The Afterlife of the Leiden Anatomical Collections starts where most stories end: after death. It tells the story of thousands of body parts kept in bottles and boxes in nineteenth-century Leiden – a story featuring a struggling medical student, more than one disappointed anatomist, a monstrous child, and a glorious past. Hieke Huistra blends historical analysis, morbid anecdotes, and humour to show how anatomical preparations moved into the hands of students and researchers, and out of the reach of lay audiences. In the process, she reveals what a centuries-old collection can teach us about the future fate of the biobanks we build today.
Table of Contents
1. Remove Lid Before Use: How Students Handled Anatomical Preparations
2. Make Do and Mend: How Researchers Used Old Collections in New Medicine
3. Dead Body in the Closet: How Lay Visitors Disappeared from Institutional Anatomical Collections
4. Adieu Albinus: How the University Governors Lost Their Status Symbol
Conclusion: In Perpetual Motion: Anatomical Collections Then and Now
Hieke Huistra is an assistant professor in the history of science and medicine at Utrecht University.