Skip to main content menu
Pharmacy boxes from the Wangensteen artifact collection.

A Shakespearean recipe for Witch’s Brew

As Halloween nears, staff at the Wangensteen Historical Library are finding inspiration from a Witch's Brew recipe written in Shakespeare's Macbeth, which included "eye of newt" as an ingredient. While gathering other ingredients to fill our cauldron, we quickly found that the eye of newt was not to be taken literally but in fact a common name for mustard seed. This was true for some of the other ingredients as well.


Rare books in the exhibit feature striking images of aquatic natural history, various technologies, and experiences of water and health. The exhibit is open September 11, 2017 through May 18, 2018 during regular library hours at the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, 568 Diehl Hall.

Unwrapping a new medical receipt book at the Wangensteen Historical Library

Receiving a new acquisition is like opening a much-anticipated present. Earlier this year, the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine purchased a French manuscript recipe book written in the 1770s. Watch as Curators Lois Hendrickson and Emily Beck - along with their colleague, French historian Margaret Carlyle - open the book for the first time and rediscover informative content and hidden treasures.
Preview of coloring page from a 1634 book by Ambroise Paré.

Go ahead – #ColorOurCollections

Sharpen your pencils and dig out your crayons! It’s time for the second annual #ColorOurCollections event. During February 6-10, the Wangensteen Historical Library will unveil one coloring page each day with an image from their rare book collection. Artists are encouraged to participate and to share their final artwork.
Health Sciences Libraries Year in Review 2016

Health Sciences Libraries 2016

The Health Sciences Libraries are celebrating 2016 with a look back the year's most-read news stories. It has been a memorable year, highlighted by chocolate bars, edible books, fabulous new spaces and services, research at the Minnesota State Fair, and innovation acceleration! Thank you for a great 2016 – filled with customized information solutions from the Health Sciences Libraries.
Medical Exchanges Exhibit

Medical Exchanges: Mapping the Human Body in Japan and China

Texts from the unique and richly illustrated history of early modern medical knowledge and healing in Japan and China are on view for the first time in a fascinating exhibition from the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine.
Carving from Aldrovandi by Emily Beck.

#PageFrights come to life in pumpkin carving image contest

For the past several years, Emily Beck - Ph.D. candidate in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine - has been carving history into a pumpkin. This year, we’re taking a new spin on Beck’s annual tradition as we open up the selection of the carved image to you! Cast your vote between now and Wednesday, October 26.

What a party!

The Bio-Medical Library welcomed over 200 visitors during its Open House last week. The event showcased the new services and spaces within the library. If you missed the event, here’s a photo journal of the celebrat
Edible book by Herzberg. Image credit Brandon Hackbarth.

The incredible, edible book

Watch Christopher Herzberg from the University of Minnesota's Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine as he makes a 100-percent edible book out of celery, lettuce, and green onions. Visit the Farmers Market on September 21 to see Herzberg make an edible book in-person.

Celebrating the National Parks Service Centennial

In honor of the National Park Service Centennial this month, we are highlighting images from Wild Animals of Glacier National Park, part of the Wangensteen Historical Library collection.
What was this used for? stage show.

Meet the Libraries at the State Fair

Join the Libraries at the State Fair where you can test your health information knowledge, identify weird — and frightening — medical instruments of the past, and get your very own coloring book featuring historical images from our collection. Plus much more!
Plaster casts

Tools of plastic surgery’s past

For plastic surgeons, a detailed pre-operative patient record is important for assessing post-operative results. Plaster casts have long been part of this process. This history is documented within the collections at the Wangensteen Historical Library, which include two plaster facial casts dated 1935.

‘The Midwives Book’ from 1671

The Midwives Book, by Jane Sharp, published in 1671, is discussed in this episode of Secrets of the Archives from the University of Minnesota Libraries. It's the first book written in English by a woman for other women, and it covers all stages of giving birth, including pregnancy, labor, child birth, infant care, and more.

Historical Recipes + Digital Collaborations Symposium

Join the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine on May 24, 2016 for a day-long symposium on historical recipes. From food and medicines to textile dyes and invisible ink, recipes permeate manuscript and print culture across the temporal scale. This symposium will bring together scholars from the Twin Cities community to discuss the diverse ways they use recipes in their work and encourage the development of new ideas about using recipes in public spaces, teaching, and scholarship.
Medical artifacts at the Wangensteen Historical Library. Photo credit: Mike Krivit.

Test your medical artifact knowledge

Test your knowledge of medicine’s past by taking the Artifact Pop Quiz developed by the University of Minnesota Foundation. The quiz features some of the 1,000+ artifacts from the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine.