White's Physiological Manikin
Model used as a medical education tool
Publisher James T. White (1845‒1920) patented the physiological manikin in 1886, which was used in medical schools and doctor's offices as a tool for studying anatomy and physiology at the turn of the 20th century. This example from 1889 was used by a father and son doctor duo in Central Texas.
Anatomy is the study of the body, identifying its individual parts, and how they each function. Artists have aided in this work for hundreds of years by creating a variety of sculptures and sketches that educate about the body. Medical illustration as a professional field of study was established by the John Hopkins School of Medicine in 1911 during a period of rapid growth of the medical profession in the United States. As the need for medical education grew to meet demand, so too did the need for anatomical models and illustrations.
White's physiological manikin was one such tool used in the United States. When unfolded, the manikin stands 5 feet 9 inches tall and features chromolithographed sheets that when lifted, reveal various layers of the human body. Though the manikin has a male face, it features anatomical structures of both a man and woman, and even includes a fetus in various stages of development. The model was the creation of James T. White, an American publisher and author. Mr. White was engaged in several diverse businesses, including the sale of patent medicines, which likely inspired him to create a large scale anatomical resource for physicians.
This White's manikin originally belonged to William Franklin Sharp (1846‒1913), a doctor from Davilla, Texas. It was passed down to his son, Milton Ragsdale Sharp, MD (1878‒1959) who also used it in his practice in nearby Granger, Texas. Both physicians likely displayed the mannequin in their offices where they could use it as a quick anatomical reference.
Penelope Graves Redington donation, Texas Medical Association Library, History of Medicine Gallery, Austin
Books and Printed Material
Time Period: 1866 - 1936
This artifact is currently on view.