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History of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine Collection

Collection Information

This special collection was built at the Carlson Health Sciences Library and was established in conjunction with a biennial course on the history of veterinary medicine, sponsored by the School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2009 the collection was transferred to the care of the Department of Special Collections at the University Library, University of California, Davis, where the collection would have better environment housing and be part of the larger Special Collections rare book collection. The emphasis of the collection was (and continues to be) the acquisition of historical materials which, because of the format (portfolios and fragile material), are subject to damage or loss with unsupervised use. The collection includes works considered to be illustrative of the history and trends of both medicine and veterinary medicine, especially the area of equine medicine. Older veterinary medical texts cover the period from the early 1600s through the late 1800s. The veterinary collection, comprised chiefly of British and American imprints, also includes a few classic French and English periodicals.


A small collection of 1,300 titles and nearly 2,200 volumes, Special Collections includes approximately 200 works on the horse, horseshoeing, and horse care, including a beautifully reconditioned reprint edition of the first work of veterinary anatomy based on Vesalian principles, Carlo Ruini’s Anatomia del Cavallo, Infermita Et Svoi Rimedii… (Venetia, 1618) and a copy of The Drawings and Miscellaneous Papers of Leonardo da Vinci in the Collection of Her Majesty, the Queen, at Windsor Castle, Volume II, Horses and Other Animals, edited by Carlo Pedretti (London, 1987). Several classic journals in medicine and veterinary medicine date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The collection includes basic works important in the history of medicine, largely in reprint, including the publications of the Sydenham Society and the New Sydenham Society. Special treasures include a 1568 edition of Vesalius’ De Humani Corporis Fabrica… (Venetiis) and a partial set of Medicina Rara reprints of fine medical books and manuscripts.