Michigan State University

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Robert Coles Papers

Photo of Robert Coles

Robert Coles, the eminent child psychiatrist and author of over 80 books, has donated his papers to Special Collections. The Robert Coles Papers consists of working drafts and manuscripts of Coles' books, articles, and essays, and over 90,000 pages of correspondences spanning five decades. In addition to many other awards, Coles is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor; and the Pulitzer Prize for his five volume "Children of Crisis" series. Coles also donated the literary and business files of DoubleTake, an award winning magazine of documentary photography, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

Shadows from the Walls of Death

A page with sample of Paris green paint (arsenic)

The only known copy of Shadows from the walls of death; facts and inferences prefacing a book of specimens of arsenical wall papers (Lansing, 1874) by Professor Robert C. Kedzie, a physician turned chemistry professor who for many years taught at Michigan Agricultural College is held in Special Collections. Appointed to the first State Board of Health for Michigan, Kedzie wrote of the deaths that resulted from wall paper tinted with arsenic (Paris green). The color gradually dusted off the walls, and one who lived in the house so papered might absorb enough to cause death. Kedzie cut up 80 rolls of wall paper containing the deadly arsenic-green and produced 100 copies for distribution to state libraries along with his scientific conclusions. Before long the use of arsenic to produce the greens in wall paper disappeared.

The copy in Special Collections has been conserved and the wall paper specimens encapsulated to protect staff and patrons.

Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection

Proportions Geometrales du Cheval

“Proportions Geometrales du Cheval,” is an illustration from  Elemens d’Hippiatrique,  Claude Bourgelat’s seminal book on equine medicine. In 1761, Bourgelat founded the world’s first school of veterinary medicine in Lyons, France. The Veterinary Medicine Historical Collection in Special Collections is one of the finest collections of early veterinary medicine in the world. The collection features over 1,400 manuscripts and books covering the arts and practices of the veterinary profession beginning in the 15th century.

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