Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Summer hours 2014

Just an FYI - our hours are changing for the summer:

Today! Wednesday June 25th: 8:30 am - 8:30 am
Thursday June 26th: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Friday June 27th: 8:30 am - noon (12:00)
Monday June 30th Closed (Presidential Holiday)
Tuesday July 1st Closed (Canada Day)

July 2nd - August 31st: Monday - Friday: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Monday August 4th Closed (Civic Holiday)

For more info go to:

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Vesalius at 500 Exhibit at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

This year, University of Toronto Libraries is celebrating the 500th birthday of Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564), considered father of modern anatomy due to the visual detail of his work De humanis corporis fabrica (1543). Below are some brief notes on Vesalius' life, also available on display at the Gerstein Science Information Centre. To learn more about his work, please visit the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Exhibit Vesalius at 500, running from 23 May to 29 August, 2014.

Early Years
Andreas Vesalius was born in Belgium in 1514, thus making 2014 his 500th year. He came from a family of physicians, including Peter his great-great grandfather; John his great-grandfather; Everard, his grandfather, who was a physician for the Duke of Burgundy and Emperor Maximilian I; his father, Andreas, who was an apothecary for Margaret of Austria and her nephew Emperor Charles V.
His strong family background in medicine created a learning environment for Andreas where he could acquaint himself with past science writers and current practices. Andreas was born to Andreas (Sr.) and Isabella Crabbe in 1514. (Vesalius, A., 1950)

University Years
Andreas started his university career at University of Louvain in 1528, studying Latin, Greek and Hebrew. He focused on medieval science writers. In 1533-1536 Andreas went on the medical school at the University of Paris. Anatomists of the time based their studies on Greek and Arabic schools. Galen of Pergamon was considered the basis of anatomy studies. At this time Andreas studied bones and text to learn about human anatomy. Andreas went back to U of Louvain in 1536 without graduating from medical school. Here he completed his bachelor.

Tenured Anatomy Scholar
Andreas’ next academic adventure led him to the University of Padua, Italy, where he received a Doctor of Medicine in 1537.  Shortly after he was appointed Professor of Surgery due to his skills in dissections. He published Tabulae Anatomicae in 1538, which were considered superior drawings of the vascular system; Institutiones (1538) and Venesection Letter (1539). In 1541 he contributed to a major work on Galen of Pergamon, Opera Galani

In 1543, he published De humanis corporis fabrica, from the publisher Johannes Oporinus (1507-1568). This is his major work and what he became famous for. He dedicated it to Emperor Charles V. 

Due to its detail of anatomical structures, it is considered to mark the beginning of modern scienceIt includes wood carvings which many believe were completed by Jan Van Calcar It depicts many innovative anatomy ideas and discoveries, including illustrating that men do not have one less rib than women! It contributed largely to the study of the vascular and circulatory systems, head and neck, brain and skull, etc.

Karger Publishing 2013
In 2013 Vesalius’ De humanis corporis fabrica was republished by Karger Publishing.


Baigrie, B. S. (1996). In Baigrie B. S. (Ed.), Picturing knowledge : Historical and philosophical problems concerning the use of art in science. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

O’Malley, C. D. (1964). Andreas Vesalius of Brussels, 1514-1564. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Vesalius, A. (1950). In O’Malley C. D., Saunders, John Bertrand de Cusance Morant. (Eds.), The illustrations from the works of Andreas Vesalius of Brussels : With annotations and translations : A discussion of the plates and their background, authorship and influence : And a biographical sketch of Vesalius. Cleveland: World Pub. Co.