In 1971, Duke University professors wrote a wank-friendly medical textbook

In 1971, three medical professors at the Duke University School of Medicine collaborated on The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice, an anatomy textbook that included cheeky prose, some macho dudes, and more nubile female nudes who'd fit right in pin-up magazines. In the book's foreword, the authors justified their decision as such:

In 1971, Duke University professors wrote a wank-friendly medical textbookS

Perhaps we should have included photographs of garden-variety, American males and females who have let their physiques go to pot. Instead, we used female models as model females. The student will see the ordinary specimen every day. Only on rare occasions will the attractive, well-turned specimen appear before him for consultation. He should be prepared for this pleasant shock. For the growing ranks of female medics, we included the body beautiful of a robust, healthy male. We are sorry that we cannot make available the addresses of the young ladies who grace our pages. Our wives burned our little address books at our last barbecue get-together.

This "sloshed at the tiki bar" tenor extended to the book's various diagrams. Here are the authors' comments on women's backs:

If you think that once you have seen the back side of one female, you've seen them all, then you haven't sat in a sidewalk café in Italy where girl watching is a cultivated art. Your authors, whose zeal in this regard never flags, refer you to Figures III-IV and VIII as proof that female backs can keep an interest in anatomy alive.

The 2009 paper The Pornographic Anatomy Book? The Curious Tale of The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice delves further into the story behind the publication of (and backlash to) this tome. Edward Halperin of the University of Louisville elaborates on the origin of this improbably erotic educational tool:

In 1971, Duke University professors wrote a wank-friendly medical textbookS

A curious aspect of [one author's] office, however, was that it was plastered with Playboy centerfolds, female nudes and male nudes used for anatomic drawings. He has dozens and dozens of them posted and used them to help for illustrations for anatomy class in teaching surface anatomy [...]

Indeed, The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice made use of the snapshots of famed pin-up photographer Peter Gowland. Mounting criticism eventually prompted publisher Williams and Wilkins to can it — Halperin again notes of the text's Patrick Stewart-esque qualities:

[Newsweek] pointed out that, when male models were used, pictures were cropped to show only the necessary part of the body. In contrast, in showing the anatomy of the neck, the authors saw fit to use photos of three full-length nudes, each one posed like a pin-up girl.

A copy of The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice will be on display at Street Anatomy's Objectify This exhibit in Chicago until September 29, should you feel deprived of its educational je ne sais quoi.

MORE FUN WITH OLD TEXTBOOKS: Nicolas Cage teaches biology in Serbia and the animal kingdom of 1889 is pure death.

[Street Anatomy via Boing Boing]