Of Hearts and Minds

A pioneering work on the functioning of the human heart is, of course, William Harvey’s On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals [Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus], in which he famously observed in 1628:

. . . it is absolutely necessary to conclude that the blood in the animal body is impelled in a circle, and is in a state of ceaseless motion; that this is the act or function which the heart performs by means of its pulse; and that it is the sole and only end of the motion and contraction of the heart.”

— Chapter 14, “Conclusion of the Demonstration of Circulation” (translated by Robert Willis).

The device pictured here, a Cardiac Display Unit manufactured by Bobbitt Laboratories, was donated to the library in 1978 for use in demonstrating the flow of blood through the heart by means of flashing lights.

Anatomical models have long played a role in the teaching of human anatomy. Dr. Louis Thomas Jérôme Auzoux (1797-1880) designed and fabricated many such tools in the nineteenth century. As cultural, legal, and environmental concerns limited the efficacy of using cadavers for instruction, Auzoux pioneered the development of papier-mâché anatomical models, which were employed to represent the structures of humans, as well as animals and plants. For those interested in learning more, the Smithsonian Institution’s online exhibition, Artificial Anatomy: Papier-Mâché Anatomical Models, is highly recommended.

Palmer College of Chiropractic’s own Dr. Mabel Palmer authored the first anatomical text in chiropractic, Anatomy, published in 1918. The Library also has numerous works on cardiology, some of which can be browsed here.

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