Collecting Pathology

Samuel J. M. M. Alberti

in Morbid Curiosities

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584581
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725159 | DOI:
Collecting Pathology

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Chapter 3 begins with the point of origin of the anatomical specimen, that is, the death and dissection of the ‘patient’. Thus fragmented, body parts followed complex paths—harvested from hospital wards, given to a prestigious institution, or once again fragmented at auction. Human remains acquired new meanings associated with collectors and practitioners as they were exchanged. We find here that the process of objectification, rendering the human body material culture, begins as a conceptual act even before the death of the patient. Each of the different modes of acquisition that brought objects into medical collections: gifts, auctions and other sales, exchanges, and, especially, the generation of preparations from the ‘raw material’ of patients in hospital wards are accounted for.

Keywords: fragments; body parts; collecting; objectification; gifts; auctions; identity; Astley Cooper

Chapter.  15773 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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