Special Collections in the Library

Finley Collection

Sir Moses Finley, who was Master from 1976 to 1982, left his personal Library to the College, and this is housed in a special room on the upper floor of the Study Centre. This collection covers many aspects of the philosophical, political and social organisation of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. It differs from the rest of the Library in that it is a major resource for research. Access to these books may be arranged through the Student Librarian.

Vesalius's "Fabrica" and Spigelius's "Opera"

In 1995 the College was given two remarkable medical books by Mr Geoffrey R Fisk.

Mr Fisk became a member of the College and studied for an M. Phil in Physical Anthropology when he and Mrs Fisk moved to Cambridge on his retirement from St. Bartholomew's Hospital London, where he had been a teacher on the orthopaedic graduate rotation and Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Princess Alexandra Hosptial, Harlow. Mr Fisk's major interest was the Hand and he has been president of the Society for Surgery of the Hand. Mr and Mrs Fisk have continued to play an active part in Darwin College life, attending the lectures of the annual Darwin series, College dinners and other College functions.

The first of the medical books is the "Fabrica" by Andreas Vesalius (1543) which has been described as the "most famous book on human anatomy ever printed and one of the most important". The woodcut illustrations, (the artist was probably Titian) are particularly famous for their technical excellence, the striking poses of the human models and the attractive Tuscan settings in which the models stand.

The second of the books is the "Opera" by Adrian Spigelius (1645). The plates mark a new epoch in anatomical illustration, being engraved on copper, in contrast to the woodcuts of the "Fabrica". This book also contains an early and important reprint of Harvey's description (1628) of the Circulation of the Blood.

The College is extremely fortunate in possessing first editions of two books that have played such a role in the development of science.

Other collections

The library also includes a collection of children' books, a section devoted to Darwin and Evolution, and a special section devoted to books written by members of the College. There are small collections of DVDs and choral music for use by college members.

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