What are some interesting medical texts or anatomy prints
April 12, 2006 4:11 PM   Subscribe

What would be a cool/interesting medical book to have a first edition of, besides "Gray's Anatomy"?

I'm asking for a friend whose brother is graduating medical school next month and starting a residency in surgery. She wants some suggestions on texts (or some anatomy prints she could frame) that she should look for as a graduation gift.

So, health care professionals, what would you want?
posted by Airhen to Science & Nature (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - not really what you're looking for though.
You can Browse the medical section of Powell's rare book room online, maybe something from there will jump out at you.
posted by Sara Anne at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2006

For surgery -- what type? Definitely anything by Frank Netter has some amazing pictures and illustrations to look at.

Otherwise for a future surgery resident? As big a Starbucks coffee gift card as possible.
posted by ruwan at 4:27 PM on April 12, 2006

I'm not a healthcare professional, but when I bought a copy of the Merck manual a few years ago, it came with a reprint of the 1899 edition which is quite interesting (e.g. cocaine can cure almost anything.) I'm not sure about the availability of the original printing, but it's a cool little book.
posted by sanko at 4:37 PM on April 12, 2006

Jennifer Fairman at Fairman Studios does beautiful medical illustrations. She has an online shop but it only seems to carry insect illustration prints. Wouldn't hurt to ask if she could make anatomy illustration prints.

If he was just getting into medical school, I would have suggested the anatomy and physiology coloring books. Seems silly but they helped my friend tremendously while working through med school.
posted by junesix at 5:19 PM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: For surgery -- what type?

He's going into a general surgery residency, but I think he ultimately wants to be a urologist.

I'm not a healthcare professional

Welcoming responses from the non-pros, too!
posted by Airhen at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2006

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database is a great resource. We are using this tome for a nonprescriptions therepeutics class in my pharmacy school. It's about the size of a phone book, with a page or so summarizing the uses, mechanisms of action and what evidence exists for using various herbal, "natural" nonprescription compounds. I browse it for fun. There is also an online edition (subscription needed).
posted by selfmedicating at 5:51 PM on April 12, 2006

We had a really old version (maybe even 1st edition) of Taber's Medical Encyclopedia. That would make an excellent gift, I think. It's pretty comprehensive and still useful today.
posted by nekton at 6:06 PM on April 12, 2006

Smith's Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation.
posted by makonan at 6:22 PM on April 12, 2006

What would be a cool/interesting medical book to have a first edition of, besides "Gray's Anatomy"?

Galen's seventeen-volume On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Human Body ! Perhaps a bit pricey.
posted by Aknaton at 6:58 PM on April 12, 2006

No "first editions" of Galen survive, regretfully.

This post reminds me of the old joke - "How do you hide a dollar bill from a surgeon? -- Put it in a book." But it's a lovely idea and I bet your surgeon-to-be will be delighted.

My favorite of the brief Alibris search I did (topic: surgery, published before: 1950, first editions) was definitely

The Early Diagnosis of the Acute Abdomen. This is a surgical principle that never goes out of style; sadly, it's a 3rd edition.

This author-signed 1st ed. biography of Harvey Cushing would make good cocktail-party chatter.

And I'm tempted to buy Fifty Years a Surgeon: An Autobiography myself; it looks fascinating.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:16 PM on April 12, 2006

Claude Bernard's Introduction à l'étude de la médecine expérimentale is a beautiful book. This page has the first edition for a whopping 1800 Euros, but the fourth edition is here for 175.
posted by painquale at 7:19 PM on April 12, 2006

posted by NucleophilicAttack at 8:12 PM on April 12, 2006

A first edition of Osler's The Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892) will cost you several thousand dollars; but an early edition in decent condition can still be had for $100 or $150. (Go to Abebooks and search for 'Osler', specifying your price limit in the 'maximum price' box.)

Alternatively, look for a good hardback copy of The Apologie and Treatise of Ambroise Paré (edited by Geoffrey Keynes, first published 1951) or The Illustrations from the Works of Andreas Vesalius (edited by Saunders and O'Malley, first published 1950). These are attractive facsimile editions with English translations, and should cost somewhere between $50 and $150, depending on edition and condition.

Alternatively, go to eBay and search for 'Beechams Pills' and you will find various retailers selling old-fashioned medical advertisements, cut out of magazines like the Illustrated London News, suitable for framing. My father was given one of these as a present when he worked for a pharmaceutical company in the 1960s, and it hangs on his wall to this day -- 'In the Home! (picture of neurotic woman sprawled on chaise-longue) In the Sickroom! (picture of nurse bearing glass of milk on tray) In the Court! (picture of Queen Victoria seated at writing-desk) Beechams Pills!'
posted by verstegan at 4:24 AM on April 13, 2006

A first edition (Oxford 1621) of Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy is going for just $27,500 here.

If that's a bit steep for you, try searching that site for cheaper items.
posted by pracowity at 4:25 AM on April 13, 2006

(She isn't intending to hack up rare old books to get nice prints for her office, is she? Because that would be evil.)
posted by pracowity at 4:47 AM on April 13, 2006

Vesalius. He made some of the first accurate anotomical drawings (etchings?) in the 1500s. His plates are probably in lots of books, so I don't have a recommendation of a particular book. But he's a good thing to google or to ask a bookshop owner about.
posted by zpousman at 7:33 AM on April 13, 2006

Response by poster: (She isn't intending to hack up rare old books to get nice prints for her office, is she? Because that would be evil.)

Oh, no. She would buy the prints.
posted by Airhen at 8:17 AM on April 13, 2006

Good place to start: NIH's Historical Anatomies Exhibition.
posted by exhilaration at 9:58 AM on April 13, 2006

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