The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library


Teaching and Learning Anatomy:  A 500 Year History


Primary sources

Aikens, Charlotte A. Primary Studies for Nurses: A Textbook for First Year Pupil Nurses, Containing Courses of Studies in Anatomy, Physiology, Hygiene, Bacteriology, Therapeutics and Materia Medica, Dietetics and Invalid Cookery. London: W.B. Saunders Company, 1923.          

Albinus, Bernhard Siegfried. Bernardi Siegfried Albini Tabulae Sceleti Et Musculorum Corporis Humani. Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Johannem & Hermannum Verbeek, 1747.

Annual Announcements of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, Located in Philadelphia, at no. 229 Arch Street, 1850-1867.  Records of W/MCP Publications 1850-present (ACC-076).  The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA.

Bailey, James Blake. The Diary of a Resurrectionist 1811-1812, to Which Are Added an Account of the Resurrection Men in London and a Short History of the Passing of the Anatomy Act. London: S. Sonnenschein & Lim., 1896.

Baillie, Matthew and Thomas Spencer. The Morbid Anatomy of Some of the Most Important Parts of the Human Body. Albany: Printed by Barber and Southwick for Thomas Spencer, Bookseller…, 1795.

Bonet, Théophile. Sepulchretum: Sive, Anatomia Practica, Ex Cadaveribus Morbo Denatis, Proponens Historias Et Obervationes Omnium Pene Humani Corporis Effectuum…Tomus Primus... Genevae: Sumptibus Leonardi Chouët, 1679.

Brunschwig, Hieronymus. The Noble Experyence of the Vertuous Handy Warke of Surgeri… London: In Southwarke by Petrus Treueris, 1525.

Carpi, Jacopo Berengario da, Bernardino Partenio, and Benedetto Faelli. Isagogae Breues, Perlucidae Ac Uberrimae, in Anatomiam Humani Corporis a Communi Medicorum Academia Usistatam. Impressum & Nouiter Reuissum Bononie: Per Benedictus Hectoris Bibliopolam Bononiensem, 1523.

Cheselden, William, Gerard Van Der Gucht, and Shinevoet. Osteographia, or The Anatomy of the Bones. London: W. Bowyer? for the Author, 1733.

Colombo, Matteo Realdo. Realdi Colombi De Re Anatomica Libri XV. Venetiis: ex typographica Nicolai Beuilacquae, 1559.

dei Luzzi, Mondino and Guido de Vigevano. Anatomia Mundini. Venetiis: In officina D. Bernardini, 1538.

Eustachi, Bartolomeo. Tabulae anatomicae.  Romae: Ex officina typographica Francisci Gonzagae, 1714.

Flexner, Abraham, and Daniel Berkely Updike. Medical Education in the United States and Canada: A Report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 576 Fifth Avenue, New York City: Publisher Not Identified, 1910.

Genga, Bernandino. Anatomia Chirurgica, Cioè Istoria Anatomica Dell’ossa, e Muscoli del Corpo Umano con la Descrizzione De’vasi, Che Scorrono er le Parti Esterne, & in Particolare per Gl’articoli, & un Breve Trattato dell Circolozione del Sangue. Bologna: Il Longhi, [1686].

Gersdorff, Hans von. Feldbuch der Wundtartzney. Strassburg: Durch Joannem Schott, 1517.

Gray, Henry. Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical. London: J.W. Parker, 1858.

Harvey, William. Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus. Lugduni Batavorum: Apud Johannem van Kerckhem, 1736.

Hinsdale, Guy. Anomalies found in the Anatomical rooms of the University of Pennsylvania 1879-1881. TS, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The History of the London Burkers Containing a Faithful and Authentic Account of the Horrid Acts of the Noted Resurrectionists Bishop, Williams, May, etc., etc., and Their Trial and Condemnation at the Old Bailey for the Wilful Murder of Carlo Ferrari, with the Criminals’ Confessions After Trial: Including also the Life, Character, and Behaviour of the Atrocious Eliza Ross, the Murderer of Mrs. Walsh, etc., etc. London: T. Kelly, 1832.

Hunter, William. Anatomia Uteri Human Gravidi Tabulis Illustrata. Birminghamiae: John Baskerville, 1774.

Ketham, Johannes de. Fasciculus Medicinae. Venice: Joannes and Gregorius de Gregoriis, de Forlivio, 1495.

Laennec, R.T.H. A treatise on the diseases of the chest in which they are described according to their diagnosis established on a new principle by means of acoustic instruments ... Philadelphia: J. Webster, 1823.

Maclise, Joseph. Surgical Anatomy. Philadelphia: Blanchard and Lea, 1851.

Morgagni, Giambattista. The Seats and Causes of Diseases, Investigated by Anatomy Containing a Great Variety of Dissections and Accompanied with Remarks. Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1824.

Ruysch, Frederik. Thesaurus Anatomicus Primus [-Sextus]. Amstelaedami: Apud Joannem Wolters, 1701- 1705.

Valverde de Amusco, Juan. Anatomia del Corpo Humano. Roma: Per Ant. Salamanca, et Antonio Lafrerj., 1560.

Vesalius, Andreas. De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septum. Basilae: Ex officina Joannis Oporini, 1543.

Woodall, John. The Surgeons Mate, or Military & Domestic Surgery. London: Printed by John Legate for Nicolas Bourne, 1655.

Secondary sources 


Cazort, Mimi, Monique Kornell, and K. B. Roberts. The Ingenious Machine of Nature: Four Centuries of Art and Anatomy. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1996.

Choulant, Ludwig and Mortimer Frank. History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration. Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1920.

Cooke, Robin A. “A Moulage Museum is Not Just a Museum.” Virchows Archiv 457, no. 5 (2010): 513-520.

Duffin, Jacalyn. History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction. Second edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

Foucault, Michel. The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception. New York:  Pantheon Books, 1973.

Gonzalez-Crussi, F. A Short History of Medicine. New York: Modern Library, 2007.

Le Fanu, James. The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine. London: Little, Brown, and Company, 1999.

Lindemann, Mary. Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Persaud, T.V.N. A History of Anatomy: The Post-Vesalian Era. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas, 1997.

Quigley, Christine. Dissection on Display: Cadavers, Anatomists, and Public Spectacle. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2012.

Rifkin, Benjamin A., and Michael J. Ackerman. Human Anatomy: {from the Renaissance to the Digital age}. New York: Abrams, 2006.

Roberts, K.B., and J.D.W. Tomlinson. The Fabric of the Body: European Traditions of Anatomical Illustrations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

Sappol, Michael. Dream Anatomy. Bethesda: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, 2006.

Ancient and Medieval Medicine

Lind, L.R. Studies in Pre-Vesalian Anatomy: Biography, Translations, Documents. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1975.

Siraisi, Nancy G. Medieval & Early Renaissance Medicine: an Introduction to Knowledge and Practice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1990.


Cunningham, Andrew. “Vesalius and Anatomical Resistance.” In Health, Disease, and Society in Europe 1500-1800, 68-75. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

Elmer, Peter and Ole Peter Grell. “Attending a Public Dissection by Vesalius, Bologna, 1540” from Andreas Vesalius’ First Public Anatomy at Bologna, 1540, an Eyewitness Report by Baldasar Heseler Medicinae Scolaris in Health, Disease, and Society in Europe 1500-1800. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.

Fara, Patricia. “Versions of Vesalius.” Endeavour 35, no. 1 (2011): 5-6.

Vesalius, Andreas, Daniel H. Garrison and Malcolm H. Hast. The Fabric of the Human Body: an Annotated Translation of the 1543 and 1555 Editions. Basel: Karger, 2014.

Late Renaissance & Early Modern Anatomy

Boyle, Marjorie O’rourke. “William Harvey’s Anatomy Book and Literary Culture.” Medical History, 52, no. 1 (2008): 73-91.

Cook, Harold. “The New Philosophy and Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England.” In Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution, edited by David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Cregan, Kate. “Teaching the Anatomical Body in Seventeenth-Century London.”  Medicine Studies, 2, no. 1 (2010): 21-36.  

Cunningham, Andrew. “Fabricius and the ‘Aristotle Project’ at Padua.” In The Medical Renaissance of the Sixteenth Century, edited by A. Wear, R.K. French and I.M. Lonie, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

French, Roger. Dissection and Vivisection in the European Renaissance. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1999.

Guerrini, Anita. “Experiments, Causation, and the Uses of Vivisection in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century.” Journal of the History of Biology, 46, no. 2 (2012): 227-254.

Klestinec, Cynthia. Theaters of Anatomy: Students, Teachers, and Traditions of Dissection in Renaissance Venice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Meli, Domenico Bertolini. Mechanism, Experiment, Disease: Marcello Malpighi and Seventeenth-Century Anatomy.  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Observation, Experience & Representation

Bell, Whitfield J. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia: A Bicentennial History. Canton, MA: Science History Publications, U.S.A., 1987.

Berkowitz, Carin. “Systems of Display: the Making of Anatomical Knowledge in Enlightenment Britain.” The British Journal for the History of Science, 46, no. 3 (2012): 359-387.

Corner, George Washington. Two Centuries of Medicine: A History of the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1965.

Shoja, Mohammadali M., R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Ghaffar Shokouhi, and Mohammad R. Ardalan. "Marie-François Xavier Bichat (1771–1802) and His Contributions to the Foundations of Pathological Anatomy and Modern Medicine." Annals of Anatomy - Anatomischer Anzeiger 190, no. 5 (2008): 413-20.

Physiology, Pathology & the Development of Medical Schools

Duffin, Jacalyn. To See with a Better Eye: A Life of R.T.H. Laennec. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Forbes, William Smith. History of the Anatomy-Act of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Medical Pubishing Company, 1898.

Maulitz, Russell. Morbid Appearances: The Anatomy of Pathology in the Early Nineteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Nesi, Gabriella, Raffaella Santi, and Gian Luigi Taddei. “Art and the Teaching of Pathological Anatomy at the University of Florence Since the Nineteenth Century.” Virchows Archiv 455, no. 1 (2009): 15-19.

Pearce, J.M.S. “Henry Gray’s Anatomy.” Clinical Anatomy 22, no. 3 (2009): 291-295.

Quinonez, Guillermo, and William W. McLendon. "The Beginnings of Pathology in America." Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine 135 (December 2011): 1591- 1596.

Saint-Maur, Paul P. de. "The Birth of the Clinicopathological Method in France: The Rise of Morbid Anatomy in France during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century." Virchows Archiv 460, no. 1 (2011): 109-17.

Sappol, Michael. A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in Nineteenth-century America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2002.

Challenging the Status Quo

Abram, Ruth J. Send Us a Lady Physician: Women Doctors in America, 1835-1920. New York: Norton, 1985.

Angetter, Daniela C. "Anatomical Science at University of Vienna 1938-1945." Lancet 355 (2000): 1445-57.

Hildebrandt, Sabine. "How the Pernkopf Controversy Facilitated a Historical and Ethical Analysis of the Anatomical Sciences in Austria and Germany: A Recommendation for the Continued Use of the Pernkopf Atlas." Clinical Anatomy 19 (2006): 91-100.

Kelly, Laura. "Anatomy Dissections and Student Experience at Irish Universities, 1900s–1960s." Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42, no. 4 (2011): 467-474.

Haller, John S. American Medicine in Transition, 1840-1910. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981.

More, Ellen Singer. Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999.

More, Ellen Singer, Elizabeth Fee, and Manon Parry. Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.

Peitzman, Steven J. A New and Untried Course: Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850-1998. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2000.

Riggs, G. “What Should We Do About Eduard Pernkopf’s Atlas?” Academic Medicine 73, no. 4 (1998): 360-386.

Shaffer, Kitt. “Teaching Anatomy in the Digital World.” The New England Journal of Medicine 135 no. 13 (2004): 1279-1281.

Warner, John Harley, and James M. Edmondson. Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine, 1880-1930. New York: Blast Books, 2009.

Returning to Galen:  Body Surrogates in the Classroom

Benninger, Brion. “Google Glass, Ultrasound and Palpation: The Anatomy Teacher of the Future?” Clinical Anatomy 28 (2015): 152-55.

Benninger, Brion, Nik Matsler, and Taylor Delamarter. "Classic Versus Millennial Medical Lab Anatomy." Clinical Anatomy 27 (2014): 988-93.

Blum, T., V. Kleeberger, C. Bichlmeier, and N. Navab. "Mirracle: An Augmented Reality Magic Mirror System for Anatomy Education." 2012 IEEE Virtual Reality (VR), 2012, 115-16.

Brenton, Harry, Juan Hernandez, et al. “Using Multimedia and Web3D to Enhance Anatomy Teaching.” Computer and Education, 49 (2007): 32-53.

Chien, Chien-Huan, Chien-Hsu Chen, and Tay-Sheng Jeng. “An Interactive Augmented Reality System for Learning Anatomy Structure.” Paper presented at the Interactive Augmented Reality System for Learning Anatomy Structure, Hong Kong, China, March 17-19, 2010.

Douglas, C., and R. Glover. “Plastination: Preservation Technology Enhances Biology Teaching.” The American Biology Teacher 65 (2003): 503-10.

Fruhstorfer, B.H., J. Palmer, S. Brydges, and P.H. Abrahams. “The Use of Plastinated Prosections for Teaching Anatomy - The View of Medical Students on the Value of This Learning Resource.” Clinical Anatomy 24 (2011): 246-52.

Hildebrandt, Sabine. "Lessons to Be Learned from the History of Anatomical Teaching in the United States: The Example of the University of Michigan." Anatomical Sciences Education 3 (2010): 202-12.

Hoffman, D. S., N. May, T. Thomsen, M. Holec, K.H. Andersen, and M.A. Pizzimenti. “Medical Students Using Plastinated Prosections as a Sole Learning Tool Perform Equally Well on Identification Exams as Compared to Those Performing Dissections Over the Same Regions.” The FASEB Journal 24 (2010).

Lempp, Heidi K. "Perceptions of Dissection by Students in One Medical School: Beyond Learning about Anatomy. A Qualitative Study." Medical Education 39 (2005): 318-25.

Marom, Assaf, and Ricardo Tarrasch. "On Behalf of Tradition: An Analysis of Medical Student and Physician Beliefs on How Anatomy Should Be Taught." Clinical Anatomy  28 (2015): 980-84.

Nicholson, Daren T., Colin Chalk, W. Funnell, J. Robert, and Sam J. Daniel. “Can Virtual Reality Improve Anatomy Education? A Randomized Controlled Study of a Computer-Generated Three-Dimensional Anatomical Ear Model.” Medical Education 40 (2006): 1081-87.

Smith, Claire F., Concepción Martinez-Alvarez, and Stephen McHanwell. “The Context of Learning Anatomy: Does It Make a Difference?” Journal of Anatomy, 224 no.3 (2014): 270-278.

Smith Claire F. and Haydn Socrates Mathias. “What Impact Does Learning Anatomy Have on Clinical Practice?” Clinical Anatomy, 24 no.1 (2011): 113-119.

TechRepublic. “Digital Cadavers: How Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Can Change Anatomy Class.” Accessed August 15, 2016.

Turney, B.W. "Anatomy in a Modern Medical Curriculum." The Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 89 (2007): 104-07.