Dr. and Mrs. Leslie L. Wilkes recently gave the Robert B. Greenblatt, MD Library three medical artifacts, several books, and other medically-related published texts. Dr. Wilkes graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1965 and practiced orthopedic surgery in Savannah.

The most prominent artifact is a below the knee prosthesis made of wood, circa 1880-1900. Dr. Wilkes first noticed the prosthesis in the early 1960s in a Morven, Georgia store. The proprietor of the store turned down several offers from Wilkes to purchase the prosthesis. However, the store owner said he would give Wilkes the prosthesis once he finished medical school. Shortly after Wilkes graduated from MCG, the proprietor gave him the prosthesis as promised.

The second artifact is a meniscus knife that was developed and personally used by Professor Walter Mercer of the University of Edinburgh in the early 1940s. Before the introduction of endoscopic surgery, the meniscus knife was one of the special instruments developed to remove the meniscus tissue from the knee. Wilkes received this meniscus knife from Mr. Jimmy Scott, a friend, who had studied and worked with Prof. Mercer at Edinburgh.

Wilkes acquired a Fowler & Wells phrenology bust while collecting rare medical books. This plaster of Paris bust is labeled with the various mental faculties as assumed to be located in the brain. Along with the bust, Wilkes donated the book The Practical Phrenologist by Orson S. Fowler published in 1869.

The Wilkes medical artifacts are on display in the Historical Collections and Archives Room (AB-225) along with the rare books Dr. and Mrs. Wilkes have gifted to the Greenblatt Library in the past four years, including William Hunter’s Gravid Uterus. More information about the Wilkes Collection can be found in this finding aid for the collection.

For more information, please contact Renée Sharrock at rsharrock@augusta.edu or 706-721-3444.