William Hunter’s Library: Auctions and Americana

University of Glasgow Library

Blog post by Ellie King, MSc Museum Studies Placement Student, William Hunter’s Library: A Transcription of the Early Catalogues. Ellie worked on the Hunter Library Project from May to July 2017 to help with background research and book history enquiries, and also assisted in work with sale catalogues to determine where Hunter acquired his books. She has curated in advance a small display based on her work which will be exhibited from January – April 2018 to mark the start of Hunter’s Tercentenary year.

William Hunter is famous for his medical work, but the catalogues of his book collection show the wide range of his interests. Today the spotlight is on Americana — descriptions of the New World.

Travelogues and descriptions of exotic, faraway places comprise a significant part of Hunter’s library, and cover both the Old World and the New. His Americana books are rich accounts of voyages to…

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William Hunter’s Library: who were the Trustees?

University of Glasgow Library

Hunter’s relationship with his brother and fellow anatomist John was famously strained so it is not surprising that John was not a trustee for Hunter’s estate. Hunter’s nephew, Matthew Baillie, along with Hunter’s business partner William Cruikshank, were the main beneficiaries in Hunter’s will with Hunter leaving them the use of his collections and library at Great Windmill Street for thirty years . At the end of that time, Hunter’s vast collections and books were to come to Glasgow. Three London-based physicians acted as Trustees for Hunter’s legacy.

MR3_p414Museum Records 3, f. 414: Matthew Baillie and Hunter’s Trustees’ signatures confirming it as an accurate record of Hunter’s printed books

The final leaves of Museum Records 3 – the Trustees Catalogue of Hunter’s Library – give details about Baillie’s potential use of the books as part of his uncle’s plan that he should take over his anatomy lecturing business. The…

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Curiosity, Empire and Science in Eighteenth-Century France Class Trip

Great to see the Hunterian study centre at Kelvin Hall in full use.

St Andrews School of History

hunterian1.jpg Maggie Reilly (Zoology Curator) explains some of the taxonomic challenges faced by the Hunterian’s curators. Photo attrib. Sarah Easterby-Smith, CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0

Blog written by Jamie Hinrichs, PhD student

On 8 March, Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith’s undergraduate module ‘Curiosity, Empire and Science in Eighteenth-Century France’ travelled to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow. Additional members of this expedition included a visiting lecturer from the School of Art History and a few postgraduate students – of which I was one. Although the holdings of the museum were unlikely to relate to my PhD thesis topic, and although I was lacking contextual knowledge of the eighteenth century and notions of “empire”, what historian-in-training could resist an invitation to a museum? Furthermore, what human being could resist an invitation to spend a day in a museum with Dr Easterby-Smith? I certainly could not.

The Hunterian is Scotland’s oldest public museum, founded in 1807. It was built…

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University of Glasgow Library

A collection of papers relating to Hannah Frank, the Glasgow-born Artist, Sculptor and Arts graduate of the University of Glasgow is held by the University’s Archives and Special Collections. Recently, I had the opportunity to examine the papers which relate to Frank’s time as a student, which includes some of her university lecture notes (DC 51/1-12), course work (DC 51/13-17) and letters from Gilbert Highet (DC 51/18), editor of the University’s Magazine from 1929-1930 (when many of her illustrations were published).

graduation Photograph of Hannah Frank’s graduation from the University of Glasgow

Hannah Frank had several poems and drawings published in the Glasgow University Magazine (GUM), all of which appeared under her pseudonym Al Aaraaf, after the Edgar Allen Poe poem of the same name. It is these distinctive black and white illustrations, which have been likened to the work of the Mackintosh sisters, Jessie M. King, Aubrey Beardsley and the Art…

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Hannah Frank: From Ideas to Illustrations


William Hunter’s Library: the Gs

University of Glasgow Library

One name dominates Hunter’s library catalogue in the ‘G’ section of William Hunter’s library: Galen.

Claudius Galen (AD 129-216) was a Greek physician who served the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, and Severus. His more than 500 medical treatises shaped medical training and practice for centuries. His most important discovery was that the arteries carry blood, not air. Galen’s name appears as author in the ‘G’ section of Hunter’s library in 76 of the 410 entries. His works and commentaries on them are also found throughout the whole of MR 3.

Hunter offered his assessment of Galen in the survey of the history of anatomy in the first lecture he gave to his students:

For those times his writings must be allowed to be excellent. What he principally wanted, to be truly respectable with regard to the more obvious parts of Anatomy, was, opportunities of dissecting human bodies:…

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Student life in days gone by: top 5 weird facts

Fascinating gems of our story!

University of Glasgow Library

Guest blog by Melissa Conroy, an M.Sc Museum Studies student on placement in Archives and Special Collections. Melissa has created a digital exhibition of images of student life in the past, which is now live on the exhibition screens to the left of the level 2 foyer as you enter the Library.

During my placement with Archives and Special Collections (ASC), I developed a digital exhibition on lives of students in the past at the University of Glasgow. In order to do that, I spent months researching in ASC, looking at anything related to the University. As you can imagine, I saw some incredible things, and learned some fascinating and even strange stories about the University and the students who have studied here. Here are my top five unusual facts I learned during my research:

1. Gilmorehill was almost a cemetery rather than the site for the University

The University has…

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An Egyptian Tomb in Aberdeen!

So cool – this has sparked lots of ideas (I wonder if we could afford it?)

University of Aberdeen Museums

An exciting new project has allowed some of the University’s Egyptian archaeology collection to be put on virtual display.

Artefacts fadeA collaboration between the University Museums and Mercury 92, a company that specialises in corporate design and communication who wanted to pilot their ZynQ 360  visualisation software with a museum collection. As with most museums, less than 5% of the University’s museum collections are ever on display at one time and many areas such as the museum stores have restricted access. We are therefore always keen to consider new and interesting ways to increase access to the collections.

The Mercury 92 team visited the Museum Collections Centre at Marischal College to carry out a photogrammetricsurvey of 14 objects. To do this, they took between 25 and 80 images of each object in order, which the software then re-assembled to create photo-realistic 3D models of each artefact.

Unknown-13d Reconstruction2

Once the artefacts were…

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