Artifacts from Historical Collections: Wooden Surgical Doll

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We don’t have a confirmed date for her, but are guessing she was made in the 1890s to early 1900s.  She is made of wood with metal “joints,” stands about 12 inches tall, and is a highlight of the many exhibits we host for students, complementing our many rare books on anatomy.  She is labelled to show the nerves radiating from the spinal column and into the limbs, and was most likely used for teaching—an extension of the wall charts which would have been commonly used during the period.  When the earthquake struck our region two years ago, she was the only item which fell over, fortunately unharmed.

For related information, check out our online exhibit, “Anatomy:  the Foundation of Medicine” at

-Written by Susan Yowell, Historical Collections Specialist