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History of Medicine


  • Cultures of Health: A new on-line research magazine in history of medicine is a website dedicated to making available to students and researchers an eclectic mix of sources to stimulate historical conversations about the cultural dimensions of disease, health and medicine. The site is designed to be especially suited for the presentation and discussion of research “fragments” — a venue for graduate students and senior undergraduates, as well as more established researchers, to present and discuss ideas and sources that are not yet worked into the complex, finished “whole” of paper, article, thesis, or book.
  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine database journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields. It integrates four bibliographies: the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science, the Current Bibliography in the History of Technology (Technology and Culture), the Bibliografia Italiana di Storia della Scienza and the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Covers 1975 to the present.
    NOTE: restricted to institutions with subsciptions - available at Stanford
  • Medical History on the Internet lists hundreds of net-based resources by topic.
  • History of the Health Sciences WWW Links from Duke University organized by source type (organizations, collections, etc...)
  • History of the Health Sciences Resources on the Internet- from Viginia Commonwealth Universtiy
  • MedWeb - History of Medicine at Emory Univesity, organized by resource type and subject
  • History of Medicine Pathfinder Resources include reference materials (bibliographies, biographical sources, dictionaries, encyclopedias, guides, etc.), indexes and abstracts, journals, textbooks, guides to archives and primary sources, image and pictorial resources, information on professional associations, and electronic resources.
  • Lineamenti di Storia della Medicina including a large collection of brief biographies (in Italian) from MEDI-THEMA
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine from the Official Web Site of The Nobel Foundation  
  • Biographical Memoirs The National Academy Press (NAP), publisher for the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), has mounted HTML and PDF editions of 264 of its Biographical Memoirs.
  • Current Work in the History of Medicine the international bibliography of the history of medicine produced by the Wellcome Library since 1954, is now freely available via the Wellcome Library catalogue's web-site

Libraries & Collections

  • medica@ This site contains several hundred digitalized medical works, including several editions of the Hippocratic corpus, early editions of Galen, 19th-century medical theses by famous doctors, and a smaller number of classic monographs and treatises, mostly dating from the 19th century (in french).
  • Medical Archives and Manuscripts Survey (MAMS) from The Wellcome Library (U.K.), MAMS provides a comprehensive and detailed guide to primary records for the history of medicine and health-care held in archives and libraries in greater London.
  • The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Archive Resource developed by the Royal Society Library and funded by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Trust. The Resource is a biographical database of Fellows of the Royal Society from its inception in 1660 to the present day (excluding the current Fellowship) and includes some 8,000 figures from the history of science.
  • Online finding aids: National Library of Medicine- Note that the National Library of Medicine (NLM) does not have very many finding aids online, but the ones it has mounted are fully searchable because they have been prepared/encoded with EAD (Encoded Archival Description), a powerful, standardized markup language. Be sure to browse through the "Manuscript Collections By Call Number", to see the hundreds of collections for which finding aids may one day be available online. See also NLM's "New Accessions" list of hundreds more collections which are still unprocessed, but about which you can make inquiries to the NLM's History of Medicine Division.
  • History of Biomedicine from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
  • Images from the History of Medicine from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health
  • Historical Images in Medicine History of Medicine Collections at Duke University encompass over 3,000 photographs, illustrations, engravings, and bookplates from the history of the health and life sciences.
  • The Mayo History of Medicine Library -several thousand volumes of rare medical classics (from 1479) and early journal literature (from 1665) comprise the core collection of primary literature on all aspects of medicine and allied fields. Early medical imprints (pre-1875) and more recently published histories, biographies, facsimilies, and other support material comprise the remainder of the collection of some 23,000 total volumes.
  • Alan M. Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Holdings include materials from The Johns Hopkins Hospital and from the health divisions of The Johns Hopkins University (School of Hygiene and Public Health, School of Medicine, and School of Nursing). Dates of documentation in the holdings range from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present.
  • Wellcome Trust History of Medicine Library One of the largest libraries of its kind in the world, medical history is interpreted broadly including, botany, sexuality, anthropology, eugenics, cookery and much more. Free and open to the public. Limited online access to collections
  • Philadelphia Historical Digital Image Library (PHDIL) at Thomas Jefferson University contains over 3,000 images,with searchable catalog. Documents the development of Jefferson and the history of medicine. Jefferson photographs within PHDIL include approximately 750 pre-1945 portraits of alumni, faculty, and trustees; scenes from Blockley and Children's Rehabilitation Hospitals and military hospitals; views of 19th and early 20th century anatomy/dissection labs; nurses in practice; as well as medical society and class portraits
  • Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History & Special Collections Division - contains close to 28,000 rare books. A 23,000 volume secondary support collection provides in-depth interpretation for the primary materials as does the extensive history of the health science/history of biology journal collection. Also collects and curates manuscripts, prints and portraits, and museum objects. This site also houses the John C. Liebeskind History of Pain Collection, designed to document the history of pain studies from the earliest times to the present. It consists of oral histories, books, papers, and records, and ephemera.
  • The Historical Library at Cushing-Whitney Medical Library, Yale- contains a large and unique collection of rare medical books, medical journals to 1920, pamphlets, prints, and photographs, as well as current works on the history of medicine. Special strengths are the works of Hippocrates, Galen, Vesalius, Boyle, Harvey, and S. Weir Mitchell, and works on anesthesia, and smallpox inoculation and vaccination. The Library owns over 300 medical incunabula.
  • The Dittrick Medical History Center Distinguished collection of rare books, museum artifacts, archives, and images.
  • Waring Historical Library at theUniversity of South Carolina, houses books, journals, manuscript items, and museum artifacts dealing with the history of the health sciences, with particular emphasis upon South Carolina and the South, generally. The Macaulay Museum of Dental History, located behind the Waring Library, houses a large collection of dental artifacts and books.

Institutes & Universities

  • History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health
  • Historical Center for the Health Sciences (HCHS) at the University of Michigan seeks to document the history of medicine in Michigan and serve as a resource for scholars of American medical history
  • Department of the History of Science, Medicine and Technology at Jonhs Hopkins University includes the Institute of the History of Medicine as a division. The Historical Collection contains about forty thousand volumes, including runs of more than 300 journals. It has one of the most comprehensive collections of secondary literature in the history of medicine; and the 108 periodicalinclude almost all currently published titles in history of medicine, history of science and social studies of medicine The rare book collection of some ten thousand volumes has scattered strengths, largely concentrated in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, and primarily in western medicine

Museums & Exhibits

  • "Theatre of Nature and Art - Treasure-trove of Knowledge" An exhibition organised by Humboldt-Universität Berlin in cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Freie Universität Berlin, Berliner Festspiele GmbH and Hermann von Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren. The diverse objects from a multitude of different areas reveal anew the connections linking various disciplines and research projects.
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine Began life as the Museum and Library of the Surgeon General's Office, United States Army, and was until a few years ago known as the Armed Forces Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. It is home to the Billings Microscope Collection.
  • National Museum of Civil War Medicine Center for the study and interpretation of the medical history of the War Between the States. The Museum collects, exhibits and preserves medical artifacts, manuscripts, books, documents and other materials related to the period from 1861-1865. It also sponsors an annual conference on Civil War medicine.
  • DeWitt Stetten, Jr., Museum of Medical Research at the NIH collects and exhibits biomedical research instruments and NIH memorabilia
    "Converging Pathways of Pain Research at NIDCR" Describes how the most versatile and productive pain research unit at NIH established itself in the National Institute of Dental Research and details the history of pain research from the late 1950's to today
  • Virtual Museum of Anesthesiology Electronic repository of historical images, written works, information, and resources for further discovery.
  • History of Pharmacy Museum Photos, links and an online tour of the museum, located at the University of Arizona.
  • Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Varieties of Medical Ephemera -An online exhibit of medical advertising, labels and other printed material from the National Library of Medicine
  • Every Man His Own Doctor An online exhibit on Popular Medicine in Early America, from Colonial times to the mid 19th Century.
  • You won’t feel a thing: Needles in medical history Exhibit from the Wellcome Trust takes its core theme from Edward Jenner’s first vaccination for smallpox in 1796, but expands to the wider motif of the symbolism of the medical needle as seen through acupuncture, anaesthetics, blood transfusion, lethal injections, suturing, recreational drugs and the popular culture of the needle


Periods & Medical Specialties

  • Pharmacy & Apothecary Information & Resources - Produced by, this site contains information about the history and development of the pharmacueutical practice. It also includes training and pharmacological resources.
  • History of Microbiology: Archival Project from Yale - This site includes three projects devoted to topics in microbiology being developed and maintained through a grant to the American Society for Microbiology. Parallel projects are being developed by the Society for Neuroscience and the American Society for Virology
  • Milestones in Neuroscience Research - important historical discoveries, people and events in the field of neuroscience.
  • RETICULUM , a gateway to Internet resources for history and historians of basic, clinical, and behavioral neuroscience. 
  • Early Neurophysiology from the Greeks through Descartes to the late 19th Century
  • Anesthesiology: "We Have Conquered Pain: A Celebration of Ether, 1846-1996 " Presented by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University.
  • Founders of Neurology from the Louis D. Boshes, M.D. Archives at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Neurology.
  • History of Phrenology guide to resources on the internet, links to detailed information, the largest collection of phrenological images in any one place, and complete digitized sources relevant not only to the history of phrenology, but also to the history of popular naturalism, evolutionary thought and modern cultural history
  • Ancient Medicine/Medicina Antiqua - resource for the study of Greco-Roman medicine and medical thought from Mycenaean times until the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Asclepion from the University of Indiana - devoted to the study of ancient medicine
  • Brief History of Computational Neuroscience Simulations with NEURON
  • MendelWeb Resource for the origins of classical genetics, introductory data analysis, elementary plant science, and the history and literature of science. Constructed around Gregor Mendel's 1865 paper "Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden" and a revised version of the English translation by C.T. Druery and William Bateson, "Experiments in Plant Hybridization", MendelWeb is offered as a public sourcebook and collaborative environment compatible with a variety of guided and independent studies.
  • The Phineas Gage Information Page Describes  probably the most famous patient to have survived severe damage to the brain.  He is also the first patient from whom we learned something about the relation between personality and the function of the front parts of the brain. Site maintained by Malcolm Macmillan  School of Psychology, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia


  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine database journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields. It integrates four bibliographies: the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science, the Current Bibliography in the History of Technology (Technology and Culture), the Bibliografia Italiana di Storia della Scienza and the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Covers 1975 to the present.
    NOTE: restricted to institutions with subsciptions - available at Stanford
  • Clio Medica/The Wellcome Institute Series in the History of Medicine - 10 Issues available online, from November 1998 to August 2000
    NOTE: requires institutional subsciption - available at Stanford
  • HISTLINE History of Medicine database from the National Library of Medicine. Select HISTLINE from the menu in the left frame.
  • Finding Aids to Archival Collections from the California Digital Library - inventories, registers, indexes or guides to collections held by archives and manuscript repositories, libraries, and museums.
  • Historical Medical Digital Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (HDML) allows patrons to browse electronically selected books significant in the history of medicine.  You browse electronically, but also in the traditional sense:  a virtual pulling the book off the shelf. 
  • Online Books Medicine Page - Lists 221 titles from Hippocrates to the present.


Organizations & Societies


Last modified: August 13, 2010

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