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Bulletin of the History of Medicine 74.2 (2000) 422-424

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Book Notes

Axel Hinrich Murken and Bernhard Bösing. Medicina in nummis: Die Heilkunde im Spiegel der Medallion. Studien zur Medizin-, Kunst- und Literaturgeschichte, no. 35. Herzogenrath, Germany: Verlag Murken-Altrogge, 1996. 189 pp. Ill. DM 36.00 (paperbound). [End Page 422]

This small book catalogs more than three hundred coins and medallions displaying medical themes; the subjects span the centuries from Huang-ti (2600 b.c.e.) to Hugo Erich Maurer (1912-94). The medals are categorized by topic (e.g., "Physicians and Healers," "Depictions of Illness and Representations of Struggle against Disease"). Each catalog listing identifies the subject (e.g., "Clement Arkadievich Timir Yazev, 1843-1920, Russian biologist, discoverer of photosynthesis") and the medal ("coin, Russia, 1 ruble, silver, 30 mm, 1993"), and describes the scene on each side. The book also includes an introductory essay by Murken, and chapters by Bösing ("Der Medailleur Peter-Götz Güttler und seine Aachener Medaille") and Peter Rong ("Medaillen und Plaketten der Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen. Eine Übersicht über die akademischen Medaillen Aachens von 1870 bis 1995"). A bibliography concludes the book.

Alain Bosson. Histoire des médecins fribourgeois (1850-1900): Des premières anesthésies à l'apparition des rayons X. Aux sources du temps présent. Fribourg, Switzerland: Université de Fribourg, 1998. x + 225 pp. Ill. Sw. Fr. 38.00 (paperbound).

A total of 123 physicians practiced in the canton of Fribourg in the last half of the nineteenth century. Most were generalists. This book gives a picture of their professional development and practice, answering such questions as What sort of work did their fathers do? (information is available for twenty-nine subjects). What was the number of physicians per 10,000 inhabitants of Fribourg, Lucerne, and Switzerland in 1850, 1860, 1881, and 1901? How many patients were treated in 1874, month by month, by one "Dr. Lenthé"? Large sections are devoted to becoming a physician, the Fribourg physician's work, and the physician's relations with society and the state; a bibliography and name index complete the book.

David L. Lightner. Asylum, Prison, and Poorhouse: The Writings and Reform Work of Dorothea Dix in Illinois. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999. xi + 161 pp. Ill. $19.95, £17.96 (paperbound).

David Lightner weaves together primary source material and commentary to illuminate Dorothea Dix's ten-month crusade in Illinois, from May 1946 to March 1947. He reprints Dix's two memorials and eight newspaper articles with "a minimum of alteration" (p. xi), except for the insertion of endnotes. In a short "Note on Editorial Procedures," he warns the reader that some of the original newspaper articles were damaged, rendering them partially illegible. "Where [End Page 423] that was the case," he writes, "I have reconstructed a text that is as close as I can make it to Dix's, but a certain amount of guesswork was unavoidable" (p. xi). Nevertheless, he has made no "silent corrections," and in quoting manuscript materials he has enclosed all changes in brackets.

Lightner's analysis of Dix's writings incorporates portions of his previously published article "Ten Million Acres for the Insane: The Forgotten Collaboration of Dorothea L. Dix and William H. Bissell" (1996). The introductory chapter, "A Philanthropic Lady on an Errand of Mercy," is followed by chapters entitled "An Asylum for the Insane," "Prison Reform," "Jails and Poorhouses," and "Legacies." The volume also contains endnotes, a selected bibliography, and an index.