Browse Exhibits (1 total)

Samuel Simms collection of medical texts

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Special Collections and Archives at Queen's University Belfast holds a wide array of early medical works and medical history. Many of these are nestled within the Samuel Simms Collection. These works were collected by Dr. Samuel Simms (1896-1967), medical doctor, bibliophile, and local historian.

Through this unique collection one can examine the science of medicine and come to understand Gawande's conception of medicine and medical discovery as disorderly, untidy, sometimes unknowable, esoteric, often in flux, and constantly challenging old ideas, assumptions and treatments:  

“We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and ... lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do." Atul Gawande, Complications: A surgeon's notes on an imperfect science (London, Profile, 2002) p.7.

For the first time, this digital exhibition brings together material from the Simms collection across different fields of learning within the wider umbrella of medicine e.g. surgery, anatomy, physiology, pharmacy, gynaecology, toxicology and psychiatry, to name but a few. 

This exhibition will be of interest to a range of researchers, including those investigating medicine and history, as well as though with a keen interest in book history and lovers of book collections. It is the hope that this exhibition will bring the distinctive Simms collection of medical publications to wider audience and to publicise this unique and impressive resource. 


All text, web development, and design for this exhibition by Dr. Michael O'Connor.

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