American Medical Libraries in the Nineteenth
Research notes of Dr. Michael
(The following are the personal edited research notes of
Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be
Godfrey S. Belleh, M.S.L.S.
Head of Technical Services
Eric v.d. Luft, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Curator of Historical Collections
Health Sciences Library
(Edited version for research of Civil War
SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY 13210
Changes in nineteenth century
North American physicians' attitudes toward the support of medical
libraries are discernible in three eras: 1. the antebellum medical
world; 2. the beginnings of modern medical attitudes; and 3. "The
Medical Library Movement."
1. The Antebellum Medical World
Prior to the 1840s it was commonly
held among medical educators in America that hands-on learning was not
necessary, that medical students could learn anatomy and even clinical
practice chiefly from books. The post-Vesalian, post-Harveian tradition
of medicine was venerated. Physicians generally respected theoretical
speculation alongside empirical science as a method of achieving medical
knowledge. Books, the wisdom of the elders, were regarded on medical
matters as an authority at least equal to, and perhaps greater than,
clinical experience and direct observation. To be sure, the early
nineteenth century produced some of the keenest observers of anatomical
and pathological fact the world has ever known,(1)
but even the best of these observers would defer to the written record
of generations past.
Thus the progress of medical
knowledge was slow, even plodding, until the revolutionary
implementations of anesthesia in the 1840s and antisepsis in the late
1860s. In the aftermath of these developments, as well as with the
significant increase in surgical knowledge gained during the Civil War,
the attitude grew among physicians that medical libraries were merely
repositories of quaint curiosities and outdated information, that they
had little clinical importance, and that current literature was
disposable almost as soon as the next article or book appeared on the
This attitude stands in sharp contrast to that which prevailed for the
first half of the nineteenth century, whereby physicians generally held
medical libraries in great esteem. In that era, medical education was
chiefly by lecture rather than demonstration, by reading rather than
doing, by memorizing the wisdom of one's predecessors rather than direct
The nineteenth century was an era
of widespread interest in curiosities for their own sake, not only those
intended for popular exhibit by the likes of P.T. Barnum, but also those
collected by physicians such as Isaac Parrish, Thomas Dent Mütter, Frank
Hastings Hamilton, and Joseph Leidy for their own pleasure and that of
their professional colleagues. Private "pathological cabinets" were
quite common at the time. Yet these curiosities, from tumors in jars to
bullet-shattered bones to Chang and Eng Bunker's conjoined liver to
anthropodermic bookbindings, which may seem bizarre, irreverent, or even
criminal to us nowadays, were not intended merely to entertain ghoulish
physicians, but to instruct. As such, they were intended to be protected
and preserved alongside the medical books and journals themselves. In
antebellum America, medical libraries almost always existed in tandem
with anatomical/pathological museums, and they were thought to go
hand-in-hand as teaching tools.
Given the antebellum physicians'
propensity toward "book-larnin," early in the nineteenth century it was
not difficult for medical schools to secure large donations of both
money and books for their libraries. For example, in 1820 a relatively
obscure backwoods American medical school received a donation of $17,000
for the purchase of books.(4)
That amount would be approximately $180,000 in 1994 dollars.(5)
In 1839 the same library received a gift of another $11,000. These two
gifts resulted in the purchase of over 10,000 books.
In the United States before the
Civil War almost all medical libraries were in the private sector, owned
by either hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical schools, medical
societies, or individual physicians. The societies, hospitals, and
educational institutions relied mainly upon donations for collection
development and upon volunteers for labor. Cataloging was minimal. Books
and journals would -- usually -- just be set in plain sight on shelves
in a small, dark, uncomfortable room, uncataloged but readily available
to authorized persons; or -- at best -- they would be arranged in a
gentleman's smoking room as a browsing collection, perhaps in
alphabetical order or loosely grouped by subject, accession date, or
size. Thus the overhead for the upkeep of antebellum institutional
medical libraries was small. A librarian was not necessary, but only a
clerk or a servant to record accessions in a ledger and to reshelve
volumes. Since little effort was expended to facilitate access and
retrievability, the books were in effect just "warehoused."
With the possible exception of the
library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (whose collection
was built mainly on donations),(6)
the greatest medical libraries in nineteenth century America (especially
in the antebellum period) were owned by individuals. These great private
medical libraries came into existence as physicians such as Hugh Lenox
Hodge (1796-1873), Samuel D. Gross (1805-1884), Anson Colman (fl. 1836),
Samuel Lewis (1813-1890), Stephen Smith (1823-1922), and William Osler
(1849-1919) recognized the need to protect, preserve, and publicize the
rich heritage of what, since the 1840s, had become a very rapidly
Many such private libraries, when bequeathed, came to be either the
foundations or significant components of major institutional medical
libraries. Colman's went to Geneva Medical College and Smith's went to
its successor, the Syracuse University College of Medicine (both now the
SUNY Upstate Medical University); Lewis's and Gross's went to the
College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Osler's to McGill University; and
Hodge's to several locations through the agency of his son, Hugh Hodge,
and George Milbry Gould. It is inconceivable that any of these libraries
could have become substantial repositories of medical knowledge without
the foresight and generosity of such collectors.
Yet for many such personal medical
libraries, especially after the Civil War, the death of the owner
entailed the dispersal or destruction of the collection at the hands of
an ignorant or apathetic heir.
2. The Beginnings of Modern
A typical physician of 1820 was
likely to a regard a seventeenth century medical text as of clinical
importance; but a typical physician of 1880 was very unlikely to so
regard it. Inspired by the incredible success of antisepsis and
anesthesia in surgery, and by the leap in medical and surgical knowledge
which almost always follows a major war, many physicians born between
about 1820 and 1845 saw by the 1870s little practical need to preserve
the pre-antisepsis, pre-anesthesia literature, let alone enshrine it, in
institutional libraries. To be sure, they did not neglect reading in the
furtherance of their clinical practice, but while their fathers
preferred the venerable old medical books supplemented with case reports
in the journal literature, they tended to limit their reading to current
state-of-the-art breakthroughs in their particular fields, as recorded
in the journal literature. At first they were able to fill their
professional reading needs with private journal subscriptions and book
purchases, but as topics became more diverse, more narrowly
circumscribed, and as the literature on these topics became more vast,
the next generation of physicians (George Milbry Gould's generation)
came to discover that as individuals they could not each keep up with
all the current literature relevant to their respective clinical
practices, and thus had to rely upon libraries whether they wanted to or
not. The last third of the nineteenth century was beginning of the
complex specialization in medicine which we all recognize today -- and
the literature of the time, both in quantity and in orientation,
accurately reflected that. The standard bibliography of nineteenth
century American medicine shows only 1406 medical titles published in
the 1840s, but 10378 in the 1890s.(8)
Individual finances simply could not keep up with that explosion. As
Charles Perry Fisher noted during his tenure as Librarian of the College
of Physicians of Philadelphia, individual physicians practicing prior to
1879, when Index Medicus first appeared, were obliged to acquire
and maintain private collections of medical journals, often at great
expense, only to have these gatherings of a lifetime scattered and
wasted after their deaths.(9)
The increasing difficulty for physicians to maintain current
professional literature collections on their own was even more
pronounced in the outlying areas.(10)
Medical books tend to be more
expensive than most books. This has always been the case. Medical
libraries have always been hard-pressed financially to keep their
holdings comprehensive (or at least adequate) with regard to the current
state of the clinical art. For example, in the July 1866 catalog of
prominent Philadelphia medical publisher Henry C. Lea, prices ranged
from $1.00 for small duodecimos such as a popular work on skin care to
$14.00 for Joseph Maclise's Surgical Anatomy and $15.00 for the
four-volume Cyclopaedia of Practical Medicine, with most of the
standard texts costing in the vicinity of $4.00 to $6.00.(11)
A modern medical text may seem cheap at these prices, but not in the
days when most trade books sold for less than a dollar, medical journal
subscriptions typically ran between $5.00 and $10.00 per annum, and
postage was figured in half-cents. Nowadays a typical medical title will
cost in the hundreds and a typical medical journal subscription could
cost in the thousands per annum. Unlike individual physicians, medical
libraries cannot pass these costs on to their patients, but rather must
simply do without or else go begging. In this regard, institutional
medical library management today is no different from what it was in the
There seems to have been a
generation of physicians and surgeons who came of age during the Civil
War or shortly thereafter, who had no interest in the preservation of
the records of bygone medical eras, and who believed that the typical
contents of institutional medical libraries were of little or no
clinical importance. This group dominated American medical culture in
the 1880s. Their attitude that medical progress did not require
libraries but only modern clinical and experimental results was
gradually supplanted in the 1890s under the leadership of Gould, Charles
D. Spivak, and Osler, among others.
Yet medicine is a conservative
profession. For example, in the nineteenth century it was a frequent
conceit among the Fellows of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
that theirs was the most conservative organization in America, not
necessarily in the political sense, but certainly in the cultural sense.
Such conservativism can be detected in the kind of support given in the
1870s to the most prestigious medical libraries, such as the New York
Academy of Medicine and the Army Medical Library (now the National
Library of Medicine). These white men, mostly rich and highborn, seem to
have been motivated, over against the remarkable medical and surgical
progress of the Civil War and its immediate aftermath (progress in which
many of them indeed participated), to protect and preserve "the way
we did things," i.e., the methods, results, and curiosities of their
own bygone era, the antebellum American medical world. To
illustrate this point, when the new library building of the New York
Academy of Medicine was dedicated in October 1879, the average age of
the sixteen participants on the podium was 61 (average birth year 1818),(12)
which means that most of them were already established professionals
when the Civil War broke out. The entire cost of this project was paid
by subscriptions and donations, so that at the time of dedication "not a
single cent of debt remained."(13)
In contrast to this prestigious
societal medical library of the 1870s strongly supported by the "Old
Guard," consider a medical library which was severely neglected from the
1870s to the mid-1890s, when it was under the governance of much younger
physicians, about half of whom had little or no antebellum medical or
surgical experience. In 1872 the average age of the eighteen physicians
on the original faculty of the Syracuse University College of Medicine
was only 47 (average birth year 1825).(14)
The older faculty such as Towler and Frederick Hyde supported the
library, but, with the notable exception of John Van Duyn, most of the
younger faculty gave little notice to it, and even Van Duyn's interest
in the library was not manifest until much later in his career.
These younger physicians were
mostly of the generation that provided such breakthroughs as first
allowing women into the profession. They regarded themselves as
progressive and perhaps even radical, both culturally and clinically,
while the older generation would offer such laments as this, in 1879:
"We regret to be obliged to announce that at a meeting of a councilors
held on October 1, it was voted to admit women to the Massachusetts
Despite the financial hardship on
individual physicians who tried to maintain their own respective
collections of medical literature, institutional medical libraries were
generally neglected, even scorned, for much of the second half of the
nineteenth century, except by a few sagacious physicians such as John
Samuel Smith Purple,(17)
Joseph Meredith Toner, Charles D. Spivak,(18)
and James R. Chadwick. Throughout the nineteenth century the
institutional medical library remained a low budget item. Institutional
acquisition of medical books was almost entirely by gift, by swapping
duplicates, or by bulk purchase of used books, almost never by
deliberate purchase of specific new titles.
Some of the slack in medical
acquisitions was taken up by public libraries and other non-medical
institutional libraries. In the nineteenth century, many public
libraries, even free libraries, had substantial medical collections.
Gould, for one, vigorously advocated that public libraries should
acquire medical titles.(19)
But these collections eventually dwindled, mainly because public
librarians could not meet the demands of physicians in either collection
development or reference service. For example, in 1875 an anonymous
physician (perhaps Chadwick) argued for the creation of an easily
consulted medical library in Boston, because: "Admirable as the Boston
Public Library is (in some respects), it must be confessed that so far
as its medical department is concerned a liberal expenditure of both
time and patience is often required before the seeker can obtain, if he
obtains at all, a sight of the book or journal required."(20)
This same article announced the organization of the Boston Medical
Library Association in response to this perceived need.
With a few notable exceptions,
e.g., the libraries of Transylvania
University, Harvard University, the New York Academy of Medicine, and
the Boston Medical Library Association, private institutional medical
libraries in the mid- to late nineteenth century tended not to have firm
financial foundations. Although libraries
had grown in size, funds for acquisition tended to be inadequate, and
standards of service were almost nonexistent. In 1876 Chadwick reported
on the situation of medical libraries in Boston. Harvard relied upon
donations of volumes and money, and was extremely well off. The Boston
City Library's medical collection consisted mostly of donated volumes
from Boston's sizeable community of physicians, and was quite fortunate
in both the variety and completeness of its journal runs. Four other
medical libraries in Boston were funded by dues or by subscription, with
varying degrees of success.(21)
In 1890 E. D. Ferguson reported that the Library of the New York State
Medical Association was supported entirely by members' gifts of books,
journals, and money.(22)
Demand increased for the federal
government to become involved, not in financing medical libraries,
but in financing a single gigantic medical library. Should such a
library be an outgrowth of the Army Medical Library which Surgeon
General Joseph Lovell (1788-1836) had begun, and thus be a separate
entity? or should it be just a department of the Library of Congress?
This debate resounded through medical circles in the late 1870s and
Leading the political fight for
the establishment and firm Congressional support of a national medical
library were not the younger physicians, readers of the current
literature, but the "Old Guard," whose main agenda was the preservation
of old medical literature and the honoring of the pantheon of
physicians. For example, Frederick Horner, who may have had ulterior
motives insofar as he lived just across the Potomac in Alexandria,
Virginia, gave lip service to the "original research" favored by young
physicians, but his motivation was really that of the "Old Guard": "We
need a safe repository [independent of the Library of Congress] for the
invaluable writings of the fathers of American medicine and surgery ...
and of the glorious galaxy of living men ... [and this proposed facility
should include a] hall for statuary and a gallery for portraits of
eminent members of the profession ..."(24)
Considering options of involvement
of the American Medical Association, the Library of Congress, and the
Medical Society of the District of Columbia, Toner was in favor of
venerating the entire medical tradition, but especially the American
medical tradition: "The value of books to the medical man cannot be over
estimated. They are the inexhaustible fount of knoweldge from which the
discoveries of the day, and the accumulated experience of ages may be
drawn. The physician whose studies lead him to consult early American
medical literature must be painfully struck with the perishable
character of our professional literature, and the meagre or fragmentary
collections which have been made."(25)
In 1882 Toner announced his gift of 20000 volumes to the Library of
Billings is the real hero of this
era. The federal government became heavily involved in medical
librarianship only during the Civil War when Billings began to pursue
his vision of making the Surgeon General's library the greatest medical
reference collection in the world. As early as the mid-1890s the
worldwide health care community generally acknowledged that he had
achieved this goal,(27)
not only through developing the collection, but also through his
founding of Index Medicus in 1879 and Index Catalogue in
1880. Billings denied reports that he was the founder of the Army
Medical Library, naming Lovell and Hammond as his predecessors, but
acknowledged that between 1865, when he assumed office, and 1880, the
holdings of that library grew from 1800 to 50000 volumes.(28)
Even as early as 1878, one physician visiting the Army Medical Library
expressed sheer amazement at the breadth and depth of the collection
(e.g., bound volumes of pamphlets which had belonged to Claude Bernard).
He praised Billings, the administration, and ambiance of the library,
which was then housed in the old Ford's Theatre, scene of the Lincoln
assassination, and which was well on its way toward outgrowing these
In 1876 George F. Shrady applauded
one of Billings' pet projects, Index Catalogue, claiming that it
would place the world's medical literature in front of those who could
not travel to Washington.(30)
In 1878 Shrady expressed the strong support of the medical community for
Billings' plan to create this "index, as it were, of the medical
literature of the world," even at the then huge cost to the taxpayers of
$25000 for 3000 copies each of the first two volumes.(31)
The medical community's praises of Congress for its creation of a
national medical library and for its funding of Index Catalogue
were not in short supply.(32)
By 1883 a groundswell of support for Billings' program had arisen in
state medical societies and other professional medical organizations.
Gross successfully offered a strongly worded resolution at the annual
meeting of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania urging
Congress to appropriate money for "the erection of a fire-proof building
to contain the library and museum of the Surgeon-General's Office,"
noting with regret that such a bill had already once failed to be
James Reeves offered a similar resolution to the Medical Society of West
Virginia, which passed it unanimously.(34)
3. "The Medical Library Movement"
Not until the 1890s did American
medical schools realize that their own well stocked and well maintained
medical libraries would be essential components of the rapid modernizing
of medical pedagogy which had begun in the 1870s with the shift from
proprietary schools to graded instruction.(35)
The lack of attention to medical libraries which had been the prevailing
attitude not only in medical schools but throughout the entire medical
community gradually evolved into a "medical library movement," a unity
of the aims of both the "Old Guard" and the younger physicians in a
third generation of physicians who saw the need both to protect and
venerate the tradition, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, to make
readily and freely available to all practitioners the widest possible
sampling of the published results of current research. Gould (b. 1848),
Osler (b. 1849), Frank William Marlow (b. 1858), and Spivak (b. 1861)
were among this third generation that rediscovered and reinvented the
medical library. They resembled their grandfathers rather than their
fathers insofar as they attached importance to the contents of medical
libraries; but unlike their grandfathers, and indeed more like their
fathers, they regarded these contents not as curiosities, historical
documents, or the hallmarks of medical tradition, but as fundamental
tools of current clinical practice. The ultimate impetus for the rebirth
and growth of medical libraries in the 1890s was not the veneration of
tradition, as Purple, Horner, and their cohorts had imagined, but rather
the discovery that libraries are excellent means for current research.
This latter view is what predominates in the medical world today. The
attitude that medical libraries are research libraries rather than
repositories has proved fundamental in the design, construction, and
funding of medical libraries in the twentieth century.(36)
Although there had been some
pockets of American medical culture from as early as the 1870s which
were enlightened about the proper role and importance of modern medical
libraries, one analyst who surveyed 120 American medical schools in 1898
received reports of only 24 libraries affiliated with those schools.(41)
Clearly a crusade was needed. Directly addressing this perceived need,
Gould, Osler, and a few others in the 1890s launched a vigorous effort
to encourage physicians to take seriously the published heritage of
medicine as useful, not only for purposes of learning history, but even
for current clinical practice, and in that spirit to bequeath their
personal collections of books to medical schools and other health care
institutions, especially since these institutions had few other means of
They and, even as early as the late 1890s, most other advocates of
institutional medical libraries were making similar claims for the
current practical value of "old books" and encouraging the private
owners of these medical journals and books not to throw them away when
they retired from clinical practice, and not to let their heirs decide
what to do with them, but rather to donate them to institutions which
would preserve them, not only for the use of current practitioners, but
also for posterity.
* This version is from April 2000.
An earlier version was presented at the 13th Annual Meeting of
Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies (INCS), Loyola University,
New Orleans, April 18, 1998. Another earlier version won the 1999 Murray
Gottlieb Prize, awarded annually by the Medical Library Association
(MLA). We are grateful to Gretchen Worden, Director of the Mütter
Museum, for her critical reading of that version. A subsequent and
slightly abridged version was published in the
Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 89, 4 (October 2001):
1. Physicians of the
twentieth century, primarily dependent upon their plethora of diagnostic
instruments rather than their own five senses, would marvel at the
accuracy and detail of, for example, William Wood Gerhard's intricate
description of bronchitis in Lectures on the Diagnosis, Pathology,
and Treatment of the Diseases of the Chest (Philadelphia: Haswell &
2. In 1875 at least
one medical school bulletin took a quite condescending view toward
antebellum medical literature, referring to its own institutional
library as "especially rich in the medical literature of an earlier
day," thus insinuating that there was no practical need for the library
to maintain a collection of current medical literature (The Fourth
Annual Catalogue of the Syracuse University College of Medicine, p.
9). Indeed, after about 1870, that library made no effort until the late
1890s to keep its collection current. Cf. Eric v.d. Luft and Diane K.
Hawkins, "Elizabeth Latimer Shrimpton, M.D. (1875-1955): Unsung Heroine
of Medical Librarianship," The Watermark, 19, 3 (Summer 1996):
85-87; and erratum, 19, 4 (Fall 1996): 129; here p. 86.
3. William Frederick
Norwood, Medical Education in the United States Before the Civil War
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1944), Ch. 38, "The
Curriculum, Textbooks, and Teaching Problems," pp. 396-402.
4. Charles A. Vance,
"The Transylvania Medical Library," Kentucky Medical Journal, 44,
11 (November 1946): 365-384, here pp. 366-367; reprinted from Annals
of Surgery, 123, 4 (April 1946): 481-509, here p. 484. Apparently
Transylvania University had little trouble financing its medical library
before the Civil War; cf. Roemol Henry, "Introduction," Catalogue of
the Transylvania University Medical Library (Lexington, Ky.:
Transylvania University Press, 1987), pp. vi-x.
5. With the 1967 U.S.
consumer price index of 100 as a benchmark, the 1820 cpi is 42 and the
1994 cpi is 444.6.
6. Personal e-mails to
Eric v.d. Luft from Charles B. Greifenstein, Historical Reference
Librarian, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, April 9, 1997; and
from Kevin Crawford, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Curator of Archives and
Manuscripts, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, April 21, 1997.
7. SUNY Upstate
Medical University Library, Thirty-Five Treasures of Special
Collections, designed and edited, ... introduction ... written, and
... items ... selected, described, and photographed by Eric v.d. Luft
(Kennett Square, Pa.: KNA Press, 1993), pp. 21, 24-25. Cf. also Harvey
Cushing, The Life of Sir William Osler, 2 v. (Oxford: Clarendon,
8. Francesco Cordasco,
American Medical Imprints, 1820-1910, 2 v. (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman
& Littlefield, 1985).
9. Charles Perry
Fisher, "Medical Libraries, Medical Publishers, and the Medical
Profession," Medical Library and Historical Journal, 2 (1904):
192-195; here p. 192.
10. Violet M. Baird,
"Books and the Doctor in Nineteenth-Century Texas: Some Early Attempts
to Establish Medical Libraries," Bulletin of the Medical Library
Association, 56 (1968): 428-434; here p. 428. Reuben Peterson, "The
Need of More Medical Reference Libraries and the Way in Which They Can
Be Established," Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine, 2
(1895-1897): 129-137; esp. pp. 129-130.
11. Caption title: Henry C. Lea's (Late Lea & Blanchard's) Classified Catalogue of Medical
and Surgical Instruments; 32 pages, with index, listing 160 titles,
bound with publisher's cloth-bound edition of: Austin Flint, A
Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Medicine, Designed for the
Use of Practitioners and Students of Medicine (Philadelphia: Henry
C. Lea, 1866).
12. "Dedication of
the New Library Hall of the New York Academy of Medicine, October 2,
1879," Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 101 (1879): 525-527,
550-556; here p. 526. These participants were: Henry W. Acland (b.
1815), James Anderson (b. 1798), Fordyce Barker (b. 1818), John Shaw
Billings (b. 1838), Freeman J. Bumstead (b. 1826), William L. Detmold
(b. 1808), Austin Flint (b. 1812), Samuel D. Gross (b. 1805), James R.
Leaming (b. 1820), Willard Parker (b. 1800), Alfred C. Post (b. 1806),
Samuel Smith Purple (b. 1822), George C. Shattuck, Jr. (b. 1813), T.
Gaillard Thomas (b. 1831), Robert F. Weir (b. 1838), and William T.
White (b. 1829).
13. "Dedication of
the New Library Hall of the New York Academy of Medicine," p. 527.
14. According to the
Annual Announcement of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the
Syracuse University for the Session of 1872-73, p. , these
faculty members were: J. Otis Burt (b. 1835), Henry Darwin Didama (b.
1823), Joseph P. Dunlap (b. 1814), Hiram N. Eastman (b. 1810), Frederick
Hyde (b. 1809), Miles Goodyear Hyde (b. 1841), John W. Lawton (b. ca.
1835?), Alfred Mercer (b. 1820), Nelson Nivison (b. 1816), Roger W.
Pease (b. 1828), William Tomlinson Plant (b. 1836), Wilfred W. Porter
(b. 1826), John Van Pelt Quackenbush (b. 1819), Charles E. Rider (b.
1839), Edward B. Stevens (b. 1823), John Towler (b. 1811), John Van Duyn
(b. 1843), and Hervey Backus Wilbur (b. 1820).
15. "The Admission of
Women to the State Society," Boston Medical and Surgical Journal,
101 (1879): 527.
16. John B. Blake,
"From Surgeon General's Bookshelf to National Library of Medicine: A
Brief History" Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 74, 4
(Oct. 1986): 318-324.
17. Whitfield J.
Bell, Jr., "Private Physicians and Public Collections: Medical Libraries
in the United States Before 1900," in A Celebration of Medical
History, ed. by Lloyd G. Stevenson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1982),
pp. 85-102; here pp. 91-92. Cf. Samuel Smith Purple, Medical
Libraries: An Address Delivered Before the New York Academy of Medicine,
January 18, 1877, on Taking the Chair as President a Second Term
(New York: 1877).
18. Genevieve Miller,
"Charles David Spivak's Role in the Development of Medical Libraries,"
Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia,
42, 1 (July 1974): 81-87.
19. George Milbry
Gould, "The Union of Medical and Public Libraries," Philadelphia
Medical Journal, 2 (1898): 237-240.
20. "A Medical
Library Association," Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 93
21. James R.
Chadwick, "The Medical Libraries of Boston," Boston Medical and
Surgical Journal, 95 (1876): 543-549.
22. E. D. Ferguson,
"Sixth Annual Report of the Library Committee of the New York State
Medical Association," Transactions of the New York State Medical
Association, 7 (1890): -583.
23. "The National
Medical Library and the Library of Congress," Medical News
(Philadelphia), 42 (1883): 428-430, explained the nature of the
dispute. "The National Medical Library," Medical News (Philadelphia),
42 (1883): 419-420. urged that any national medical library remain
separate from the Library of Congress, and noted the tendency of
Congress to obey the wishes of physicians when these wishes are
"tolerably unanimous and clearly expressed."
24. Frederick Horner,
"A Plea for an American Medical Library," Medical and Surgical
Reporter (Philadelphia), 38 (1878): 449-450.
25. J. M. Toner,
"Report on the Practicability of Establishing a Library of American
Medical Works," Transactions of the American Medical Association,
20 (1869): -124; here p. .
26. "The Toner
Library," Medical News (Philadelphia), 40 (1882): 561.
27. Charles D.
Spivak, "The Medical Libraries of the United States," Philadelphia
Medical Journal, 2 (1898): 851-858; here p. 852.
28. John Shaw
Billings, "Who Founded the National Medical Library?", Medical Record
(New York), 17 (1880): 298-299.
29. W. L[ee], "Letter
from Washington: Medical Matters in Washington: National Medical
Library," Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 99 (1878):
30. [George F.
Shrady], "The National Medical Library," Medical Record (New York),
11 (1876): 447-448.
31. [George F.
Shrady], "The National Medical Library," Medical Record (New York),
13 (1878): 211-212.
32. For example:
Committee of the Medical Society of the County of New York, "The
National Medical Library," Medical Record (New York), 13 (1878):
33. S.D. Gross,
"Appropriation for the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office and
Medical Museum," Medical News (Philadelphia), 42 (1883): 563.
34. James S. Reeves,
"The Army Medical Museum and Library," Medical Record (New York),
23 (1883): 544-545.
35. Albert T.
Huntington, "The Medical Library Movement in the United States,"
Medical Library and Historical Journal, 2 (1904): 119-128, esp. p.
120: "... it is ... only within the last decade that the medical library
movement has become active and widespread." In 1904 Huntington could
write about the establishment of medical libraries as a fait accompli,
while just a decade earlier he would have had to be more polemical, to
persuade his readers of the need for such institutions. Even as late as
1899, articles such as William Browning's "Medical Libraries" (Philadelphia
Medical Journal, 3 : 1124-1125) were mainly polemical.
36. J. K. Lucker,
"The Evolution of Research Library Buildings," Computer Methods &
Progress in Biomedicine, 44, 3-4 (Sept. 1994): 155-160.
37. Bayard Holmes,
"The Medical Library for the Medical School or the Small Community,"
Bulletin of the American Academy of Medicine, 2 (1895-1897):
38. Charles D.
Spivak, "How Every Town May Secure a Medical Library," Medical News
(New York), 71 (1897): 443-444.
Historical Collections at Other Medical
Charles S. Bryan History of
Duke University Medical Center Library, History of
Medical Historical Library, Yale University
UTHSCSA Library, Special Collections
UAB Historical Collections, The University of Alabama
Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Special Collections
Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of
Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University
School of Medicine
Clendening History of Medicine Library & Museum
Countway Library of Medicine, Rare Books and Special
Collections, Harvard University
Lloyd Library and Museum
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, History &
Special Collections, UCLA
Moody Medical Library, Truman G. Blocker, Jr. History
of Medicine Collections, University of Texas Medical Branch
Rare Book and History Collection, New York Academy of
Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill
Other History of Medicine Resources
National Library of Medicine History of Medicine
History of the Health Sciences Section of the MLA
History of the Health Sciences WWW Links
American Association for the History of Medicine
Historical Medical Digital Library of the College of
Physicians of Philadelphia
The Reynolds Historical
Library is fortunate to have an extensive collection of primary and
secondary resource material relating to Civil War medicine. To get a
sense of the titles in the collection, please visit our online bibliography,
which has been divided into three tables.
Entries in the tables are sorted alphabetically by author or, where no
author is given, by title.
Please note: This bibliography was last
updated in June, 2009. For additional information regarding holdings,
search Horizon, Lister Hill Library's online catalog at
http://www.uab.edu/lister/ (The Reynolds is part
of Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences).
An excellent web-based
resource for Civil War medicine can be found at
Virginia Commonwealth University's Special Collections.
Also, Cornell University has contributed
the following important Civil War resources to the Making of America digital
Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion
(Washington: GPO, 1894-1922)
The War of the
Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies (Washington: GPO,
» Resource Guides
Civil War Medicine