Classic Anatomical Text Digitized by Health Sciences Library

The Health Sciences Library’s copy of Paolo Mascagni’s Vasorum Lymphaticorum Corporis Humani Historia et Ichnographia [The Lymphatic Vessels of the Human Body: Research and Illustrations], a landmark work in the history of anatomy, has recently been digitized. It can be accessed through its catalog record in CLIO, the Columbia University Library’s online catalog, or directly in the Medical Heritage Library.

Published in 1787 in Siena, Mascagni’s Vasorum Lymphaticorum was the most complete and accurate description of the human lymphatic system up to that time.  Its 27 plates were drawn and engraved by Ciro Santi (fl. 1787) and are considered a landmark in the history of anatomic illustration.

The Health Sciences Library’s copy, while in relatively good condition, was still in need of repair: its boards had become detached, the spine was nearly completely missing, and there was minor soiling of the pages.   Conservators at the Butler Library’s Conservation Laboratory painstakingly rebuilt the spine, reattached the boards, and cleaned the pages. It was then sent to the Butler’s Digitization Laboratory, part of the Division of Preservation and Digital Conversion, to be digitized.  The volume is now freely available to anyone with internet access.

The preservation of our Mascagni was made possible by the Health Sciences Library’s Webster Endowment Fund, created by Columbia University professor of plastic surgery, Jerome P. Webster.

Above: Plate XXVII of  Mascagni's Vasorum Lymphaticorum Corporis Humani Historia et Ichnographia, 1787.