Categories
HoS Advent Calendar 2016

Admissions Documents for Patient #144

On June 1, 1824, Patient #144 was admitted to the Friends’ Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason. She was 53, married, and had been suffering for a number of years. Her admission documents—the physician’s certificate that guaranteed she was insane and her application for admission—survive along with thousands […]

Categories
HoS Advent Calendar 2016

Byzantine Diagram of Planetary Aspects

A sixteenth-century copy of a Byzantine diagram showing the basic astrological configurations of the planets: “Table of the whole circle of the 12 zodiac signs and how it is divided into aspects.”[1] The table gives the degrees between the planets in each aspect, the symbol used to indicate that arrangement, and the distance in signs […]

Categories
HoS Advent Calendar 2016

Audubon’s Sciurus Niger

This image of two playful black squirrels comes from Haverford College Library’s copy of the massive “elephant folio” of John Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845). This copy was given to the college in 1846 by Daniel B. Smith, a local pharmacist (he had in 1821 helped establish the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy). […]

Categories
HoS Advent Calendar 2016

A Byzantine Diagram of the Cosmos

This diagram represents the geocentric cosmos, with the earth (γῆ) at the center, surrounded by spheres of the Moon (σελήν), Mercury (ἐρμῆς), Venus (ἀφροδίτη), the sun, Mars (ἄρης), Jupiter (ζεύς), and Saturn (κρόνος).[1] An incomplete ring for the signs of the zodiac encircles the planetary spheres—only the symbol for Aries was added. Finally, the names […]