I’ve been busy cataloging a large donation of medical books for the museum. Cataloging is an essential part of keeping proper records of the museum’s artifacts. Cataloging can also be a rather tedious task! However, I’ve been kept entertained by some of the things I’ve found in these books. Today I thought I’d share a few of these finds with you.
Even without the “surprise” finds, there are plenty of interesting features to old books.
|Some old books have beautifully embossed leather covers.|
|Even the book spines can be pretty. Many times older books have very long titles such as this.|
|Of course, at my museum it’s always exciting to find a book which belonged to a Civil War Surgeon!|
|Many times in older books there is an illustration or photograph of the author or subject of the book, along with a reproduction of their signature.|
|This book photo highlights the uniform as well as the doctor.|
|Some images are more flattering than others!|
|You can occasionally find messages left by previous readers.|
|Little sketches on the end pages are common finds as well!|
Leafing further through the books you can find interesting things such as:
|A battle map|
|Class notes in a medical textbook|
|A photo of a plane crash|
|A poem about a gas mask!|
With medical books, you also have to be prepared to find images such as:
|A surgical diagram|
|A diseased ileum|
Sometimes there are advertisements included as well. The old ones can give a peek into the items and stereotypes from the past.
|Once upon a time, this was a state-of-the-art vehicle.|
|For obvious reasons, this prosthetic leg ad caught my eye!|
|Some of the old ads simply make you shake your head.|
|And some ads are shameless self-promotions by the author of the book!|
Not all of my book discoveries are pleasant.
|This is what happens when a piece of acidic newspaper is left inside a book.|
|This was not meant to be a sketch book! At least these scribbles are in pencil though.|
I have also found some items which have been left inside of books.
|I’ve found pressed flowers, leaves, and even this four-leaf clover. They tend to discolor the pages and to attract insects, so I take them out of the books.|
|Letters and notes are fairly common finds. A doctor left this list of itemized hospital admissions inside one of his books.|
|I even found this knotted lock of hair inside a book. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any sort of identification with it.|
I will leave you with the most bizarre image I found inside a book:
|I’m not sure if they were trying to promote their product, or to scare people with this image!|
Now I'd better get back to cataloging!
Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.