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Archives Chronicles 500 Years of Education

To celebrate the opening of the new Teaching and Learning Center in the Hammer Health Sciences Center, the Health Sciences Library’s Archives & Special Collections has mounted an exhibit highlighting health sciences education over the centuries.

“500 Years of Teaching the Health Sciences: Images and Texts from Archives & Special Collections” displays books and photographs illustrating the teaching of medicine, nursing, and dentistry since the Renaissance, with particular emphasis on education at Columbia. 

Featured are Andreas Vesalius’s “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” of 1543 with its famous title page depicting the author dissecting a human body before a crowd of students and friends; a 1522 anatomical text which, in contrast, shows a dissection scene where the professor only recites from a text by an ancient author while a barber-surgeon actually opens up the body; photos of noted Columbia teachers Virginia Apgar, Dana Atchley, Glenda Garvey, and Robert Loeb; and typical textbooks, including Henry Gray’s “Anatomy,” Chapin Harris’ “Dental Art,” an 1817 medical dictionary, and a nursing treatise written by two deans of Columbia’s School of Nursing. 

The exhibit, which was curated by Stephen E. Novak, head of Archives & Special Collections, can be seen in the main corridor on Lower Level 2 of Hammer until June 1. For more information contact hslarchives@columbia.edu.