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Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections

Treasure of the Month

1972 Dedication of the Moody Medical Library

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Moody Medical Library building featuring photographs, a program, a rare book, and an article from its dedication ceremony in 1972.

Treasure of the Month display materials were purchased with funds provided by the South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) Speedy Startups Award (2022).

Louis Pasteur Collection

A few items from the Louis Pasteur Collection, over 200 items that either belonged to Pasteur or relate to his works. The display includes a handwritten letter, a publication of his very early work on crystals, and a publication of his later work on the rabies vaccine.

Love Letters from a First Year Medical Student

A collection of handwritten letters from 1926 UTMB School of Medicine graduate, Dr. Felix Butte. During his first year in medical school (1922-1923), Dr. Butte wrote 103 letters to his future wife, Miss Elizabeth Kirkpatrick.

Oldest Books in the Moody Medical Library

Three of the oldest books held in the Blocker Collections: Rosa Medicinae (1390s) John of Gaddesden; Liber Physiognomiae (c. 1490) Michael Scot; and, Liber Chronicarum (1493) Hartmann Schedel.

First Three Graduates of the School of Medicine

Photographs, signatures, and grades of the first three graduates of the School of Medicine class of 1892; Thomas Flavin, William Gammon, and Houston Guinn.

The Postcard Collection

The Blocker Collections holds over 5,200 postcards depicting a variety of medical buildings from all over the world.

Sawbones on a Sandbar

The script of a "fantastical historical musical" written by Professor of Pediatrics and Human Biochemistry and Genetics, Dr. Rose G. Schneider, about the history of UTMB. Sawbones on a Sandbar was performed by faculty in 1967 as part of UTMB's 75th anniversary festivities.

Andreas Vesalius

Two works by Andreas Vesalius: De Humani Corporis Fabrica and De Human Corporis Fabrica Librorum Epitome (1543).

John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses

An 1888 architectural drawing of the original John Sealy Hospital built in1890, the same year that the School of Nursing was established. Also displayed are materials from the UTMB School of Nursing Archives.

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) was one of four physicians to sign the Declaration of Independence. He is also considered the Father of American Psychiatry because of his many contributions to the field including Medical Inquiries and Observations, Upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812), the first published work in the United States of descriptions and treatments of psychiatric disorders. This work and others by Dr. Rush are displayed.

Magic or Medicine?

A display of five rare books about witchcraft from the 16th and 17th centuries. 

  • Malleus Maleficarum, Kramer & Sprenger (1511) 
  • De Praestigiis Daemonum Weyer (1577)
  • The Discoverie of Witchcraft Scot (1665)
  • Saducismus Triumphatus Glanvill (1681)
  • Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men Mather (1693)

CURRENT EXHIBIT Pharmacology Collections: the Study, Preparations, and Effects of Drugs

Recent Exhibits

Dr. Keiller, UTMB’s first professor of anatomy, used his art training to create over 200 oversized drawings of anatomical structures and relationships for use as teaching aids in his classroom.  At least 60 other UTMB students and faculty members also contributed drawings to what is called the Keiller Collection.  This collection of 2,540 drawings is among the largest of its kind in the nation.

An exhibit of materials from the archival collections of Dr. Charles A. Berry, Dr. William E. Thornton, and Dr. James G. Gaume was on display in 2019 to celebrate the end of a project which saw the digitization of over 7,500 photographs, documents, and film from these three collections.  The exhibit also served as a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing.

Dr. Charles Berry (1923-2020) was the first doctor to the astronauts and helped select the Mercury 7.  He also served as UTMB’s first director of the department of aerospace medicine.

Dr. William Thornton (1929-2021) was selected in the first class of scientist-astronauts in 1967 and flew on two shuttle missions.  He was a professor at UTMB in the 1990s and invented what students today refer to as “heart sounds.”

Dr. James Gaume (1915-1996) was the only civilian in the early US space program and developed the “first house on the moon” in the late 1950s.

The Bubonic Plague: From Justinian to Galveston

In the summer of 1920, Galveston fell victim to an outbreak of bubonic plague.  The Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History of Medicine Collections had on display photographs, notebooks, and other items from that outbreak.  Also displayed were rare books relating to the history of the Black Death from its first recorded appearance in 541CE through the discovery of the plague bacillus in 1894. 

The UTMB School of Medicine Alumni exhibit highlighted 16 graduates of UTMB between 1893 and 1959.

  1. Thomas Terrell Jackson (1868-1919) Class of 1893.
  2. Marie Delalondre Dietzel (1879-1958) Class of 1897. First female graduate of the School of Medicine.
  3. Marie Charlotte Schaefer (1847-1927) Class of 1900. First female faculty member of UTMB.
  4. Titus H. Harris (1892-1969) Class of 1919. First chair of the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry.
  5. Anna Bowie (1890-1980) Class of 1920. Pathologist during Galveston bubonic plague outbreak in 1920.
  6. Mitsuharu Hoshino (1897-1956) Class of 1920. First Japanese American graduate of the School of Medicine.
  7. Ho-Sheng Huang (1890-?) Class of 1920. First Chinese graduate of the School of Medicine.
  8. Daniel Saenz (1896-1983) Class of 1921. First Mexican American graduate of the School of Medicine.
  9. GWN Eggers (1896-1963) Class of 1923. First chair of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery.
  10. Edith Bonnet (1897-1982) Class of 1926. First female intern at John Sealy Hospital.
  11. Thomas Cronin (1906-1993) Class of 1932. Co-developer of the silicone breast implant.
  12. Truman G. Blocker, Jr. (1909-1984) Class of 1933. First to hold title of President of UTMB.
  13. William Levin (1917-2013) Class of 1941. First Chair of the Hematology Division; second President of UTMB.
  14. Herman A. Barnett (1926-1973) Class of 1953. First Black graduate of the School of Medicine.
  15. BB Trotter (1920-2017) Class of 1954. First editor of the Syndrome.
  16. H James Stuart (1930-2018) Class of 1959.