The Discovery of "Viviani's Library" in the Biomedical Library of the Florence University
Keywords:Vincenzo Viviani, Biomedical library of the university of Florence, Medical volumes, History of human thinking, Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova
AbstractVincenzo Viviani (1622-1703) Galileo’s “last disciple”, as he liked to define himself, bequeathed his library (two thousands books, some of which authored by Galileo) to the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Starting from 1771, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo reorganized the libraries of the State, dismembering also the library of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova: 1359 volumes out of 7963 were left in the hospital, 3709 books were conveyed to the Magliabechiana Library, and 2895 tomes were sold. With the passing of time, the memory of the medical section of Viviani’s library went lost. A careful examination of the archival sources allowed us to trace back the “missing” medical volumes in the holding of the Biomedical Library of the University of Florence. 113 books, corresponding to 96 titles, were identified; these volumes match the original list of Viviani’s books allocated to the library of Santa Maria Nuova. The content of this collection prove that, since the 17th century, a strong and structured dialogue between mathematical and medical sciences had been set up. Hence, the “rediscovery” of the medical section of Viviani’s library sheds light on a crucial chapter of the history of human thinking.
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