UCL News


First online Exhibition for Library Services

14 April 2005

The first virtual exhibition by UCL Library Services Special Collections has been launched.

Plate from 'Feldtbuch der Wundartzney' 'Volcanoes, Slugs and Comets: Rare Scientific Books at UCL' draws on the Rare Book collections, which are particularly rich in astronomy, mathematics, natural history and medicine, with smaller specialist collections covering malacology, vulcanology, palaeontology and orthopaedics.

The plate featured is from the 1530 edition of the book Feldtbuch der Wundartzney ('Fieldbook of Wound Surgery') by Hans Gersdorff, which was presented to the UCH Medical School Library in 1924 by Sir John Tweedy.

In the 16th century the most innovative practical medicine tended to be practised on the battlefield. Gersdorff is said to have performed some 200 amputations. In his book he describes in detail the extraction of arrows and bullets. He also describes his method of amputation very exactly, employing a tourniquet to control the bleeding, treating bleeding vessels with compression or cauterisation, and covering the stump with a beef or pig bladder. He mentions the administration of a soporific drink and gives its formula. This is illustrated by what is probably the first depiction of an amputation in a printed work.

Image: Plate from Feldtbuch der Wundartzney.

To view the varied items in the exhibition use the link below.

Link: Volcanoes, Slugs and Comets