January 23, 2012

The Secrets of the Medical Profession

One of the earliest pioneers in the history of medicine, Muhammad ibn Zakariya Al-Razi (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Rhazes or Rasis, 865–925 AD, 251–313 AH) was a Muslim Persian polymath, physician, and philosopher. He was born in the city of Rayy, near present-day Tehran, Iran, and spent most of his life between his birthplace and Baghdad, the capital city of the Abbasid caliphate. He taught medicine and was the chief physician in both cities. He made major and lasting contributions to the fields of medicine, music, philosophy, and alchemy and was the author of more than 200 books and treatises. The Secrets of the Medical Profession not only conveys a wealth of medical knowledge, but it also reflects Al-Razi’s own dedication to the profession and to human welfare in general. In the book, he makes available to the public the medical knowledge he acquired from reading the works of earlier physicians, including Hippocrates, as well as his own vast knowledge. He argued that the tendency among the physicians of his time to keep medical treatment secret would harm the spread of learning in general, and that it had turned medicine into a money-making profession, instead of a healing one.

Boundary Between Turkey and Armenia: As Determined by Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America

The disintegration of the Ottoman and Russian empires at the end of World War I gave birth to a number of new states. In May 1918, Eastern Armenia, formerly part of the Russian Empire, declared itself an independent republic. In April 1920, the victorious Allied Powers, dismantling the Ottoman Empire, directed that Western Armenia be attached to the new republic and appointed U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to arbitrate the boundary between Turkey (successor to the Ottoman Empire) and Armenia. In November 1920, Wilson set a boundary based on a variety of geographic, demographic, ethnic, and historical factors. This map, compiled under the direction of the U.S. Army by the Topographic Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey, shows Wilson’s award. However, the Treaty of Sevres that provided for an independent Armenia and recognized Wilson’s arbitration was never ratified. Turkish nationalists under Mustafa Kemal overthrew the Turkish monarchy, established a republic, and invaded Armenia, eventually forcing it to relinquish much of the territory that Wilson’s arbitration had awarded to the new country. Russian Bolshevik forces also invaded Armenia and incorporated what was left of the Armenian Republic into the new Soviet Union.

Treaty of Paris

This treaty, sent to Congress by the American negotiators John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay, formally ended the Revolutionary War. It was one of the most advantageous treaties ever negotiated for the United States. Two crucial provisions were British recognition of U.S. independence and the delineation of boundaries that would allow for American expansion westward to the Mississippi River. Two duplicate originals of the treaty exist in the American Original file of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. They are most easily distinguished from each other by the orientation of their seals, horizontal on one and vertical on the other.

A Plan of the Rosalij Compy. Estates, the Property of His Excelly. Charles O'Harra, the Honble. Leiut. Gov. Will. Stuart, James Clarke & Rob. & Phill.

France and Britain vied for control of Dominica for many years. In 1763, the British gained possession of the island. This detailed map shows British-owned estates and a plantation on the Atlantic side of the island. Details on the map include individual buildings and structures, roads, sections of the plantation identified by number, administrative divisions of the estates identified by letters, streams, pictorial representations of vegetation and relief, the coastline and coastal features, and a vignette of ships in the harbor. The map also includes a keyed legend listing the size of each section of the plantation and of each division of the estates. The inset panoramic view, "Rosalij", shows plantation houses, cultivated and cleared fields, a ship in the harbor off to the right, wooded hills in the background, and two small figures of a European and an African in the left foreground. The map is oriented with west at the top.

Declaration of Intention of Maria von Trapp

Maria von Trapp became a household name in the United States when her story was turned into the 1959 Broadway musical The Sound of Music. She and her family previously had immigrated to the United States from their native Austria following the takeover of the country by Nazi Germany. This Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen, submitted to the U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont, on January 21, 1944, sheds light on the real Maria von Trapp.

Declaration of Intention for Albert Einstein

In 1936, German-born physicist Albert Einstein filed this Declaration of Intention to become an American citizen. Following the Nazi takeover of political power in Germany in 1933 and the onset of persecution of the German Jews, Einstein renounced his German citizenship and immigrated to the United States to take the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. On the basis of this declaration, the man who had first proposed the theory of relativity in 1905 became a U.S. citizen in 1940.