By Janice Gunther Martin
The Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection at Michigan State University contains bountiful resources for anyone interested in the history of equine medicine, along with veterinary medicine in general. The collection includes over 1,400 manuscripts and books, dating as far back as the fifteenth century, making it one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States.
Equine-related works are especially well-represented in the Collection. It mainly focuses on books published or written before 1800, with particular strength in eighteenth-century British texts. Highlights include:
- A fifteenth-century manuscript of Giordano Ruffo’s Libro marischalcie equorum;
- The only known first edition of Francisco de la Reyna’s Libro de albeyteria (1547);
- The first illustrated edition of Marcus Fugger’s Von der Gestüterey (1584), on horse breeding.
You can see more examples from the collection in their online exhibit “The History of Equine Anatomy in Veterinary Medicine.”
The Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection is housed in MSU’s Special Collections, recently renovated and in the main library on campus. A partial catalogue of the Collection is available online, also available in PDF form; for all holdings, see the MSU Library Catalogue. It is possible to register and request works to examine before your visit. They are open nearly every day of the week during the academic year.
For more information:
Michigan State Special Collections, East Lansing, MI