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Charles S. Bryan History of Medicine Room: The Collection

This guide provides an overview of the Library's History of Medicine Room and related resources.

Overview of the Collection

History of medicine room photo

The School of Medicine Library's collection of over 900 rare medical books and pamphlets,  which cover many aspects of medicine and medical history. Broad subject categories include Pharmacy, anatomy, physiology, public health, the practice of medicine, human bodily systems (respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, etc.), medical specialties (gynecology, surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics), and history of medicine. Most volumes have pre-1900 copyright dates, with many dating from the middle of the 19th century. These books have been generously donated to the library over the years by the friends and families of physicians who practiced medicine or resided in the state of South Carolina.

Dr. John Goree Donates Rare Vesalius Book

Donald Saunders Jr., Dean Richard Hoppmann

John A. Goree, M.D., a 1955 Duke University medical school classmate of Dr. Donald E. Saunders, Jr., was the featured speaker at a special reception and lecture in honor of Dr. Saunders on September 9, 2009 at the School of Medicine. Dr. Goree, a retired professor and radiologist at Duke, wanted to honor Dr. Saunders for his tireless efforts in the establishment of the USC School of Medicine. Dr. Goree's lecture, "The Woodblocks of Vesalius: Their Travels and Fate and the Icones Anatomicae," focused on the origin and history of the rare book, Icones Anatomicae, by the 16th century physician, Andreas Vesalius.

At the end of the September 9 lecture, Dr. Goree announced that he would donate his personal copy of Icones Anatomicae to the School of Medicine Library in honor of Dr. Saunders. President Harris Pastides made these comments after the lecture. "What a wonderful way to celebrate the uncountable contributions of Dr. Saunders. Now the University will be able to count itself among the famous libraries with a copy of this magnificent work." The Library faculty and staff gratefully acknowledges Dr. Goree for the wonderful lecture and for his kind and generous gesture to donate this rare book to the library in honor of Dr. Saunders.

John Goree, Suzy Goree, Donald Saunders, Jr., Carol Saunders,

Patricia Moore-Pastides, University President Harris Pastides

Works of Note

  • The cyclopaedia of practical medicine, 1848 (4 vol.). WB C995 1848
  • Cyclopedia of the practice of medicine, 1874-81 (19 vol.). WB 100 C995 1987-1881
  • The diseases of the heart and aorta, 1898. WG 200 G448d 1898
  • Elements of surgery for the use of students, 1783-1818 (2 vol.). WO 11.1 D718e 1813
  • An essay concerning the nature of ailments, 1731. (In display case in lobby.)
  • Essays on pathology and therapeutics, 1845 (2 vol.). WB D554e 1845
  • The family physician, 1845. WBA F664f 1845
  • Hippocrates upon air, water and situation, 1734.
  • Lecons de physiologie experimentale, 1855-56 (2 vol.). QT 5181 1855-1856  
  • Lectures on the comparative anatomy and physiology of the invertebrate animals, 1843. QS O97L 1843
  • The life of Sir William Osler, 1925 (2 vol.). WZ 100 O82c 1925
  • The medical and surgical history of the war of the rebellion, 1870-88 (3 vol.). UH 224 U58m 1870-88
  • Observations on contraction of the fingers, 1879. WE A219o 1879
  • The obstetric memoirs and contributions of James Y. Simpson, 1855-1856 (2 vol.). WQ S613o 1855-1856
  • A practical treatise on the diagnosis, pathology, and treatment of diseases of the heart, 1859. WG 200 F623p 1859
  • The practice of pharmacy, 1905. QV R388p 1905
  • Precis inconographique de medecine opberatoire, 1853. WO B518p 1853
  • The principles and practice of medicine (Osler), 1892. WB O82p 1892
  • Principles of forensic medicine, 1845. W 600 G986p 1845
  • Stereoscopic studies of anatomy, 1929 (10 vol.). QS 17 C973s 1929
  • Surgical observations on tumours, 1837. QZA W289s 1837
  • Surgical papers by William Stewart Halsted, 1924 (2 vol.). WO 7 H196s 1924
  • A system of operative surgery, 1855 (2 vol.). WO S649s 1855
  • Vesico-vaginal fistula from parturition and other causes, 1868. WP E54v 1868 

Andreae Vesalii Bruxellensis Icones Anatomicae

Donated by Dr. John Goree in honor of Dr. Donald Saunders (2009)

The Icones Anatomicae is “an extraordinary 20th-century artifact created in 1934 by The New York Academy of Medicine and the University of Munich, using the original 1543 wood blocks to reproduce illustrations from the Fabrica and Epitome (works of anatomical study by Andreas Vesalius).  This was the last time images were taken from the woodblocks; returned to Munich, they were subsequently destroyed by Allied bombing during WWII” (source:

The figures, most of which are reproductions from the original blocks preserved in the library of the Univeristy of Munich, are now generally conceded to have been drawn by Jan Stephan van Calcar. The text (reprinted from the Fabrica, 1555, 1543 and the Epitome, 1543) explains the symbols used in the wood blocks, and therefore forms an index of the illustrations and their symbols.