From 16th century alchemical treatises to 20th-century breakthroughs saving millions of lives, this exhibition explores the evolving roles of medicine and healers and how these changes affect the way we live and work today. Early modern distilling manuals, botanical prints, and handwritten cookbooks tell the story of a time when doctors and lay healers alike collected roots, berries, and leaves to treat disease. Featured books from this period include works by Ambroise Paré, William Woodville, and Eliza Smith. Turn of the 20th century pharmaceutical advertisements, with their sensational claims, reflect a still largely unregulated period of medicine. And laboratory equipment, research notes, and photographs document the 20th century quest to end epidemics worldwide.
Vanderbilt University’s contribution to medicine in the 20th century is highlighted in the stories of those nurses and physicians who served in World War II, by Ernest Goodpasture’s breakthroughs in vaccine research, and by Earl Sutherland’s 1971 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. We hope you’ll join us for this rare view of medical treasures from the Eskind Biomedical Library’s Historical Collection.