Posts by Pablo Alvarez

Spanish History for Kids?

Illustration depicting the so-called "Armada Invicible" as it was destroyed by a storm when attempting to invade England.

We have recently purchased an extremely rare illustrated history of Spain. It consists of just twenty-four oblong leaves (152 x 262 mm), each of them containing six illustrations with their respective descriptive narratives below. Each of these pairs highlights important events in Spanish history from Antiquity until the reign of Philip V (1700-1746). There is no letterpress involved in the making of this book. The rectos of the pages have been entirely designed and printed by using the process...

A New Acquisition: A Japanese Illustrated Book on Surgery

woodcut from Irako Mitsuaki. Geka kinmō zui (Kyoto : Ebisuya Ichiemon, 1809)

We have recently purchased this very rare Japanese book on surgery for our History of Medicine Collection, which is particularly comprehensive on the history of surgery from the Middle Ages throughout the Renaissance. Since our holdings on this subject mainly focus on Western medicine, this Japanese imprint is a long overdue addition, being an extraordinary witness of one of many cultural exchanges between Japan and Europe from the sixteenth century onward.

Old Books and New Spaces

Photo taken a few minutes before the arrival of the guests, showing a selection from the History of Medicine Collection on the fourth floor of the recently renovated Taubman Library, University of Michigan Library

We just hosted our annual donors' reception in the newly renovated space of the Taubman Library last Thursday! As always, it was a great opportunity to express our gratitude to all our friends for having supported the University of Michigan Library throughout the years.

Book History in Spain: A Case Study

Title-page of Giovanni Francesco Loredano's Burlas de la fortuna en afectos retoricos (Madrid: Diego Dises, 1688).

In a previous post, I argued that we must judge a book by its cover because the design of an early binding can tell us much about the social status of its former owner. Now, I would like to argue that we can learn a lot about early printing history by examining the preliminary pages of a book.

It's All about Milk!

Copperplate engraving  in Philipp Adolph Böhmer's Epistola anatomica problematica de ductibus mammarum lactiferis (Halle an der Saale, Impensis Orphanotrophei,1742)

A recent addition to our holdings on the history of medicine is a fascinating collection of twenty-five university dissertations, treatises, prize-winning essays, books, and reports, on the subject of milk. Ranging from 1659 to 1822, and published across Europe, these works are extraordinary witnesses of how milk was thoroughly studied from a chemical, medicinal, nutritional, and even a social perspective.

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