PULLMAN, Wash.–The WSU Press has released A new book, “Five Centuries of Veterinary Medicine: A Short-title Catalog of the Washington State University Veterinary History Collection,” compiled by J. Fred Smithcors and Ann Smithcors of Santa Barbara, California.
The Veterinary History Collection in the WSU Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections is comprised of nearly 1,900 books, journals, manuscripts, fine illustrations, and other rare documents that illuminate the history and practice of veterinary medicine over the past 500 years.
The core of the collection was acquired by J. Fred Smithcors during the 1950s when he taught a pioneering veterinary history course at Michigan State University. The majority of the items in the collection were published in Britain and the United States, and date from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Other items date from as far back as the 16th century, and a number are from France, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere.
In the collection are notable early French and Italian works on the horse, such as LaFosse’s well-known work on equine anatomy and disease, “Cours d’hippiatrique” (1772). British rarities such as Andrew Snape’s “The Anatomy of an Horse” (1683), and American works as “The Citizen and Countryman’s Experienced Farrier” (1764), are also included.
Designed to increase the accessibility and usefulness of the “WSU Veterinary History Collection, “Five Centuries of Veterinary Medicine” provides brief annotations of the content and/or relative merit of each work. The catalog’s index lists some 400 subjects of interest to those delving into the early literature. The appendix, which is separately indexed, is devoted to non-book materials in the collection, including unpublished manuscripts, diplomas, registers, graphic materials, and other ephemera.
J. Fred Smithcors (DVM, Ph.D.) and Ann Smithcors (RN) donated more than 1,200 items making up the core of the collection in the late 1970s, not long after a disastrous canyon fire threatened their home in Santa Barbara. Leo Bustad, then dean of veterinary medicine at WSU, invited Fred Smithcors to speak at the WSU veterinary school, and soon after that, the Smithcors began to donate pieces of their collection to WSU.
He is the author of three major works in the field of veterinary history, including “Evolution of the Veterinary Art” (1957), “The American Veterinary Profession” (1963); and “The Veterinarian in America, 1625-1975” (1975), as well as more than 150 journal articles, papers, and book chapters. He is considered by many to be the “dean of American veterinary historians.”
The new 160-page reference book is available in paperback for $19.95 or clothbound for $36. Information is available from Washington State University Press,
800/ 354-7360.

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Editors: For more information, please contact WSU Press at 509/335-3518.
Dr. Fred Smithcors and Ann Smithcors can be reached directly at 805/682-5268.