17
Charles Guthrie FRCS (1817-1859) was Assistant Surgeon to the Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital, where his father, George James Guthrie FRCS was Surgeon and succeeded him as Surgeon. Sadly he died aged 42 due to a liver complaint. His entry in Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons remarks - “Charles Guthrie was a capable surgeon and a dexterous operator, both in the large operations of general surgery and the more delicate ones on the eye. He was kindly, generous, and very sociable; a cause of much anxiety to his father, who on more than one occasion had to pay for cattle shot on the Thames marshes under the impression that they were big game. He might have done well.”
Treatise on the Venereal Disease
Item ref: LIB18
The content of this work largely consists of the lectures that Skey gave at the Aldersgate Street School of Medicine in 1838-9. This school was formed by discontented members of St Bartholomew’s Hospital and rapidly became one of the largest and best known in London.
Frederic Carpenter Skey (1798-1872) was one of the original 300 Fellows of the RCS. He was a popular lecturer and a skilful and successful surgeon. He wrote and lectured widely on various surgical topics and his textbook on operative surgery became a standard student text. In it he argued vehemently against the use of the knife except as a last resort and recommended the use of tonics and stimulants in preference to the bleeding and leeching which were still current in his day.
Such was his expertise in the field covered by the Practical Treatise that his friend and patient, Benjamin Disraeli, recommended him as Chairman of the first Parliamentary Commission at the Admiralty to inquire into the best mode of dealing with venereal diseases in the Navy and Army. The report of the Committee led to the framing and passing of the Contagious Diseases Act in 1866 and he was awarded the CB in 1868.
Treatise on heart and great vessels
Item ref: LIB19
Walter Hayle Walshe (1812-1892) was born in Dublin and, when his widowed mother moved to Paris, studied medicine at the Sorbonne where his teachers included the famous French surgeon Baron Dupuytren. He graduated in Edinburgh in 1835 and began general practice in North London. On the strength of his writing he was appointed Professor of Morbid Anatomy at University College in 1841 at the age of 29 and, seven years later, took over complete responsibility for medical teaching at UC when he was appointed Professor of the Principles and Practice of Medicine. He retired early at the age of 50 and proceeded to publish on such varied topics as “dramatic singing” and linguistics.
Diseases of the heart, first published in 1851, has been described as being one of the most significant cardiology textbooks of its time. Walshe’s obituary in the Lancet commented that it was “one of the most careful and elaborate epitomes of knowledge in the matters with which it deals”. He was one of the first to recognise the presystolic character of the direct mitral murmur in mitral stenosis. The writing was based more on close personal observation and detailed analysis than that of the other three important cardiologists of the day, and was enhanced by his wide reading of European medical literature.
Treatise on the Prevention and Cure of Diseases
Item ref: LIB20
This work was first published in 1769 with the title Domestic medicine or the family physician and it became an instant best seller. It was the first of its kind to be published in Britain and, although the remedies proposed were by no means unique, the approach was, as the book encouraged people to take responsibility for their own health and understand the causes and prevention of disease. Buchan was keen to demystify medical terminology and wrote that “men of every occupation and condition of life might [profitably] avail themselves of a degree of medical knowledge.” He was a firm advocate of breast feeding and stipulated that mothers should look after their own children. He thought the high infant mortality of his day a national scandal and castigated his own profession for not taking more trouble to treat the diseases of childhood.
Domestic Medicine was translated into all the main European languages including Russian. Apparently the Empress of Russia was so impressed with it that she sent Buchan a letter of commendation and a gold medal. A copy of the 6th edition of 1779 was taken on the Bounty and removed by the mutineers for their own use when they landed at Pitcairn.
Item ref: LIB21
Morris’s Human anatomy
Morris studied at Guy's Hospital, where he was House Surgeon after graduating M.B. Lond. In January, 1870, he was appointed Surgical Registrar at Middlesex Hospital, moving on to posts as Assistant Surgeon, and then Surgeon in the Outpatient Cancer Department. From 1879 until 1889 he was Surgeon to the Hospital and was in charge of the Cancer Department.
He was appointed Lecturer in Practical Surgery at the Middlesex hospital in 1871, but it was as Lecturer in Anatomy from 1872-1881 that he distinguished himself the most. It gave origin to his most original and permanent publication, The Anatomy of the Joints of Man (1879). He followed this up later by acting as the editor of A Treatise on Human Anatomy, by various authors, 1893. Morris wrote on "The Articulations", other contemporaries contributing. The work ran through a number of editions, this being the fourth edition. This edition was published in five parts but is bound here in two volumes.
LIB23 Theatrum botanicum
Item ref: LIB23
Due to the popularity of Thomas Johnson's edition of Gerard's Herball, Parkinson's planned herbal did not appear until 1640. The herbal was a compilation of botanical writings including the unpublished work left by de l'Obel after his death. The Theatrum botanicum contains twenty-eight new species never previously mentioned before. Two of the more famous plants include the strawberry tree and the lady's slipper orchid. The leather binding of our 1640 edition is disintegrating and nearly coming apart.
William Cheselden (1688-1753) built a reputation as ‘the foremost teacher of anatomy in the metropolis’. He started a successful course of thirty-five lectures on anatomy, comparative anatomy, and animal economy (physiology), combined with indications for surgical operations, publishing the syllabus in 1711.
Cheselden published his Osteographia, or, The Anatomy of the Bones in 1733. In it, Cheselden gives full and accurate descriptions of all the bones of the human body. Pathological studies are included, as are animal skeletons, for comparison. Cheselden was the first to use a camera obscura to give precision to his work and this use is illustrated on the title page.
Annals Historical and Medical
The Universal Dispensary for Sick Children, founded in 1816 was the first major institution in England devoted solely to care of sick children. The infirmary was founded by John Bunnell Davis, a physician of exceptional energy and determination. Initially Davis was the sole physician to the dispensary with two surgeons and a resident apothecary for support. As with all medical institutions of the time, the dispensary needed financial support from the good and the great to sustain its activities. Davis was tireless in seeking the support of the nobility and by 1821 had gained the support of numerous dukes, earls and marquises before receiving the Royal seal of approval from the King himself. Davis also recruited leading medical men to be “honorary directors”, including surgeons John Abernethy, Matthew Baillie, Henry Cline and Astley Cooper. The dispensary was well-used and Davis started to plan for the development into an infirmary, which would be able to accommodate inpatients. Sadly Davis died in 1824, so it was for others to take the infirmary forward. Ultimately the dispensary became the Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women, which only closed in 1976.
A complete series of anatomical questions, with answers. The answers arranged so as to form an elementary system of anatomy, and intended as prepatory to examinations at Surgeon's-Hall. London : 1807
“A neat little Compendium, which will be beneficial to those for whose use it is intended.” Monthly Review May 1811.
“The work is a kind of Anatomical Catechism, or like the Pupil and Tutor’s guide, the first volume containing the Questions, the second the Answers to them; and the second alone may be used as an Elementary System of Anatomy. The plan is very judicious, and the quantity of matter compressed, by small and very neat printing, into two volumes, is really extraordinary.” British Critic, Sept.1808.
Treatise on diseases
O’Bryen Bellingham was a busy and skilled general surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin, who was also Honorary Librarian at the College of Surgeons [in Ireland]. Although a general surgeon, Bellingham had a long-standing interest in heart disease and he gained an international reputation for his Observations on Aneurism and its Treatment by Compression, (1847). His Treatise on Diseases of the Heart is based on the lectures he gave at St Vincent’s Hospital and was published in 1857, shortly after his death. Although Bellingham’s contemporaries are better remembered he was a learned and well-respected surgeon who, with this book, provided a comprehensive account of contemporary cardiology in the early days of auscultation and percussion.
LIB30 A movable atlas showing the mechanism of vision / Gustave Joseph Witkowski, translated by Henry Power, (1878)
This item dates from the ‘golden age’ of flap books in the late nineteenth century, when the advent of machine printing meant the production of illustrations could become more accurate. It has complex linked pieces that lock together to ‘pop up’ as the reader opens them. Such a feature might be seen more commonly today in children’s books, but it wasn’t actually used for works of entertainment until the end of the nineteenth century.
This series was originally published in French. Each of the volumes in English have been translated by different people. This particular item translated by Henry Power FRCS, an ophthalmic surgeon and anatomist who was also engaged in literary work throughout his life.
To note: Other items in the series include the head and neck, the brain and the skeleton. Each item in the series is in need of conservation - each one costing £200. If you would like details on other volumes email firstname.lastname@example.org
Surgical instrument set
This set, made by Evans of London, contains instruments for amputation and trepanation - two of the most commonly performed operations in the early nineteenth-century. Almost complete, it comprises of an amputation saw and amputation knives, a metacarpal saw, a screw tourniquet, curved needles, artery forceps, bone cutting forceps, spring skull forceps, a skull saw, a trephine with detachable handle, and a bone brush. The instruments are held within in a fitted walnut case lined with red velvet.
MUS09 Dentist scaling the Ladies Teeth
RCSSC/P 3214 Caricature of an eighteenth-century dentist using a tooth scraper on a female patient, printed for Carington Bowles, London, probably 1770s or 1780s.
Mezzotint, 20cm by 25cm
MUS10 Easing the Tooth Ache
RCSSC/P 3216 Caricature of a dentist pulling a patient's tooth, engraved by T. As (James Gilray), and published by H Humphrey, 1796.
Coloured stipple engraving, cropped, 13.6cm by 20cm