The logo of the Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine is a stylized representation of the shell of a nautilus, making reference to Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), whose poem, “The Chambered Nautilus,” first printed in 1858, was one of his most famous literary works. One of his nautilus shells is on display in Holmes Hall, the reading room of the Center.
Renowned in his day as a physician, professor of anatomy, poet, and essayist, Holmes was a founder and first president of the Boston Medical Library and a distinguished member of the faculty and dean of Harvard Medical School. Oliver Wendell Holmes was also a generous benefactor and supporter of the Boston Medical Library, Harvard Medical Library, and the Warren Anatomical Museum. Deep in the medical humanities long before the term was coined, Holmes is emblematic of the work and collections of the Center for the History of Medicine.