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Special Collections and Rare Books Room: Home

Our Mission: To enrich the educational and research experience of our faculty and students by providing access to historic writings and artifacts that inform an understanding of the past, illuminate their specialties, and encourage further research.

Special Collections

The Special Collection has about 450 different historical artifacts relating to medicine from around the world. Some of the pieces will probably make you very happy with modern medicines like our giant syringes, amputating kit, and bloodletting tools.

The Preston Smith Library officially opened its Rare Books Room in 2001 but has been collecting rare books and medical artifacts since it opened. The books in our collection date back to the mid 1500’s and cover a wide range of medical topics such as anatomy, surgery, treatments, and specialized practices.

The Collection is a window into how the health sciences have been evolving in subject knowledge and practice in addition to how health and scientific research were thought of in culture. It provides visitors with a rare chance to connect with a past that is full of bold inquisition, exploration, and the occasional misstep.

Rare Books Room

Our collection of about 1,800 rare books contains many books that helped shape the medical field. It includes Andreas Vesalius’s works on anatomy, Robert Hooke’s Micrograhia, Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, and Sigmund Freud’s Die Infantile Cerebrallahmung, among other influential medical writings.

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