Judge This Book By Its Cover

Friday, April 10, 2015

The cover is stained, the binding is broken, and the edges are burnt from use at a laboratory bench. Practical Pathology by Sir German Sims Woodhead, 3rd ed., 1892, belonged in the library of the original Hygienic Laboratory, which became the NIH in 1930. Although it has seen hard use in its 123 years, this book is now in the NIH Stetten Museum collection and begins a month showcasing some of our recent accessions.

Woodhead was a pathology professor at Cambridge University, England; president of the Royal Medical Society and the Royal Microscopical Society; and first editor of the Journal of Pathology.

The book predates the career of the person whose name is written inside its cover, Henry M. Loomis, M.D., who left it behind at the Hygienic Laboratory when he became the National Director of Inspections, National Canners Association in Washington, D.C., in 1920.

Loomis had worked at the Hygienic Laboratory on the adulteration of linseed oil and developed several tests for the detection of mineral oils. He also worked on food coloring. In 1941, Loomis was head of the Food & Nutrition Service of the American Public Health Association. By 1945, he had joined the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's Committee on Mental Retardation as deputy commissioner in the Office of Education.

Visit the Tumblr page of the NIH Office of History and Stetten Museum during the month of April for more recently catalogued NIH artifacts.

Category: Science

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