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History of Medicine

Digital collections

Digital collections and online exhibitions in the history of the health sciences

  • Alberta Medical History Collection Contains information on the history of medicine in Western Canada and digitized versions of several early Canadian medical journals and books.
  • Alchemy Website This site provides a great deal of digitized textual and visual material, articles, bibliographies and general reference material on alchemy.
  • Alexander Street Counseling Online collection of videos for the study of counseling, social work, psychotherapy, psychology, and psychiatric counseling.
  • American Memory Created by the Library of Congress, this browsable and searchable site is a treasure trove of a variety of historical digitised American material, such as photographs, advertisements, texts and recordings. The site includes historical health material.
  • Antiqua Medicina: From Homer to Vesalius An on-line exhibition which includes sections such as Medicine in Mythology and LiteratureWomen in MedicineAncient GynecologyByzantine Medicine, and Surgery and Surgical Instruments.
  • Antique Spectacles and Other Vision Aids An online museum and encyclopedia of vision aids.
  • Asclepion Indiana University, Bloomington. This site is based on the history course Ancient Medicine, taught by Professor Nancy Demand at Indiana University Bloomington.
  • Ask Osleriana A searchable database of Osler essays, such as the collection "Aequanimitas and Other Essays" and Harvey Cushing's biography "The Life of Sir William Osler" (1925). There are also abstracts of papers given at some of the annual meetings of the American Osler Society.
  • Bakken Artifacts Database (History of Magnetism and Electricity and their uses in Medicine and the Life Sciences). Produced by The Bakken Library and Museum.
  • Bedlam: Custody Care and Cure 1247-1997 Museum of London. This exhibition features the 750-year-old story of Bethlem Royal Hospital, popularly known as Bedlam, the world's oldest institution caring for people with mental disorders.
  • Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de Santé, Paris Links to a number of history of medicine and dentistry resources. There is also a listing of digitized historical works arranged by subject.
  • Canadian Army medical War Diaries, First World War, 1914-1918 This is a hyperlinked list of the war diaries digitsed by Library and Archives Canada. There is also a list of dental and veterinary units.
  • Canadian Nursing History Collection The Canadian Nursing History Collection is a rich repository of artifacts and documents held by the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum and Library and Archives Canada (LAC). LAC also hosts a collection of photographs of Canadian nurses.
  • Catholic Health Alliance of Canada An online collection of digitized books and booklets on the history of Catholic hospitals and Catholic nursing schools in Canada.
  • Changing The Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians An exhibit from the National Institutes of Health.
  • Chemical Heritage Foundation Provides access to a number of online exhibits on history of chemistry and alchemy.
  • Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics This is an online collection of digitized copies of books, serials, pamphlets, incunabula, visual material and manuscripts, a total of more than 500,000 pages, relating to the history of diseases and epidemics worldwide, and is organized around significant “episodes” of contagious disease. The material is drawn from several Harvard libraries.
  • Counseling and Psychotherapy Transcripts Database of 2,000+ transcripts of counseling and therapy sessions and 44,000 pages of first-person narratives illuminating the experience of mental illness and treatment. Also includes secondary reference works material.
  • CPHA 100: Celebrating a Century of Public Health Leadership The Canadian Public Health Association's website has a considerable amount of historical information.
  • Darwin Online - The Complete Works of Charles Darwin Online "This site contains Darwin's complete publications, thousands of handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published; also hundreds of supplementary works: biographies, obituaries, reviews, reference works and more." The site was created by the University of Cambridge.
  • Delta Omega Classicas Delta Omega classics are important texts, which have been deemed public health classics by the national council. They are generally out of print, or not widely available in libraries. Delta Omega has sponsored the reprinting of many of these classics on a limited basis.
  • Digitised books This is a listing of major digitised book collections, such as Project Gutenberg, which include medical texts.
  • Drug Trade: Therapy, Pharmacy and Commerce in Early Modern Europe A virtual exhibit of pharmacy jars and herbals by the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University.
  • Early Canadiana Online Contains digitzed rare books, periodicals, and government publications from Canada from the 1600s through the 1940s, including The Montreal Medical Journal and others. Search the "Health and Medicine" collection.
  • ECHO Science & Virtual Technology Center Echo's research center catalogues, annotates, and reviews sites on the history of science, technology, and industry. You can browse the database by topic, (including the life sciences and medicine/behavioural sciences) time period, publisher or content.
  • From Quackery to Bacteriology: The Emergence of Modern Medicine in 19th Century America Traces the development of medicine through printed works and includes topics related to women's health, mental health, public health, and preventative medicine.
  • Gallica Digitized books, dictionaries and periodicals spanning many centuries, including medical and related works. This site is maintained by the National Library of France, so almost all works are in French.
  • Herbal Medicine Classic Works in Herbal Medicine SouthWest School of Botanical Medicine, Brisbe, AZ Describes and makes available the work of John Uri Lloyd, Otto Mausert, Benjamin Colby.
  • The Healing Power of Plants A site on the uses and history of medicinal plants created by the Coalition of Canadian Healthcare Museums and Archives.
  • History and Policy Offers historical perspectives on British health and welfare policy. This site is a unique collaboration between the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London and the University of Cambridge.
  • History of Human Genetics at McGill This is a brief history of the department and its work at McGill.
  • History of Medicine Days University of Calgary. Contains the proceedings of the, student, History of Medicine Days. conferences 2000+.
  • History of Phrenology on the Web John van Wyhe - "the most comprehensive website for the history of phrenology".
  • History of the McGill Physiology Deparment A brief history of the department, including biographical sketches of the chairs, written by former chair Dr. George Mandl
  • In Quarantine: Life and Death on Grosse Ile, 1832-1937 / En quarantaine : la vie et la mort à la Grosse-Île, 1832-1937
    Through a variety of documents preserved and digitized by Library and Archives Canada (LAC), such as lists of births and deaths at sea, hospital registers, journals, letters, photographs and maps, In Quarantine: Life and Death on Grosse Île, 1832-1937 tells the story not only of the quarantine station, but also of the individuals who experienced life on the island.
  • In the First Person - An Index to Letters, Diaries and Personal Narratives This is a searchable, indexed database of over 2, 500 collections of oral histories and related material held in universities and other repositories in the United States and Canada, with some listings from other countries. Some listings includefull text transcripts of interviews, for which one can search specifically.

    Collections focusing on medical content can be found using health, medical care and other subject terms listed in the All Subjects section of the site.

  • James Lind Library A digital library that documents the evolution of fair tests of medical treatments. Produced by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
  • John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center The website of the centre, in Houston, Texas, includes links to a digitized edition of William Osler's The Principles and Practice of Medicine (the first and 4th editions) and various others works.
  • John Snow Prepared by the School of Public Health at UCLA on John Snow, the pioneer epidemiologist and anaesthetist.
  • Lepramuseum Münster-Kinderhaus A site, in German, on the history of leprosy.
  • Livingstone Online Colonial explorer and Dr. David Livingstone's correspondence.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital Nursing History An online exhibition of historical photos.
  • Medical Heritage Library.  This is a growing collection of digitized medical rare books, pamphlets, journals, and films numbering in the tens of thousands, contributed by a number of libraries in North America and Europe.  These are available through the Internet Archive.
  • Medical History of British India There are a number of digitised reports relating to disease and public health in India in the 19th and 20th centuries drawn from the collection of the National Library of Scotland
  • Medicina Antiqua A scholarly introduction to the history of medicine with lists of resources, essays, and English translations of some important ancient medical works. Hosted by the University College London Centre for the History of Medicine.
  • Medicine and Madison Avenue This website explores the complex relationships between modern medicine and modern advertising.
  • Medicine in the Americas 1610-1914: A Digital Library A collection of scanned books representing different periods and aspects of U.S. medical history created by the National Library of Medicine This is an ongoing project in which more material should be added, including works from Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Muslims and Medical History Information on Islamic medicine.
  • National Museum of Health and Medicine The NMHM site has digtized works on U.S. Military Medicine from the nineteenth and 20th centuries and virtual exhibitions.
  • Nuremberg Trials Project - Case One Medical Trial Digitized documents from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal's prosecution of German doctors after the Second World War.
  • Object Lessons The online version of the University of Edinburgh's exhibition of artifacts relating to the major themes of Space, Bodies – Inside and Out, The Human Face, Sounds, Landscape and the Environment.
  • Physicians’ Reflections on Fifty Years of Patient Care: 1954-2004 30 short essays written by graduates of the 1954 Medical School Class of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry about how changes in medicine have affected their relationship with patients and patient care.
  • Sciences and Machines: Scientific and Technological Development since 1800 A virtual exhibition from the European Library, an online portal that gives access to European collections. Includes numerous medical works.
  • The System and Method of Medicine An online tutorial in medical thinking and clinical judgement based on the teachings of Sir William Osler.
  • Thomas Shapter: The History of the Cholera in Exeter 1832 Dr. Thomas Shapter,(1809-1902) was born in Gibraltar, graduated from Edinburgh University, and arrived in Exeter in the year cholera arrived, 1832. Today, Dr. Shapter is best known for the account he wrote of this devastating cholera outbreak - a copy of which is in the Osler Library.
  • Time, Tide and Tonics: The Patent Medicine Almanac in America A short exhibit of historical medical almanacs, which includes many scans, from the collection of the National Library of Medicine.
  • Turning the Pages Digital reproductions of five classic medical works: Robert Hooke's " Micrographia"; Andreas Vesalius' "De Humani Corporis Fabrica" (On the Fabric of the Human Body); "Historiae Animalium" (Studies on Animals), by Konrad Gesner; "Oeuvres" (Collected Works) by Ambrose Paré and Johannes de Ketham's "Fasiculo de Medicina" (the first illustrated printed medical book).
  • US Surgeon General's Office. Office of Medical History Links to a number of online histories and publication dealing with military medicine in the United States.
  • Wellcome Moving Image and Sound Collection An open access archive of historical medical films from the Wellcome Library. It has particularly strong holdings in public health information films, surgical training films, and broadcast radio and television programmes.
  • Wellcome Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue Medical and health-related archive material from antiquity to the present, including medical treatises and lecture notes, case books and diaries, ledgers and accounts, recipe books, laboratory notes and correspondence.
  • Wilder Penfield Digital Collection A searchable database with a digitized selection of materials from the Osler Library's archival fonds of celebrated neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield.
  • World Health Organization. WHO Library Historical Resources The historical collection of WHO has digitized documents produced by WHO and the Office international d'Hygiène publique (OIHP) on epidemics, such as plague, cholera, yellow fever, smallpox and malaria. The site also has a collection of historical digitized books on the subjects.

List of history of medicine e-journals

A list of e-journals in the history of health sciences, both free and requiring authentication, has been created by David S. Crawford, Emeritus Librarian, McGill University.

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