ATG Quirkies: Fake Miracle Cures

by | Sep 7, 2020 | 0 comments

Jessica Leigh Hester, a staff writer at Atlas Obscura reports on a new exhibit at the Newberry library touching on the history of guaiacum treatments.

DAVID J. STANG / CC BY-SA 4.0

Why an exhibit focused on treatments drawn from the wood of a guaiacum tree? Well, it seems that such treatments were touted as a wonder cure for the Renaissance scourge of syphilis.

Needless to say, there is a lot more to this fascinating story. Ms. Hester smartly relates the history reflected in the exhibit, including brief interviews with Lia Markey, who is the Newberry library’s director of the Center for Renaissance Studies, and Suzanne Karr Schmidt, curator of rare books and manuscripts.  Ms. Markey and Ms. Karr Schmidt are the co-curators of the exhibition, Renaissance Invention: Stradanus’s “Nova Reperta, on view at the library through November 25, 2020.

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