I established BioMed Rare Books in 2015 as an internet-based bookshop specializing in rare and antiquarian books and papers in medicine and the life sciences. I have been collecting and studying printed works in these fields for many years, an activity that has enhanced and informed my practice of medicine and my own biological research.
My bibliographical expertise has been developed by participating in a number of courses at Rare Book School, a unique institution located at the University of Virginia; and also by attending the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar, a boot camp for antiquarian booksellers based at Colorado College, and now in its 40th year. In listing books and papers for sale on this website, I try to describe the significance of their texts, to point out their cultural significance, and to highlight their value as physical objects reflecting the historical and geographical circumstances of their creation. I am particularly interested in annotated copies and inscribed copies. Where the evidence is available, I try to provide relevant information about both the original and later owners of the books in my inventory, and to comment on any annotations they have made in books formerly in their possession. Items that are included in Garrison-Morton are indicated with the bibliographic citation number. This website is "an interactive Annotated World Bibliography of the History of Medicine, Biology and Dentistry from Circa 2000 BCE to Circa 2010 by Fielding H. Garrison (1870-1935), Leslie T. Morton (1907-2004), and Jeremy M. Norman, Traditionally Known as 'Garrison-Morton'."
Robert L. Chevalier, M.D.
Why collect antiquarian medical books and papers?
Medicine is a human endeavor with a distinguished history extending over millennia. The concept of health and disease has evolved over time, and understanding of the basis for disease advanced rapidly with development of the scientific method in the 17th century. The rate of change accelerated in the 18th and 19th centuries, even more rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries. Recent medical graduates have witnessed dramatic changes in disease recognition and treatment during training, and those who have practiced for several decades are amazed to look back at their formative years. There remains one constant: the duty of the physician to the patient, with the goals of relieving suffering and restoring health.
The gleaning of information applied to the practice of medicine begins with observations gathered in the context of contemporary science and society. These mold the process of discovery, its interpretation, and its dissemination. Since the invention of printing with movable type in the 15th century, medical books have been collected and preserved for future generations, resulting in a rich legacy extending to the present digital era. Many publications in the biological sciences have been enhanced by illustrations, which reflect the aesthetics as well as the formulations of the time. The resulting artifact contains parallel stories: the message of the author's printed words and illustrator's images; the publisher's construction and layout of the book; and the inscriptions and annotations by the owners as well as the creators of the book.
Additional images are available, and questions are always welcome.
New stock will be added regularly, and frequent visits to this website are encouraged.