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History of Medicine Resources in Special Collections

Selected Print Texts housed in SCRC

The following are a selection of significant works in the history of medicine. These rare books are all housed in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) and are available to be viewed in the SCRC reading room. The links take you directly to the catalog record. To request an item, click on the "request from SCRC" link in the catalog record.

Anatomy: descriptive and surgical by Henry Gray (Gray's Anatomy)

Notes on nursing: what it is, and what it is not by Florence Nightingale

De humani corporis fabrica libri septem by Andreas Vesalius 

Anatomia uteri humani gravidi tabulis illustrata by William Hunter 

Penicillin, its practical application by Sir Alexander Fleming

Tables of the skeleton and muscles of the human body by Bernhard Siegfried Albinus. (Tr. from the Latin.)



  • Images from the History of Medicine  60,000 images in the prints and photograph collection of the History of Medicine Division of the US National Library of Medicine (NLM); collection includes portraits, pictures of institutions, caricatures, genre scenes, and graphic art in a variety of media, illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine.
  • Images from Wellcome Library including the Biomedical Collection with over 40 000 high-quality images from the clinical and biomedical sciences. Images covers disease, surgery, general healthcare, sciences from genetics to neuroscience including the full range of imaging techniques. Use the drop down box to select "Historical" to exclude modern images.
  • Anatomia Collection 1522-1867 has approximately 4500 full page plates and other significant illustrations of human anatomy selected from the Jason A. Hannah and Academy of Medicine collections in the history of medicine at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.
  • Burns Archive contains thousands of medical and dental images, but are enerally available only for purchase.
  • Exhibitions in the History of Medicine by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Topics include: Medieval Manuscripts in the NLM (2001) Classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2001) Emotions and Disease (2000) Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine (2000) That Girl There Is Doctor In Medicine" Elizabeth Blackwell, America's First Woman, M.D. (2000) Breath of Life (1999) Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature (1998) Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Varieties of Medical Ephemera (1995) Islamic Culture and the Medical Arts (1994) "If You Knew the Conditions ...;" Health Care to Native Americans (1994) Cesarian Section -- A Brief History (1993) Paracelsus, Five Hundred Years: Three American Exhibits (1993)
  • Historical Images in Medicine is a collection from Duke University Medical Center Library containing over 3,000 photographs, illustrations, engravings, and bookplates from the history of the health and life sciences.
  • Images From the History of the Public Health Service: A Photographic Exhibit  An online version of the book, Images from the History of the Public Health Service; A Photographic Exhibit by Ramunas Kondratas.  See Print Resources below for more information.
  • Index of Medieval Medical Images is a digital project at UCLA and contains a searchable and browseable database of early medical images.
  • Internet Public Library: History of Medicine  Contains websites of online History of Medicine collections, many of which contain images.
  • Medical "An index of articles, photos, and research about medical antiques. Also discussed are the techniques of collecting the artifacts and sets associated with surgery instruments, leeching, bloodletting, drugs, and other aspects of medical science prior to 1900."
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine has a selection of images in online "galleries" available, with a much larger collection available for research at the museum.

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Online Resources

Links to a few of the library catalogs for major collections in the history of medicine.