Department of History

'Transformative' Class Trip to John Hay Library's Special Collections

On April 19th, HIST 0286 A: History of Medicine I: Medical Traditions in the Old World Before 1700, taught by Professor Harold J. Cook, visited the special collections at John Hay Library. The archive contains more than 3,000,000 items, over half the library’s total resources.

Brown 'History of Medicine I' students recently visited the John Hay Library Special Collections with their course instructor, Professor Harold J. Cook, and course TAs, Ebru Erginbas and Tamar Golinsky.

The Senior Academic Engagement Librarian William Monroe and librarian Leo Lovemore curated two sets of archival materials from the library's special book collections. The curated books ranged from the 16th century physician and anatomist, Andresas Vesalius' influential book, De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem (1543) to Chinese scholar and naturalist, Li Shih-Chen's (1518-93) book, The Great Pharmacopoeia [Japan: ca.1640-53]. 

This trip was the first introduction to special archival collections for some students, and it was the first time for many to have first-hand experience with multiple archival materials. The materiality of the books grasped the students' attention, but the contents captivated them the most. The students' feedback aptly summarized the experience: "It was amazing and definitely transformative!"