The collection includes portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine dated from the 15th to 21st century.
Several subgroups within the database are interesting as separate entities. A collection of 6,000 wood engravings of prominent European physicians, purchased in Amsterdam in 1879, was the Library’s first graphic arts acquisition. There are illustrations from landmark medical treatises, such as Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica and William Harvey’s De motu cordis. Among the fine prints are several hundred caricatures on medical subjects by Daumier, Cruikshank, Rowlandson, and Boilly. There are patent medicine advertisements from the late 19th century and posters on contemporary issues, such as AIDS, smoking, and illicit drugs.
(Text and images from Images from the History of Medicine at the National Library of Medicine’s website.)