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History of Medicine Collections: Rare Books and Manuscripts

Rare Books

Along with incunabula (books printed before 1501), the History of Medicine Collections also feature a wealth of rare print materials, such as Andreas Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica, a hand-colored copy of the first edition of Georg Bartisch's Opthalmodouleia, and a first edition of De motu cordis by Sir William Harvey 

Image from book of skeleton standing up with one hand resting on head and one hand resting on a skull on a pedestal

Collection Guides

Books and Journals

The History of Medicine Collections contains over 20,000 rare print items including books and journals. Please use the online catalog to search for items related to your research topic or interest.

You may search by:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Keyword
  • Subject Heading


Manuscript Collections

The following are just a few examples of manuscript collections pertaining to the history of medicine. You can search the catalog for manuscripts or search our collection guides by keyword.

Persian Manuscript


The History of Medicine's manuscript collection includes letters, diaries, lecture notes, physician day books, and account ledgers. The collection covers items as diverse as a seventeenth century copy of a late fourteenth century Persian treatise on anatomy to global health collections such as the Maria de Bruyn papers.  Also represented are large collections of manuscripts by Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Waterhouse, Pliny Earle, Silas Weir Mitchell, and Ellis Herndon Hudson.