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Infectious Diseases at the Worth Library:

An exhibition of early modern medical texts at the Edward Worth Library, Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin

Edward Worth (1678-1733), an early eighteenth-century Dublin physician, left his library to Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin and it remains there to this day. A connoisseur collector of books, Worth’s own professional medical interests form a major part of the collection. To mark the 300th anniversary of the School of Medicine in Trinity College, Dublin, the Worth Library web exhibition for the year 2011 is on the theme of infectious diseases. Worth collected a host of works on some of the most important early modern diseases: Plague, Smallpox, Syphilis, Tuberculosis and Fevers. Worth’s medical collection comprises roughly a third of the overall collection of 4,500 volumes and many of his compilation texts include sections on specific diseases. The focus here is on texts specifically devoted to individual early modern diseases and what they tell us about sixteenth-, seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century views on theories of contagion, causes of disease, symptoms of individual diseases and early modern treatment options. This web exhibition, curated by the Librarian of the Edward Worth Library, Dr. Elizabethanne Boran, with assistance from Dr Eoghan Mooney, Trustee of the Library, celebrates Edward Worth’s fascinating collection of medical works on infectious diseases, some of which will be on display in the Worth Library. It is the second in a series of websites exploring the holdings of the Library. For further details please contact our website:

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