Historical Veterinary Research Collection

The Historical Veterinary Research Collection at the Medical Sciences Library dates back to the establishment of the library as a branch library in the School of Veterinary Medicine (as it was known then) in 1949 in a corner room of the Veterinary Medical Hospital (now the Civil Engineering Building).  Some of the late 19th and early 20th century books currently in the collection were owned by the early veterinary faculty: Mark Francis, Hubert Schmidt, and Ross Marstellar.  According to a 1962 article in Southwestern Veterinarian, the library owned at least two books from the 17th century: the 1684 The Compleat horse-man and expert ferrier, by Thomas de Grey and the 1603 Trattato di mescalzia, by Filippo Scaccho da Tagliocozzo.

The library owns a number of veterinary and medical realia, or artifacts, the oldest of which is a buttress (used for trimming hooves) from the 17th century.  One of the unique items is a life-like painted and articulated papier-mâché model of a horse’s hoof and lower leg manufactured by the French firm Auzoux in 1857.

About the Collection

  • Languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Dakota, Polish, Japanese
  • Dates: 15th – 20th Century
  • Materials: Published books and journals, advertising materials (booklets, broadsides, trade cards), manuscripts, prints, posters, realia (veterinary & human medical instruments, pottery, china, letterpress plates, uniforms, badges, flags & banners, human & animal military & civilian equipment, documents, photographs, postal materials)
  • Collecting scope: Veterinary medicine (broadly interpreted as including some animal husbandry, parasitology, zoology).  Collection includes human medicine, agriculture & some science, but these are not actively collected unless there is a zoonotic aspect.

Notable Works from the Early Periods

  • 1528: Artis Veterinariae, Sive Mulomidicinae, by the 5th century Roman Publius Vegetius Renatus, the first book published based on a Roman manuscript on veterinary medicine.
  • 1570: The Fower Chiefest Offices Belonging to Horsemanshippe, by Thomas Blundeville, one of the earliest books on horses published in England.
  • 1570: De Canibus Britannicis by John Caius, the first book devoted solely to dogs, their varieties, care, and use.
  • 1585: The Schoole of Horsmanship, by Christopher Clifford, another early work on horses published in England.

Notable Books with Engravings Include

  • 1683: The Anatomy of an Horse, by Andrew Snape, the earliest book in English on equine anatomy.
  • 1743: A General System of Horsemanship in All Its Branches by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, two volume folio edition.
  • 1772: of Cours d’Hippiatrique , by Philippe-Etienne Lafosse’s, folio edition with hand-colored plates.

Print Collections

  • Robert Thomson Leiper Helminthological Collection – Acquired in 2008 from CABI, this was Dr. Leiper’s personal research collection, covering helminths and other parasites from the early 19th to the mid 20th century.
  • John G.P. Wood Collection – Acquired in 2010 through the generosity of the Friends of the Sterling Evans Library and others. Mr. Wood, a retired British veterinarian has been an antiquarian book collector for decades.  This collection ranges from the 16th to the 20th century and could be considered a “One Health Collection” as the subjects include not only veterinary medicine, but agriculture, medicine, and public health.
  • Norman Comben Reference Collection – Acquired in 2011 from the late English veterinarian and veterinary antiquarian book collector and dealer, Norman Comben.  This collection, focused on veterinary medicine and agriculture, is primarily 19th and 20th century bibliographies, catalogs, and other books about books.
  • Niall Kenny Collection – Acquired over a period of several years from another British veterinarian and antiquarian book collector, the Kenny Collection consists works on and artifacts used in veterinary medicine from the 17th to the 19th century.
  • John Clewlow Collection – Acquired in 2016 from John Clewlow, BVSc, MPhil, MRCVS, retired British veterinarian and editor of Veterinary History. The Clewlow Collection consists of English imprints in veterinary medicine from the 16th – 19th centuries.

Realia Collections

  • John N. Case, Jr. Veterinary Corps Collection – This collection is one of a handful of major collections worldwide focused on the veterinary corps.  Containing over 2,600 items from over four dozen countries, from the Boer War to the Iraq War, the artifacts include documents, photographs, postcards, uniforms, badges and medals, veterinary medical equipment, animal handling and use equipment.
  • 19th century medical instrument collections: Dr. Thomas H. Dennis (donated by Dr. George Tipton) and Dr. John D. Everett (donated by Everett family)


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