What do Pearl Jam and the Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions have in common?

Not much I can assure you.  That said, recently we were performing a large scale book move to make room for newly cataloged monographs when I stumbled upon the book in the image below.

Vitalogy by E. H. Ruddock, M. D.

It was the cover that caught my eye because it seemed immediately familiar. Within a split second I realized that the cover of the book in question looked exactly like the cover of my favorite album by the band Pearl Jam.

Wait a second?  “Who’s Pearl Jam” you may be asking yourself. That’s OK. They are a rock and roll band from Seattle that broke around 1992. Released on Epic Records in the fall of 1994,Vitalogy was the band’s third album.  And as I’ve just found out, the title of a book.

Vitalogy Cover

I didn’t know it when the record was released, but the band chose the title because the lead singer/songwriter of the group, Eddie Vedder, saw the volume at a garage sale, liked it’s title, design, font, etc., and purchased it. He later showed it to the rest of the band and it soon became the title of the new album. The Vitalogy album/CD cover mimicked the cover of the book and original text from the book was used to populate the album’s liner notes.

 

Text

Textual diagram

So what about the book?  Vitalogy, An Encyclopedia of Health and Home Adapted for the Home, the Layman, and the Family by E. H. Ruddock, M.D. was first published in 1899; the edition we have is from 1926. Biblical in proportion it contains 1004 pages full of holistic cures, medical advice and proverbial wisdom. In addition, it is full of incredibly detailed and intricate color illustrations and fold outs.

Example of some of the detailed color foldouts

Glancing through its pages, one can imagine Vitalogy at home in any aisle of a Whole Foods or a Sprouts Market–the book that is, though I’m sure the album would do well there too.

 

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