Posts by Pablo Alvarez

Kip Thorne and Galileo Galilei

From left to right: Professors Keith Riles, Kip S. Thorne and Gregory Tarlé

Yesterday we were honored by the visit of Kip S. Thorne, the Feyman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at Caltech. Before delivering the twenty-sixth annual Ta-You Wu Lecture in Physics, Professor Thorne came to view one of the most remarkable artifacts held in the Special Collections Library: a single-leaf manuscript containing Galileo's own notes of his first observations of the moons of Jupiter in January 1610.

An Exhibit Critique by U-M Student Noah Waldman

Sciatica Amulet; Egypt; in Greek; 1st-5th century AD; Hematite, black; 18 x 23 x 3 mm; SCL-Bonner 40

The Exhibit "The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance" is now gone from the Kelsey Museum and the Audubon Room of the Hatcher Library, but we can still see it through the eyes of undergraduate Noah Waldman, who last semester wrote an exhibit critique for professor Aileen Das' class, "Ancient Medicine in Greece and Rome". Selected by Dr. Das, I am very pleased to post Noah's review in our Special Collections blog.

Illustrations in Rare Books: A Workshop

Teaching Space at the Special Collections Library, Hatcher 806

As part of last week's Enriching Scholarship events, I offered an introductory workshop on the subject of illustrations in early printed books. In brief, the participants of this session learned not only about how these extraordinary images were created but also about how to identify the details of their production by examining actual books. For each book the following question was raised: are these illustrations woodcuts, engravings, or lithographs? We all had great fun!

An Exhibit Critique by U-M Student Shannon Ryan

Anubis Amulet. Faience. 7th-1st c. BC Fayum, Egypt. David Askren, 1925. KM 23431

I am pleased to showcase a student critique of the current exhibit, The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance. Students of professor Aileen Das' class, Ancient Medicine in Greece & Rome, visited this exhibit at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology last February. They were assigned with the fascinating task of examining this display from various angles, not only from the perspective of the visitor but, more interestingly, also from the view of the exhibit curator. As...

New Exhibit: The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance

Exhibit Poster: The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance

We are pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit from the Special Collections Library. It includes an extraordinary selection of magical, religious, and medical artifacts held at Special Collections, the Papyrology Collection, and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. These objects are an extraordinary evidence of how people coped with physical and mental ailments from antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Rare Books and the Bicentennial: Part I

Letter by U of M Alum Capt. William Wirt Wheeler of the 6th Michigan Volunteers to his former professor of Greek, James Robinson Boise. New Orleans, September 29 1862

I am frequently asked by students and faculty: where do our rare book collections come from? While we have purchased many extraordinary books since the early years of the University of Michigan, many of our treasures were bequeathed by grateful alums and faculty. The reasons why they donated these artifacts are often fascinating, revealing little-known stories that shed light not only on the history of our institution but on our country at large. The book featured in this post is a rare...

Abracadabra!

Quintus Serenus (fl. 2nd c. AD). Liber medicinalis. Southeast Germany (Bavaria) or Austria; ca. 1500. Mich. Ms. 291.

The Liber medicinalis (Book of Medicine) is a medical treatise of around 1,200 dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to the second-century Roman author, Quintus Serenus Sammonicus (d. beginning of 3rd c. AD). It contains sixty-four therapeutic recipes, divided into two sections: recipes for illnesses affecting individual organs listed from head to toe, and recipes for general ailments like injuries, fevers, fractures and dislocations, insomnia, toothache, and poisoning.

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