Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Health Sciences > 146. Gaspare Tagliacozzi

146.  Gaspare Tagliacozzi (1545-1599).  De curtorum chirurgia per insitionem. Venice: Gaspare Bindoni the Younger, 1597. Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library, Archives & Special Collections, Jerome P. Webster Library of Plastic Surgery

Tagliacozzi, professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna, published De curtorum chirurgia to instruct surgeons on all they needed to know about reconstructing noses and ears. It is the first published work on plastic surgery. The work's twenty-two plates depict every step of the process of rhinoplasty and are among the best-known illustrations in the history of medicine. Shown here is the patient, immobilized in a vest of Tagliacozzi's devising, waiting for the skin graft taken from the arm to adhere to the nose. The process was supposed to take two to three weeks.

De curtorum is the centerpiece of the great library on the history of plastic surgery assembled by Dr. Jerome P. Webster (1888-1974), professor of surgery at Columbia and first director of the division of plastic surgery at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Webster Library holds seven copies of the first edition of this work as well as two copies of the extremely rare pirated version printed in the same year.

Bequest of Jerome P. Webster, M.D., 1974

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