With over 180 titles from the 18th through the mid-20th century, the Lena and Louis Hyman Collection in the History of Anesthesiology is a major source for the documentation of this relatively new medical specialty. Highlights include landmark works by Claude Bernard, Henry Bigelow, Johann Dieffenbach, and other important figures in the field. The Collection also holds such rare works as Nicolas Berend's pioneering report on chloroform deaths, Zur Chloroform-Casuistik (1850), and an early student thesis on anesthesia, Charles Delacour's De l'Analgesie, submitted to the Faculty of Medicine at Paris in 1850.
The Hyman Collection is particularly strong in materials relating to the dispute among William T.G. Morton, Horace Wells, Crawford Long, and Charles Jackson over claims to the discovery of ether anesthesia. Statements from all the participants or their partisans and a wealth of congressional reports regarding the dispute make the Collection an important historical source for the history of this tangled and contentious issue.
All Hyman Collection titles are included in CLIO, the library's online catalog, and an annotated title list can be accessed below. All items in the Hyman Collection are non-circulating and may only be used in the department's Geraldine McAlpin Webster Reading Room.
Dr. Allen I. Hyman, Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, donated the Lena and Louis Hyman Collection to Archives and Special Collections in October 1982 in memory of his parents. The collection continues to grow through generous donations by Dr. Hyman.