Category: Health & Medicine, Illustration
Patent medicine is the term given to various medical compounds sold under a variety of names and labels, though they were for the most part actually trademarked medicines, not patented. In ancient times, such medicine was called nostrum remedium, "our remedy" in Latin, hence the name "nostrum"; it is a medicine whose efficacy is questionable and whose ingredients are usually kept secret.
The trade cards are small, colorfully illustrated advertising cards touting a particular medicine and its many cures. The illustrations often have little to do with any of the ailments purported to be cured. They were pure advertising and very collectible. The era of patent medicine began to unravel in the U.S. with the passage of the first Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.
This collection features approximately 4500 full page plates and other significant illustrations of human anatomy selected from the Jason A. Hannah and Academy of Medicine collections in the history of medicine at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto. Each illustration has been fully indexed using medical subject headings (MeSH), and techniques of illustration, artists, and engravers have been identified whenever possible. There are ninety-five individual titles represented, ranging in date from 1522 to 1867.
Introduction: Dream Anatomy The interior of our bodies is hidden to us. What happens beneath the skin is mysterious, fearful, amazing. In antiquity, the body's internal structure was the subject of speculation, fantasy, and some study, but there were few efforts to represent it in pictures. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century-and the cascade of print technologies that followed-helped to inspire a new spectacular science of anatomy, and new spectacular visions of the body. Anatomical imagery proliferated, detailed and informative but also whimsical, surreal, beautiful, and grotesque — a dream anatomy that reveals as much about the outer world as it does the inner self.
The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine has a rich collection of illustrated anatomical atlases dating from the 15th to the 20th century. The Historical Anatomies on the Web Project has been designed to broaden access to this collection by providing high-resolution downloadable scans of selected important images from the atlases. Atlases and images have been chosen for their historical and artistic significance by the project's content coordinator, Michael North. Important images may be omitted if the atlas is damaged or fragile, or if the work is bound in such a way as to impede high quality scanning. A priority has been placed upon scanning the earliest and/or the best edition of a work in Library's possession. The scans generally omit text.