Many great works from the history of science and medicine came to the Lilly Library as part of the original gift from Josiah Kirby Lilly Jr.
As a third-generation heir and leader of Eli Lilly & Co., Lilly collected numerous important works about medicine and science, including De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Vesalius (1643) and William Harvey’s De Motu Cordis (1628), a description of blood circulation.
Also among the collections are first and early editions of Hippocrates, Malpighi, Pare, Hunger, Jenner, Laennec and Bigelow, as well as scientific landmarks such as original editions of works by Pliny, Euclid, Copernicus, Kepler, Napier, Galileo, Boyle, Newton, Ampere, Pasteur, Faraday and Curie, among others.
The library holds the first printing of Fracastoro’s poem on syphilis (1530); Ramazzini on occupational diseases (1700) and Talgiacozzi on plastic surgery (1597); Withering’s discussion of the medical uses of digitalis in An Account of the Foxglove (1785); and Jenner’s Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae (1798).
The collection has grown over the years, thanks to gifts of Dr. Edgar F. Kiser’s medical collection, and the papers of Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Hermann J. Muller, biologist Tracy M. Sonneborn and mathematician Vaclav Hlavaty.