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American College of Surgeons

Hiram Winnett Orr, MD, Rare Book Collection

Hiram Winnett Orr, MD, c. 1918

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

Hiram Winnett Orr, MD

Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, 1910-1916

Born in 1877 in Pennsylvania, Hiram Winnett Orr, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1899. He practiced medicine and orthopedic surgery in Lincoln, Nebraska, from 1899 to 1956 and was instrumental in establishing the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital in 1905. Orr served as the hospital’s assistant surgeon and superintendent from 1906 to 1917 and chief surgeon from 1948 to 1956. During World War I, Orr was stationed with the Army Medical Department in England and France. During this time, he devised the “Orr Method” for treating bone and wound infections and compound fractures. He also developed techniques using skeletal pins, plaster of Paris, and other immobilizing devices. At his death in 1956, he was buried in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors.



The H. Winnett Orr, MD, Rare Book Collection

Over 2,600 books were amassed over 30 years of collecting.


Dr. Orr donated his collection to the American College of Surgeons in the 1930s. In 1974, it was transferred to the McGoogan Library on a permanent loan. The collection consists of works in three distinct categories: 

  • Healing Art - anatomy, physiology, medicine, military medicine, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, physical medicine and therapeutics, medical history, and organizations and institutions. 
  • Life and Literature - biographies, books on women, travel and exploration, general history, and literature.
  • General Reference - dictionaries, encyclopedias, periodicals, and transactions.


Dr. Orr was influenced by his University of Michigan Medical School classmate, Dr. Mary McKibbin-Harper. She was a prominent collector of books about literature, travel, and women’s history.




David Bishop, Leon S. McGoogan, MD, and Charles McLaughlin, MD, 1974

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

Director Bishop, Dr. McGoogan, and Dr. McLaughlin were involved in the transfer of the Orr Collection to UNMC’s library in 1974. This photo was taken in the Orr Collection’s new home, McGoogan Library’s Rare Book Rooms.


The American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) was established in Chicago in 1913 at the initiative of Franklin Martin, MD, FACS. ACS is a surgical society dedicated to promoting the highest standards of surgical care through education of, and advocacy for, its fellows and their patients, and to safeguarding standards of care in an optimal and ethical practice environment.



Books Currently on Display

The ideal woman, for maidens-wives-mothers, 1915

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

The ideal woman, for maidens-wives-mothers

Published 1915
Mary Ries Melendy
(1841 - 1927)

The representation of women in the medical field in past centuries is limited. As a result, history has lost some of the personal accounts of female physicians and other healthcare providers.


One example is that of Mary Ries Melendy. She graduated from the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, a homeopathic institute, and the Bennett Eclectic Medical College of Chicago.


Homeopathy espoused that “like cured like,” meaning that a substance causing symptoms in a healthy person could cure similar symptoms in a sick person. Eclectic medicine relied on the use of botanical remedies.


Melendy was also a student at the Rush Medical Clinic, Cook County Hospital, and lectured on diseases of women and children at the American Health University, a naturopathy school in Chicago. Naturopathy promotes the use of “natural,” “non-invasive,” or “self-healing” practices and remedies.

Did You Know?

  •     American educator Josephine Jewell Dodge was a leader in the creation of day care nurseries. She demonstrated her innovation at the 1893 Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair). 
  •     German-born physician Abraham Jacobi is considered the “Father of Modern Pediatrics.” He and other interested physicians founded the American Pediatric Society in 1888, which confirmed pediatrics as a separate medical field.
  •     German physician Samuel Hahnemann created the term “homeopathy” in the late 18th century. He also coined the term “allopathic medicine” which is still used today to describe mainstream medicine. Hahnemann used it as a pejorative term to refer to traditional Western medicine.



The workes of that famous chirurgion Ambrose Parey, 1634

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

The workes of that famous chirurgion Ambrose Parey Engravings of the Arteries

Published 1634
Ambroise Paré
(c. 1510–1590)


Ambroise Paré was a French barber surgeon who treated the wounded on battlefields and the French nobility. Paré apprenticed with a barber surgeon and then trained at the Paris hospital, Hôtel-Dieu. He joined the French military where he honed his skills in treating traumatic injuries.  


The standard treatment for gunshot wounds was cauterization with boiling oil. When Paré ran out of oil, he tried a concoction of egg yolk, rose oil, and turpentine. Paré discovered that the treatment did not cause inflammation, fevers, swelling, or pain. He vowed to discontinue using boiling oil and emphasized a treatment approach that prioritized patient comfort. Upon his return to France, he became Master Barber Surgeon to King Francis I and three subsequent monarchs. 

Did You Know?

  • In 1559, Ambroise Paré was summoned to the French royal court to advise on a treatment for King Henri II after a jousting accident. Paré and famous anatomist Andreas Vesalius conferred together on a treatment plan. Unfortunately, they ran out of time when the king succumbed 11 days after his accident.
  • Ambroise Paré is famous for perfecting blood vessel ligatures. A story is told that he ligatured his own superficial temporal artery to treat a migraine.
  • Ambroise Paré used knowledge accumulated from battlefield injuries, specifically head injuries, to write a book on neuroscience. In this book, Les Oeuvres (1575), Paré laid the groundwork for neuroscience, outlining contrecoup injuries and pooling fluids, and pairing specific brain injuries with specific symptoms.
  • In 2003, amateur astronomer Bernard Christophe named an asteroid he discovered after Ambroise Paré: asteroid 259344 Paré.



Armamentarium chirurgicum, 1656

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

Armamentarium chirurgicum

Surgical equipment

Published 1656
Johannes Scultetus


Johannes Scultetus was a graduate of the University of Padua (Padova), the city physician for the German city of Ulm, and a military surgeon. Illustrated by Scultetus, Armamentarium Chirugicum is a collection of surgical techniques, such as removing gunshots, reducing fractures and dislocations, amputations, and cancer surgery, including a mastectomy. He is famous for the Scultetus binder, also called the “many-tailed” binder, a bandaging technique that physicians initially used to hold abdominal hernias.  


In his book, he included surgical instruments with detailed descriptions. Interested surgeons would share the instrument descriptions with a metalworker, who would handmake each instrument. Scultetus included 100 case histories, which included the date, patient’s location, condition, operation, medication, its effect, and the patient’s progress. Scultetus did not live to see his book printed. His nephew published the book after his uncle’s death.

Did You Know?



Opera chirurgica: in pentateuchum, et operationes chirurgicas distincta, 1666

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

Opera chirurgica: in pentateuchum, et operationes chirurgicas distincta

Surgical operations: in the Pentateuch, and distinct surgical operations

Published 1666
Hieronymous Fabricius ab Aquapendente
(c. 1533–c. 1619)


Italian anatomist Hieronymous Fabricius ab Aquapendente attended the University of Padua (Padova), studying under Gabriele Falloppio, who gave his name to the Fallopian tube. Fabricius taught at the University of Padua for over 50 years. During his career, he associated with influential individuals in Italian politics, science, and anatomy.


As a teacher, Fabricius tutored William Harvey, who described the systemic circulation of blood. And as a physician, his patients included the de Medici family, Galileo Galilei, the Duke of Urbino, and the King of Poland.  


Fabricius established the first permanent anatomical dissection theater in the world. Built in 1594, anatomy instructors would use this dissection theater until the 19th century. Its design was an inspiration for theaters built across Europe. 

Did You Know?

  • Fabricius discovered a sac-like organ in birds responsible for producing immunogenic B-lymphocytes. It was named Bursa Fabricii in his honor.
  • Fabricius became a knight of the Order of St. Mark, an order of chivalry of the Republic of Venice. The order may have been formed as early as 787. It was dissolved in 1797 with the fall of the Republic of Venice.
  • Fabricius’s vertical incision technique for a tracheotomy was used by surgeon Marco Aurelio Severino during a diphtheria outbreak in Naples in 1610.



Collection Highlights

The American Woman’s Home, 1868

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

The American Woman’s Home

Published 1868
Catharine Esther Beecher


Catharine Esther Beecher was born September 6, 1800, in East Hampton, New York. Through girls’ schools, lectures, and published writing, Beecher worked to improve American women’s education and social influence. Coauthored with her sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, during the rapid changes of the post-American Civil War Reconstruction period, The American’s Woman’s Home represents the beginning of modern home economics. Beecher believed by classifying the care of the home and family as “Domestic Science,” women’s societal roles could be elevated. She advocated for wives and mothers to create a Christian sanctuary in the home through self-sacrifice, modesty, and frugality.


Beecher described how women should design and decorate their homes centered around gathering family together, function without servants, and offered advice on furnaces, ventilation, gardening, diet, hygiene, etiquette, women’s fashion, and child-rearing. A prolific writer, Beecher wrote on physical education and moral philosophy until her death in 1878.


Did You Know?

  • Beecher is considered the founder of home economics.
  • Beecher believed that women’s natural moral superiority and sympathy towards the less fortunate made them suited to implementing programs of social reform.
  • Beecher believed women should not receive the right to vote because they could better exert influence through their roles in the Christian home and neighborhood.
  • Beecher believed in materialist feminism and argued that woman’s economic and social control was in the sphere of domestic issues. Women were the ministers in Christian homes and the house was their tool. Women simply needed education and training on how to use this tool.
  • Beecher believed that making the household into an efficient economic system made slavery unnecessary—she believed slavery was created to fill domestic needs and was not based on racial differences.




Engravings of the Arteries, 1812

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

Engravings of the Arteries

Published 1812
Sir Charles Bell,


Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1774, Sir Charles Bell was a renowned physician credited with first describing a type of facial paralysis named for him—Bell’s Palsy. After receiving his medical degree in Scotland, Bell relocated to London, where he provided instruction in anatomy and surgery and volunteered to attend to the wounded after the Battle of Waterloo.  


As a child, Bell’s mother fostered his artistic talents and he studied with famed Scottish historical painter David Allan. Bell used his artistic talents to illustrate his brother John’s published works on anatomy. He also published The Anatomy of the Expression on Painting in 1806. Bell’s hand-colored set Engraving of the Arteries, a set of three engravings including the nerves and the brain, was published as a tool for students to study anatomy and better understand dissections.


Did You Know?

  • Bell and his brother, John, were barred from practicing and teaching in Scotland by jealous physicians. In 1804, they moved to London where they had a private practice and opened a school of anatomy.
  • Bell wrote the first treatise on the anatomy and physiology of facial expression for painters and illustrators, titled Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting (1806).
  • Bell was knighted by King William IV in 1831.
  • The University of Edinburgh Medical School was established in 1726, during the Scottish Enlightenment, making it the oldest medical school in the United Kingdom and one of the oldest medical schools in the English-speaking world.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world and traces its origins to 1505, when the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh were formally incorporated as a craft guild of Edinburgh.



Abrege de l'art des accouchements, 1777

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

Abrege de l'art des accouchements

Short Form of the Art of Childbirth

Published 1777
Angelique Marguerite le Boursier du Coudray   
(c. 1714-1794)


Born in France around 1714, Angelique du Coudray graduated from the College of Surgery in Paris and became an accredited midwife after a three-year apprenticeship. In an era when male surgeons attempted to crowd out female midwives, du Coudray signed petitions that successfully regained midwives’ right to attend surgery lectures and receive surgical and anatomical instruction at the University of Paris.


In the mid-1750s, she assumed the role as head midwife at the Hotel Dieu, a Paris hospital for the poor. In 1759, King Louis XV appointed du Coudray to the task of educating midwives in rural France. She traveled the countryside giving lectures for over 4,000 students and 500 male surgeons and physicians over the next 30 years. Abrege de l’Art Accounchements is a compilation of her lectures covering female reproductive anatomy, the process of reproduction, prenatal care, instructions on deliveries, and managing various obstetric problems.


Did You Know?



Chirurgia e Graeco in Latimun conversa, 1544

Courtesy of the H. Winnett Orr Collection, on loan from the American College of Surgeons

Chirurgia e Graeco in Latimun conversa

Surgery Translated into Latin from the Greek

Published 1544
Guido Guidi
(c. 1500-1569)


Guido Guidi was born around 1500 in Florence, Italy. After receiving his medical degree, he worked as a physician in Rome and Florence. In 1542, he traveled to Paris, where he served King Francis I as his physician and as chair of surgery at the College de France. After the death of Francis I, Guidi returned to Italy in 1547 and served as the personal physician to Cosmo de Medici and as professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Pisa. Chirurgia e Graeco in Latinum Conversa is the Latin translation of the writings of the Greek medical scholars Hippocrates, Galen, and Oribasius on topics such as wound care, bandaging, fractures, and dislocations. Guidi employed a craftsman, possibly Francois Jollat, to simulate the original Greek surgical images. Petrus Galerius of France was employed as the printer. 

Did You Know?

  • Guido Guidi’s latinized name was Vidus Vidius.
  • Located in the skull, both the “Vidian nerve" and the “Vidian artery" are named after Guidi.
  • King Francis I initiated the French Renaissance by attracting many Italian artists to work for him, including Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci brought the Mona Lisa with him, which Francis had acquired.
  • Under the reign of Francis I, France became the first country in Europe to establish formal relations with the Ottoman Empire and to set up instruction in the Arabic language, under the guidance of Guillaume Postel at the Collège de France.
  • Cosimo I de' Medici (1519-1574) was the second Duke of Florence from 1537 until 1569, when he became the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, a title he held until his death.