Oskar Diethelm Library, Weill Cornell Medical College – Acquisition Announcement


The Oskar Diethelm Library, part of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, recently acquired a group of rare books notable for their importance to the history and development of French psychiatry and neurology. The group includes works by prominent psychiatrists and neurologists Joseph Babinski, Benjamin Ball and Valentin Magnan, among others. A complete list follows.
Babinski, Joseph. Grand et petit hypnotism, Paris, aux bureaux du progrès médical, 1889.

In this work, Babinski (1857-1932), a French neurologist of Polish descent, aims to defend the position of Jean-Martin Charcot and the Salpêtrière Hospital on hypnotism against the opinion of Hippolyte Bernheim and the Nancy School. According to WorldCat, a global catalog of library collections, there is only one other copy of this work available in the United States.

Ball, Benjamin. Du délire des persecutions ou maladie de Lasègue, Paris, Asselin et Houzeau, 1890.

Ball (1833-1893) studied medicine under Charcot and was an assistant of Charles Lasègue at the Salpêtrière Hospital. In this publication of conferences given to faculty, he describes the paranoid state in which a person believes they are being persecuted.

Brierre de Boismont, Alexandre. Considérations médico-légales sur l’interdiction des aliénés, Paris, chez J.-B. Baillière, 1830.

French psychiatrist, Alexandre Jacques François Brièrre de Boismont (1797-1881), analyzes the classification of mental illnesses in this text. The Oskar Diethelm Library holds many other works by this author. The only other copy of this work in the United States is at the National Library of Medicine.

Duchenne de Boulogne, Guillaume-Benjamin. Recherches sur les propriétés physiologiques et thérapeutiques de l’électricité de frottement, de l’électricité de contact et de l’électricité d’induction, Paris, Rignoux, 1851.

Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne (1806-1875) was a French neurologist who initiated pioneering studies on the electrical stimulation of muscles. He is credited as one of the developers of electro-physiology and electro-therapeutics. Jean-Martin Charcot was his student and was influenced by his discoveries. The only other copy of this work in the United States is at the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis.

Gras, François. L’aliénation mentale chez les prostituées Lyon, Imprimerie Mougin-Rusand, Waltener & Cie successeurs, s.d. (1901).

This work presents Dr. Gras’s observations on madness in prostitutes. He determined that it was most often caused by alcoholism or syphilis. According to WorldCat, this is the only extant copy of this work available in the United States.

Magnan, Valentin. Des hallucinations bilatérales de caractère différent suivant le côté affecté, Extrait des Archives de neurologie (n°18), (1883)

French psychiatrist Valentin Magnan (1835-1916) was an important figure in the classification of mental diseases. In this work he presents his observations on individuals with bilateral hallucinations. According to WorldCat, this is the only extant copy of this work available in the United States.

Parant, Armand Victor. Les délires de jalousie. Clinique (jalousie sénile-délires systématiques), médecine légale, Toulouse, Edouard Privat, 1901.

This thesis on jealous delusions was written by Armand Victor Parant (1876- ) for a degree in medicine from the University of Paris. Parant’s father was Victor Parant (1848-1924), French psychiatrist and Director of Medicine at Sante de Toulouse.



Marisa Shaari, MLIS

Special Collections Librarian, Oskar Diethelm Library

DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY

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