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The Smithcors Collection of Veterinary History was formed over a period of 35 years by J.F. Smithcors, DVM, PhD, who developed the first course in veterinary history (1955) to be taught at any school or college of veterinary medicine in the United States (Michigan State University). The author of three major works in the field of veterinary historyEvolution of the veterinary art, 1957; The American veterinary profession, 1963; and The veterinarian in America, 1625-1975, 1975, and more than 150 journal articles, papers, and book chaptershe is regarded by his peers as the "dean of American veterinary historians."
Smithcors began donating the collectionthen comprising some 1,200 printed books and pamphlets, as well as manuscripts and ephemera, dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuryto Washington State University in 1978. Three years later, in 1981, he established the Marty Smithcors Memorial Endowment in honor of his first wife, Marty, who died that same year. A portion of the income from the fund is used to support the collection.
The Veterinary History Collection at WSU now consists of almost 1,900 itemsmonographs, journals, pamphlets, manuscripts, archival records, and ephemera, more than 1,800 of which are described in this catalogand is growing. There are nine items from the sixteenth century described here, 22 from the seventeenth, 124 from the eighteenth, and more than 1,100 from the nineteenth century, including journals.
The great majority of the works are in English, published in Britain and the United States, but some of the more important foreign-language works are also present: early French and Italian works on the horseGrisone's Ordini di cavalcare, 1553 (660); La Fosse's monumental work on equine anatomy and disease, Cours d'hippiatrique, 1772 (868); Ruini's Anatomia del cavallo, 1707 (1255); Rusius's Opera de l'arte del malscalcio, 1543 (1264); three editions of Solleysel's Le parfait maréschal, 1682, 1702, 1711 (1351-1353), as well as the German Seuter's Ein vast schones und nutzliches Beuch, 1588 (1296).
As might be expected, British works are well represented, including a number of rarities. Andrew Snape's The anatomy of an horse, 1683, from the seventeenth century is present (1349), as is George Stubb's Herculean The anatomy of the horse from the eighteenth, 1766 (1400), "the first original work on equine anatomy after Ruini." The immensely popular works of Gervase Markham, also from the seventeenth century, are included (978-984), perhaps the most prominent being a copy of the scarce first edition of his Markhams maister-peece, 1610 (982), which eventually went through 21 editions.
One of the strengths of the collection at Washington State University, however, lies in the large number of American works present. Again, as might be expected, many of the early works were derivative. Two of the earliest American imprints in the collection, editions of The citizen and countryman's experienced farrier, 1764, 1797 (985, 986), in fact are based on Markhams maister-peece.
On the other hand, Paul Jewett's The New-England farrier (and variations thereof) is present in five editions1821, 1822, 1826, 1828, 1835 (809-813). As Smithcors notes in his annotation (809) the first edition of Jewett's work, published in the eighteenth century (1795), was perhaps the first work "native to the United States." Richard Mason's The gentleman's new pocket farrier (and variations thereof), present in nine nineteenth-century editions beginning with that of 1825 (992-1000), could be said to have carried on the new tradition established by Jewett.
While these early American works might impart a glimpse of the future and the distinctly national orientation the development of the collection would take, English imprints continue to hold their own with American throughout the early decades of the nineteenth century. It is not until after the middle of the century and more especially during the last quarter and into the twentieth centurywhen American veterinary medicine became less derivative, came to recognize and accept the importance of science and its application to medicine, and took on more of the standards associated with a professionthat the collection reflects a geographic shift in orientation quantitatively.
This geographic shift from the "Old World" to the "New" is perhaps best illustrated by the large number of works in the collection of the pioneering American George Dadd, some 30 in number (379-408), which appeared between 1850 and 1915. The publications of another American, James Law, appearing between 1876 and 1912, occupy 13 entries in the catalog. American works predominate in the twentieth century.
Chronologically the collection spans five centuries, from the sixteenth through the twentieth century. Because of the historical nature of the collection, with some few exceptions, works published after 1950 are not included. The current requirements of practicing veterinarians, as well as those of students, faculty, and researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine, are ably addressed by my colleague Vicki Croft and her staff in Washington State University's Veterinary Medicine/Pharmacy Library.
The collection, while historical in composition, is not meant to be principally of antiquarian interest. While serving to complement the current collection maintained by the Veterinary Medicine/Pharmacy Library, the Veterinary History Collection also supports research in contemporary and related fields. The large number of entries devoted to "Animal Welfare" in the main body of the catalog graphically illustrates these functions, as do the archival records of the Association for Women Veterinarians (Appendix A007), and those of the Delta Society, "an international educational, research and service resource on the relationships between people, animals, and the environment," whose records, unfortunately, were accessioned into the collection too late to be included in this catalog.
The contents of the catalog, both the main section and the appendix, are in an alphabetical author-title-subject arrangement. The index for the main body of the catalog is a subject index exclusively; that for the appendix, while predominantly a subject index, also contains proper names as authors. The cut-off date for inclusion in the catalog was December 1993. Subsequent additions to the collection may be accessed by means of the WSU Libraries' on-line catalog. Since the primary audience for the catalog was not expected to be collectors or bibliophiles, elaborate bibliographic descriptions have been forsaken in favor of brevity.
We are most grateful to J.F. Smithcors and his wife Ann, not only for his efforts in building the collection and donating it to Washington State University, but for their continuing interest and support in helping us develop it, and for their commitment, both intellectually and financially, to the preparation and publication of this catalog. To my colleagues in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (identified elsewhere by Smithcors in his Preface) who labored long and hard in assisting the Smithcors over a period of several years, a special note of thanks. Last, but certainly not least, I must also extend my genuine thanks and appreciation to Leo K. Bustad, Dean Emeritus of the College of Veterinary Medicine, for his early enthusiasm and encouragement in helping to make the Veterinary History Collection a reality at Washington State University.
John F. Guido, Head
Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections