The 2017 Arch Madness Champion: 1603 Works of Paracelsus

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.


1603 Works of Paracelsus (Photo Credits: James Wethington)

Over the past four weeks, we started with sixteen artifacts and only one could be crowned “USI’s Coolest Artifact”. The 2017 Arch Madness Champion is the 1603 Works of Paracelsus. The 1603 Works of Paracelsus defeated the 1963 “The Ultimate Frontier” painting from Stelle community, 63-20. It is currently the oldest book at Rice Library and is located here at the University Archives and Special Collections.

This a portrait of the

Portrait of Paracelsus, n.d. (Photo Credit: Google)

Paracelsus was born in 1493 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland as Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim. His mother passed away while he was a young boy; however, his father was a doctor and chemist but they were extremely poor. After his mother’s death, Paracelsus and his father moved to southern Austria. When Paracelsus was older, he attended Bergschule, learning about chemical theory and minerals. As an adult, he “graduated” from the University of Vienna in 1510.

In 1516, he “received” his doctoral degree from the University of Ferrara. Hohenheim changed his name to “para-Celsus”, mocking the 1st Century Roman medical writer, regarding himself as greater than Celsus. Over time, Paracelsus traveled throughout Europe until 1521, when he began to serve as an army surgeon. During his travels, Paracelsus continued to learn about alchemy and various medical practices. He returned to Switzerland in 1524 and continued working on his medical and scientific research until his death on September 24, 1541 from syphilis.


Hargrave, J. G. (2009, May 22). Paracelsus. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from

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