The Haskell F. and Jeremy M. Norman Bibliographical Lecture on Medicine, Science, and Technology was established at the Grolier Club in 1994 by a grant from the Haskell F. Norman Foundation to stimulate bibliographical scholarship related to the history of medicine, science, and technology. To allow a sufficiently wide latitude of both subject matter and scholarly approach, the Norman Lecture Committee interprets the concept of bibliography broadly, incorporating all aspects of the study of books and manuscripts. Thus, the series encompasses the history of the physical production of books, including book illustration, the history of graphic media, and the history of publishing, bookselling, and, of course, book collecting.
This year’s lecture, the sixth in the series, was presented by Daniel M. Albert, MD, MS, Director of the University of Wisconsin Eye Research Institute and Professor and Chair Emeritus of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. His talk was titled “The Writings and Adventures of the Chevalier John Taylor.” Taylor (1703–1772), the self-proclaimed personal eye surgeon to King George II, the Pope and number of European royal families, traveled throughout Europe in a coach painted with images of eyes. While he did perform eye surgery, his major talent was that of self-promotion. He has been accused by some for accelerating the process by which composer Georg Handel became blind. Others believe that Johann Sebastian Bach died of complications due to his surgery.