A little while back I discovered that an English translation of the dictionary of medical writers by Ibn Abi Usaibia might exist at the US National Library of Medicine, and I sent an enquiry. The enquiry was ignored; but my second enquiry got a response!
Firstly, apparently I can’t have a copy. The thing is typewritten, about 1,000 pages, and dates from 1971. So it might be in copyright, and that means that I am allowed to see if — if I travel across continents! — but am not allowed to have a copy. This is a novelty to me, as one used to getting copies of PhD theses, but the library staff are very insistent that not letting me have a copy is not equivalent to denying access. They’re not sure who is the copyright holder, either.
But I’ve now found out a bit more about the manuscript. It was on the online page all the time, but hidden under the “finding aids” menu at the top:
Finding Aid to the English translations of History of Physicians (4 v.) and The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician (2 v.) originally written by Ahmad ibn al-Q asim ibn Ab i Usaybi’ah, 1971
Archives and Modern Manuscripts Program, History of Medicine Division
Processed by HMD Staff
Processing Completed 2005
Encoded by Jim Labosier
Title: English translations of History of Physicians (4 v.) and The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician (2 v.) originally written by Ahmad ibn al-Q asim ibn Ab i Usaybi’ah
Creator: Ibn Ab i Usaybi’ah, Ahmad ibn al-Q asim, d. 1269 or 70
Extent: 0.84 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract: English translations of two 13th century Arabic medical treatises.
Call number: MS C 294
Language: Collection materials primarily in English.
Access Restrictions: Collection is not restricted. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access.
Copyright: NLM does not possess copyright to the collection. Contact the Reference Staff for details regarding rights.
Preferred Citation: Ibn Ab i Usaybi’ah, Ahmad ibn al-Q asim. English translations of History of Physicians (4 v.) and The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician (2 v.) originally written by Ahmad ibn al-Q asim ibn Ab i Usaybi’ah. 1971.
Located in: Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; MS C 294.
Collection Scope and Content Note
Contains English translations of Ibn Abi Asaybi Ah’s “History of Physicians” by Dr. L. Kopf and of “The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician” by Sussman Muntner and Fred Rosner.
Box | Folder Title
Series I: English Translations, 1971 [series]:
1.1″History of Physicians” – pp. 1-195, 1971
1.2″History of Physicians” – pp. 196 – 455, 1971
1.3″History of Physicians” – pp. 456 – 599, 1971
1.4″History of Physicians” – pp. 600 – 946, 1971
2.1″The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician” – vol. 1, 1971
2.2″The Book of Medicine of Asaph the Physician” – vol. 2, 1971
Now this is all very useful. My idea, faced with a refusal of access on copyright grounds, is to locate the copyright holder and get permission. The question is who this “Dr. L. Kopf” might be. I’ve enquired.
The authors of the other item appear in a Google search, as authors of articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Rosner appears “From the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn, N. Y.; and the History of Medicine Section, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.” Sussman Munter is also given as Suessman Munter, visiting professor of the History of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the Encyclopedia Judaica.
Googling, I find references to “Dr. L. Kopf” such as “When this article was already in print, I received the July, 1959 issue of Veins Testamentum (IX/3) in which Dr. L. Kopf has an article entitled “Arabische…” and “Dr. L. Kopf, Hebrew University Library, was so kind as to explain to me that the term sudd’ is the usual word for headache….” He was the author of “Studies in Arabic and Hebrew Lexicography”