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Dissertations and Theses

Cover of Dissertation on GoutThe culmination of an advanced degree is usually a document describing and proving an original contribution to scholarship. Today’s scholars typically put their Dissertations or Theses online, such as the ones available at DigitalCommons@ The Texas Medical Center
No electronic publishing for the 17th century student! Students at Basel Switzerland were among some of the earliest scholars who had their theses printed. And just as it is today the thesis had to be presented and a defense given to the faculty and other students.
Johannes Pfretzschner completed his medical degree with a thesis on podagra, gout (in Latin of course.) A loose translation of the first two sentences describes gout as “a pain in the foot joints arising from flowing humors (liquids) and re-occurring at close intervals. It may be the remains of arthritis and is like a small hammer on or fire-dart in the big toe.” Ouch! The symptoms of gout are the same today, but the “flowing humors” are a bit more defined.
The Burbank Collection houses rare Gout, Arthritis and Rheumatism books. Recently two theses from 1609 by Pfetzschner and Lorenz Leuchter and were cataloged and are now available for use. These theses were part of Nobel Laureate Dr. Philip S. Hench’s collection and were donated to the library by his son.
Items in the McGovern Historical Collection are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog .This and other historical medical books are available Monday-Thursday, 8:00-5:00 in the John P. McGovern Historical Collection located on the 2nd floor of the HAM-TMC Library.