Emma Hagström Molin: "Provenance and Scientific Validity in the Hagströmer Library"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Zoom. Link will be sent in advance.
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: Jenny Andersson
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar

NB: Zoom-seminar!

The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library is a young institution holding a distinguished and specialised content: here, the rare book and manuscript collections of several prominent men and institutions within Swedish history of medicine and science are preserved. This chapter sets out to analyse the meanings of these men’s and institutions’ previous ownership – of their provenance – in the establishment of the Hagströmer library. Doing this, art and book historical provenance studies will be interlaced with the world of science, as I intend to explore how provenance can be used as a marker of scientific validity. The main material analysed consists of library catalogues, inventories, and annual reports of the library as well as of its donors. While art historians have shown that provenance emerged as an auction catalogue category in the end of the eighteenth century, used to guarantee an object’s authenticity and originality (Raux 2012), the specific collection content and context of the Hagströmer library calls for investigating the meaning of provenance in relation to scientificity; how were certain provenances used to strengthen history of medicine and science in Sweden? Previous inquiries into provenance have addressed its relation to national and regional claims on cultural heritage, and thus history (Savoy 2011; Hagström Molin 2021). Drawing on this, the chapter argues that it is relevant to consider how the provenances of the Hagströmer Library have participated in establishing medicine as a part of Swedish cultural heritage and national history.

The Higher Seminars will be held on zoom up to week 8. Zoom-link will be sent out in advance.