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National Library of Medicine
National Library of Medicine, Reading Room
Bethesda, Maryland
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The exhibition includes NLM's copy of The Nuremberg Chronicle, the largest incunable in its collection, measuring nearly 20 inches in height. The Chronicle is a history of the world beginning with the Garden of Eden and extending to the medieval period; it was written by the physician Hartmann Schedel and printed in 1493. It is known for its beautiful woodcuts depicting panoramas of famous cities, portraits of famous rulers and thinkers, and important historical events. Illustrators include the noted Renaissance artists Albrecht Dürer and Michael Wolgemut. Also on display is the Library's hand-colored copy of the Gart der Gesundheit (Mainz, 1485), or "Garden of Health," the first herbal printed in a vernacular language (German), rather than Latin or Greek. As with many early herbals, the author and artist are unknown, but its printer was Peter Schoeffer, who assisted as an apprentice in composing the type for the Gutenberg Bible some thirty years earlier. Other works in the exhibition include a uniquely held copy of Anianus' Computus cum Commento (Lyon, 1492), a manual for calculating the dates of Lent and Easter using the hands as a mnemonic device, and a copy of Hieronymus Brünschwig's Liber Pestilentialis de Venenis Epidimie, printed in Strassbourg in 1500.