NLM logo

Pennsylvania Hospital
Historic Collections

800 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
United States
Stacey Peeples, Archivist
(215) 829-5434
1 215-829-5434
Fax: (215) 829-7155

The Historic Library of Pennsylvania Hospital holds a unique collection of medical books, pamphlets, and journals, which served as a working library for the staff and students of the Hospital from 1762 to 1940. The Archives of the Hospital is comprised of many types of historic records and manuscripts, which chronicle the history of the institution since its founding in 1751. The collections represent a major research resource for the scholarly study of the first hospital in the nation, as well as documenting early theory and practice of American medicine and psychiatry. Other special collections include photographs, artifacts, fine art, and decorative art. SERVICES: The Historic Library and Archives are open to researchers, though appointments with the Archivist must be made in advance. Researchers use records on microfilm when possible. Photocopying of original material at discretion of Archivist. Photo reproductions possible.


Archives (1751-present): approximately 2,500 linear feet of records of the Hospital, the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital (formerly Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane); records of affiliate institutions (the Philadelphia Lying-In Charity, the Maternity Hospital, and their nurse-training schools, the Philadelphia and Southern Dispensaries; the Preston Retreat; the Humane Society, and the Nurse Charity). Historic Library (1483-1930): 13,000 volumes, primarily European and American medical texts on materia medica, surgery, psychiatry, life sciences, natural history, botanicals, and anatomical atlases. Photographs: 22,000 images (albumen, magic lantern slides, silver gelatin, and color). A sample may be viewed at: . Artifacts (1700-present): medical and scientific equipment and kits and personal belongings of staff members. Browsing collections in the Medical Library complement materials found in Historic Collections.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anatomy; History of Botany; History of Hospitals; History of Psychiatry; History of Surgery; History of the Practice of Medicine; Materia Medica
Last Updated:
24 Apr 2017