The history of medicine is one we like to forget. Who wants to imagine the leeches used for bloodletting or recall the many lives lost to diseases now curable? But it wasn’t all bad. A new collection of never-before-displayed items, available for perusing on the Web site of the Royal College of Phsyicians, captures the innovation and quirks of medicine through time. There’s a 13th-century remedy list belonging to Petrus Hispanus, the only physician to become a Pope; notes on foods the young diabetic Alan Nabarro would be allowed to eat at his bar mitzvah; and, dating back to 1823, the first edition of The Lancet, the same medical journal that warned of the coronavirus’s threat long before anyone cared to listen. —J.V.
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