Vassar's
Millionth
Volume

"Anatomia humani corporis"
by Govard Bidloo p. 1685

The Acquisition

The way in which Bidloo’s Anatomia humani corporis came to Vassar owes a lot to serendipity.

John Mihaly, senior director of Regional Programs, and Ron
Patkus, director of the Archives and Special Collections, took the
train back to Poughkeepsie with the rest of the Vassar contingent the day after the college’s 150th birthday celebration in Washington, D.C. They talked about the question uppermost in Patkus’s mind—which book to purchase for the Vassar library’s millionth volume. Patkus pulled out his laptop and showed Mihaly what was on his wish list. A rare 17th-century anatomy atlas—Bidloo’s Anatomia—had just come on the market.

Knowing that Andrea Baldeck, class of 1972, is a medical doctor and thinking that she might be interested in these anatomical drawings, Mihaly leaned across the aisle to show her the images. What he didn’t know is that she also happens to be a rare book collector, and she was immediately taken with the idea of Bidloo’s Anatomia as the millionth volume. Sitting next to Baldeck was Barbara McTigue Bruner, also class of 1972, who happens to be her cochair on the fundraising committee for their upcoming 40th reunion. They’d been looking for an interesting project to get the ball rolling for their reunion gift, and the Bidloo book was perfect. They offered to take on the sesquicentennial acquisition as a reunion project for their class.