December 17, 2015

Eskind Biomedical Library home to Civil War medicine exhibit

A traveling exhibit, “Life and Limb: The Toll of the American Civil War,” will debut next week in the History of Medicine Room at the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library (EBL) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The exhibit, developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health, will run from Dec. 21 through Jan. 29, 2016, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Dec. 24 and 25, and Jan. 1.

The exhibit is presented in a series of panels detailing the experience of the soldiers and those caring for them on both sides of the conflict. The panels, with titles such as “The Horrors of War,” “Honorable Scars,” and “Sacrifices Forgotten,” include photographs taken during the war and of veterans afterward.

The introduction to the exhibit sets the tone: “More than 3 million soldiers fought in the war from 1861-1865. More than half a million died, and almost as many were wounded but survived. Hundreds of thousands were permanently disabled by battlefield injuries or surgery, which saved lives by sacrificing limbs. These men served as a symbol of the fractured nation and remained a stark reminder of the costs of the conflict for long after the war.”

The exhibit at EBL will also feature items from the Historical Collection at the library, as well as an 1866 artificial leg on loan from the Tennessee State Museum, said Christopher Ryland, associate director of the library.

More information about the exhibit is at and