Just what makes something rare? While medical books or letters or instruments may be intrinsically interesting, offer historical insight, or fascinate simply by virtue of their age or scarcity, these items all acquire an added luster when we know where they came from and who owned them, used them, or even just touched them. This added dimension, or association value, can transform even the most mundane item into an object of unparalleled rarity and distinction.
The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine houses one of the world’s largest collections of books, manuscripts, prints and photographs, artwork, artifacts, and museum specimens documenting the history of medicine from the Middle Ages to the present day. This exhibit, Gilt by Association, commemorates the drama and richness of medical history and allows the public a glimpse of extraordinary treasures associated with some of the most renowned figures and events in medicine. From Presidents in the White House to the Czars of Russia in the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, Gilt by Association celebrates 800 years of milestones in the history of medicine through the rich and varied collections at the Countway Library of Medicine.
Gilt by Association was an exhibit curated by Jack Eckert for display in Countway Library in 2003. The online version of the exhibit was created by UNC Library Intern Julie Seifert in July 2013.