Library displays history of veterinary medicine at WSU

Collection contains about 1,900 items from 16th, 20th centuries



WSU Animal Health Sciences Librarian Suzanne Fricke discusses the many art pieces from the recently introduced WSU Veterinary History Collection being displayed throughout the WSU library Tuesday in Wegner Hall.

HANNAH WELZBACKER, Evergreen reporter

A portion of the WSU Veterinary History Collection is on display from now through summer session at the Animal Health Library in Wegner Hall, Room 170.

Suzanne Fricke, WSU animal health sciences librarian, said Dr. J Frederick Smithcors started the collection in 1978. The collection contains almost 1,900 books, journals, manuscripts and illustrations dating from the 16th to the 20th century, she said.

“Because it is locked away in archives and it is not visible to the institution,” Fricke said, “getting out allows it to receive recognition.”

Smithcors acquired the collection during the 1950s when he taught the first veterinary history course at Michigan State University. He was invited to speak in Pullman by the WSU dean of veterinary medicine at and soon after he began donating pieces of his collection, according to an article from WSU Insider.

Fricke said the majority of the collection features horses because of the time period and the origins of veterinary medicine. However, she said her favorite pieces shown in the library are the few on cats.

Fricke said the collection is stored within WSU Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC).

Julie King, MASC rare book cataloger, said there were over 65,000 rare books and other printed items stored in total within MASC as of 2014.

King, along with Special Collections Librarian Greg Matthews and Doug Lambeth, digital projects production coordinator, helped create the display in the Animal Health Library.

Students can visit the Animal Health Library Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The display is part of the biannual “Art in the Library” program.