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HIST 258: Plagues, Diseases, and Epidemics in History (HC)

History 258: Plagues, Diseases, and Epidemics in History (Hayton) Fall 2017

Primary Sources Collections

     Primary source texts dealing with medicine from the medieval and early modern periods are available in several formats.

1) There are online collections available.  Haverford has access to Early English Books Online (EEBO) (see below). Other primary source collections like Gallica from France's Bibliothèque national are open access on the Web.

2) Other sources are available in modern printed editions and translations.  Like these titles available in the tri-colleges: 

  Medieval English Medical Texts.   [Collection of texts on a CD-ROM amounting to half a million words, written 1350 to 1500 CE]
  Sex, Aging & Death in a Medieval Medical Compendium.  Edited by M. Teresa Tavormina  [Includes translations of ten medieval medical texts including ones about aging, fertility, longevity, women's health, plague, medical instruments, and the planets]

3) Anthologies provide another way to identify relevant primary sources.  Brief excerpts highlight a wide range of relevant texts.  See below for some selected titles.  

4)Facsimiles and copies on microfilm can be borrowed through E Z Borrow or interlibrary loan if they are not in Tripod.

Source Anthologies

Collections of primary texts in anthologies can be good for browsing. They touch on many different issues, often excerpting brief passages from full works that you can find in the tricolleges or through interlibrary loan.

Plague Scene

 A child and a monk fall victim to the plague as Pope Gregory I ( 590-604 CE) invokes God's aid.

From the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, an early 15th century prayerbook, fol. 71v  (Wikimedia Commons)

Rare Book Libraries

While some primary source books and other kinds of materials have been digitized, there are great numbers which exist only in print or manuscript, particularly when it comes to documents and records which are often in one unique copy.  Visiting a rare book library will give you access to additional source material, as you can readily see from the resources on Friends Hospital here in Haverford's Special Collection Library.

Use the databases below to search for primary source material in special collection libraries.

Image Sources