May 24, 2022

National Library of Medicine Makes Digitized Version of Rare Veterinary Book Available via Turn the Pages

From NLM:

The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, announces the release of a new Turning the Pages virtual book on its Web site, via iPad App, and in kiosks onsite at the NLM.  The new project features selections from The Anatomy of an Horse, by Andrew Snape, farrier to King Charles II of England and a self-described member of a dynasty of royal farriers stretching back over two centuries.

Printed in London in 1683, The Anatomy of an Horse is one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated books about horses published in seventeenth-century Britain. It contains numerous engravings of horses, mainly on the dissecting table, including the digestive system, heart, brain, musculature and the skeleton. Turning the Pages features a selection of these images curated by NLM staff.

Farriers were generally blacksmiths whose primary duty was making shoes for horses and applying them to the animals’ feet, but they often took on other tasks in horse care as well, including treating illnesses such as the glanders (a common equine sinus infection), the botts (a parasite), or lameness. They also applied surgical remedies for horses such as purgatives and bloodletting.  Farriers were usually illiterate tradespeople who learned their craft through an apprenticeship and “practiced” in the military’s cavalry, on a gentleman’s estate, or in a village or town.  Until the prevalence of the automobile, horses were some of the most important animals to humans, providing transportation, battle power, and heft. Horses were often the most valuable possession of a middle class family, and were considered a powerful symbol of prestige among the wealthy, nobility, and gentry.

Launched at the NLM in 2001, Turning the Pages is part of an ongoing collaboration between research engineers at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications and curators and historians at the NLM’s History of Medicine Division, to help make its rare and unique history of medicine materials widely available to the public.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.