Introduction A Collector's Passion:
Carl W. Gottschalk The Kidney in the
The Carl W. Gottschalk Collection History of Medicine
Exhibition Checklist Selections from the
Display Space Carl W. Gottschalk Collection


EustachiThe Gottschalk Collection now in the Rare Book Collection is remarkable both for its size and for the depth of its coverage. The collection contains approximately 12,400 items. Materials date from the mid-sixteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. They include books, pamphlets, periodicals, journal offprints, photographs and other illustrative materials, a small number of manuscripts, and a sampling of the many awards, honorary degrees, and medals bestowed upon Dr. Gottschalk during his distinguished career.

There are 1,557 bound volumes in the collection. Most are monographic studies or collections of papers, but there are also eleven periodicals. Of the bound volumes, approximately 850 belonged to what Dr. Gottschalk would have considered his rare book or historical collection. The remainder formed part of his working professional library. In time, the more recent imprints in the working library will take their place in the historical literature of the subject. Reflecting the depth of Dr. Gottschalk's knowledge of the bibliography of medicine, most are first editions or later editions of substantial textual or historical importance. Although the coverage of kidney studies from the earlier centuries is as full and comprehensive as one could reasonably hope for, the preponderance of books date from the nineteenth and especially the twentieth centuries. This bibliographical fact reflects the dramatic expansion of research and publication in kidney studies (as in other areas of medicine) that gathered momentum over the course of the nineteenth century and accelerated further in the twentieth. The earliest imprints are often in Latin, but most of the books are in the major European vernacular languages, notably French, German, Italian, and, especially in the twentieth century, English. Many of the texts from all periods are accompanied by woodcuts, engravings, lithographs, or photographs--more than a few of them examples of the finest medical illustrations in the history of printing. Some of the works also contain contemporary and potentially valuable annotations by early readers. Many of the twentieth-century publications carry inscriptions by the authors, sometimes addressed to Dr. Gottschalk.

DescartesAlthough visually much less impressive than the bound volumes, the approximately 10,850 pamphlets and offprints in the collection are no less important. Dr. Gottschalk set out to develop a comprehensive research collection, and he fully appreciated the increasing importance played by the scientific paper in the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These relatively brief and often quite specialized writings were published most commonly in academic or professional journals or in the transactions of scientific societies but also were frequently distributed separately in the form of pamphlets or off-prints to interested scholars or friends of the author. Dr. Gottschalk assigned 1,347 of these pamphlets and offprints to his rare book collection, while the remaining 9,500 formed part of his working library. The latter publications appeared mostly after 1950, but a surprising number were published in earlier decades.

Malpighi TitlepageIt is the size and depth of Dr. Gottschalk's collection that sets it apart from others and will ultimately determine its long-term value to medical scholars and historians. We should also note, however, that the collection is full of rare, valuable, and often visually stimulating materials--high spots in the history of medicine, most but not all of them with material relating to the study of the kidney. Among the early landmark works are fine copies of the first editions of Bartolomeo Eustachi's Opuscula anatomica (Venice, 1564), which contains the first treatise specifically devoted to the kidney, and Marcello Malpighi's De viscerum structura exercitatio (Bologna, 1666), with its famous description of the kidney's glomeruli (sometimes known later as the "Malpighian Bodies"). Other titles of more general interest to the history of medicine include Giovanni Borelli's De motu animalium (2 volumes; Rome,1680-81), Giambattista Morgagni's De sedibus et causis morborum (Venice, 1761), and Andreas Vesalius's Opera omnia (Leyden, 1725), with its magnificent series of anatomical engravings based on the sixteenth-century originals. Many of the books are monuments in the history of printing and book illustration. Notable among them is Bernard Siegfried Albinus's Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body (London, 1749), translated from Latin but retaining the remarkable engravings of Jan Wandelaar, produced from the plates created for the original 1747 edition.

Bright title pageAmong the collection's more modern holdings are an especially fine copy of Richard Bright's Reports of Medical Cases (London, 1827), containing a striking series of colored plates illustrating diseased states of the kidney, and an inscribed copy of William Bowman's seminal paper "On the Structure and Use of the Malpighian Bodies of the Kidney" (London, 1842). Among the twentieth-century contributions, one might single out the important papers of A. Newton Richards and Joseph Wearn, especially their "Observations on the Composition of the Glomerular Urine" (1924), which Dr. Gottschalk believed to be "one of the most important single contributions to renal physiology." The collection also contains the various published descriptions of the earliest artificial kidney machine by Willem Kolff and, of course, the many contributions of Carl Gottschalk himself.

The Artificial KidneyIn addition to a small number of autograph letters by such notable figures as Richard Bright and William Bowman, there are some manuscript materials with substantial research potential. For example, the collection contains the laboratory notebooks of distinguished renal anatomist and pathologist Jean Oliver, a close friend of Dr. Gottschalk who bequeathed the notebooks to him along with a remarkable series of albums that Oliver used to house photomicrographs he made of kidney dissections. Dr. Gottschalk's own personal papers are also a valuable potential resource for historians. They are presently housed in the Manuscripts Department of Wilson Library.

Virtually all of the rare books in Dr. Gottschalk's collection have been cataloged and are fully accessible through the library's online catalog. At this point, the contents of the working library can best be determined through consultation with the staff of the Rare Book Collection in Wilson Library. The friends of Carl Gottschalk have created a special endowment in his memory to assist the library in maintaining the collection, making it fully accessible, and continuing its development in the new century.

A Collector's Passion: The Kidney in the History of Medicine

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