From Historical Collections and Archives (HCA):

As a child, did you have a View-Master®? If so, you are familiar with stereoscopy or stereoscopic photography. Stereoscopic photographs are produced by photographing the same object at slightly different angles. When the pair of two-dimensional photographs (called stereograms) are viewed side-by-side using a special device, such as a stereopticon or a stereoscope, the image has an illusion of depth.

The history of stereoscopy goes as far back as the 1830s with Sir Charles Wheatstone, an English scientist. By the 1850s, stereoscopes and stereoscopic photographs were a popular source of fascination. The American physician and essayist, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., increased the popularity of stereoscopy with his invention of the hand-held stereoscope.

By the early 1900s, stereoscopy was used for educational purposes, including geography, history, and even agriculture and the industrial arts. By producing the third dimension, stereograms gave an appearance of reality. The educational purpose extended to medicine and anatomy. Stereoscopic photographs were taken of anatomical specimens and published in books by use of cards containing the stereograms and the didactic information regarding the image. The Historical Collections and Archives has four sets of multi-volume stereoscopic anatomy books, as listed below:

  • Simpson, G., Burnet, D., & Stanton A. Friedberg, M.D. (1900). The Edinburgh stereoscopic atlas of obstetrics. New York: Imperial Pub., 373 Fourth Ave.
  • The Edinburgh stereoscopic atlas of anatomy. (1906). Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack.
  • Kelly, H. (1908). Stereo-clinic. Troy, N.Y.: Southworth.
  • Oatman, E. (1926). Diagnostics of the fundus oculi. Troy, N.Y.: Southworth.

Currently, select stereograms from these books and the two stereoscopes held in the HCA are on view in the 2nd floor exhibit cabinet at the Greenblatt Library.

Angiopathic albuminuric retinitis from Oatman’s “Diagnostics of the Fundus Oculi”

– Renée A. Sharrock, Curator

From the Special Collections & Institutional Archives:

At Reese Library, our rare books are located in the Reese Room, on the second floor. As I was looking for inspiration for this post, I came across a number of books focused on etiquette and thought it would be fun to take a closer look.

The book that I investigated is titled The laws of etiquette: or, Short rules and reflections for conduct in society, and is authored by “a gentleman.” This 1836 pocket-sized edition, for easy use on the go, was published in Philadelphia and is available in only 10 other libraries around the world. With sections on Good Breeding, Fashion, Dress, Salutations, Presentation, Visits, Appointments and Punctuality, Letters, the Drawing Room, the Entrance into Society, Dinner, Dances, Funerals, Servants, Travelling, Americanism, Presents, and Miscellaneous, this little volume provides the aspiring 19th century gentlemen with a nearly comprehensive guide to appropriate etiquette.



As the middle class grew through increased industrialism and the still relatively new American class system, which was much less strict than those in Britain or Europe, etiquette books like this one were published in great numbers, to meet the demand of the new middle class, and those who came from “new money.”

While some of the guidance provided in this volume might still ring true to a modern reader as basic common sense or politeness, some have by now gone to the wayside. For example, the chapter on visits opens by reminding the reader of the structured break down of different types of visits: “of visits there are various kinds: visits of congratulation, visits of condolence, visits of ceremony, visits of friendship. To each belong different customs.” The idea that each genre of a visit would have a different set of customs is likely to strike a modern western reader as a pretty foreign concept.

It’s also worth noting that different etiquette books were published for men than for women, as each gender had an entirely separate set of rules to adhere to, due to the fact that much of 19th century etiquette acted as a formalization of enforcing certain societal expectations and definitions of masculinity and femininity. The Reese Library also has a few books on etiquette aimed towards women, and it would be interesting to compare the two.

The Reese Room’s rare book collection is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered! To learn more or request to visit the rare book collection in the Reese Room, email Special Collections.

-Kara Flynn, Special Collections Librarian

About the Heritage Unit: The University Libraries has a department devoted to the preservation and archival keeping of the campus’ unique histories. The Historical  Collections & Archives (HCA) is located on the 2nd floor of the Greenblatt Library on the  Health Sciences campus. Special Collections & Institutional Archives is located on the 3rd floor of the Reese Library on the Summerville campus.

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