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Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
The Historical Library
Yale University

333 Cedar Street, P.O. Box 208014
New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8014
United States
Melissa Grafe, John R. Bumstead Librarian for Medical History
1 203-785-1192
Fax: (203)785-5636

The Historical Library of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library holds one of the largest medical historical collections in the world. It was founded in 1941 through the joint efforts of Harvey Cushing, John F. Fulton, and Arnold C. Klebs, whose rare books formed the core of the collection. In the 1940s, all medical books and journals from the main Yale library were transferred to the Medical Library. The collection has grown through donations and endowment funds. The Historical Library houses all medical library books before 1900 and all journals before 1921. It covers Western medicine, medical sciences, and healthcare broadly conceived. It includes the Streeter Collection of Weights and Measures, the Clements C. Fry Collection of Prints and Drawings, and manuscripts from the 13th to 20th century (but not the official archives of the Medical School). SERVICES: interlibrary loan (circulating items and PDs of short items), reference questions concerning our collections, and limited microfilming, photocopying, and photographic reproduction. All books have records in the online catalog. Medical Digital Library:


Collection includes 125,000 rare book and journal volumes: Classics (works of authors born before 1475): 3,000 titles; incunabula: 325 titles; 16th century: 3,000 titles; 17th century: 5,500 titles; 18th century: 9,500 titles; 19th century: 20,000 titles; periodicals before 1921. In addition, there are almanacs; medical school catalogs; hospital annual reports; Yale and Connecticut-related pamphlets and ephemera; pamphlets of medical organizations; prints, drawings, and posters: 3,000 items; portrait engravings: over 2,000 items (now online); photographs; medical instruments; and current books and periodicals in the history of medicine. Special collections within the Historical Library include works of Hippocrates, Galen, Vesalius, Harvey, Boyle, and S. Weir Mitchell and subject collections including Ichthyology: 500 titles; Herbals: 300 titles; Inoculation/vaccination: 1,400 titles; and Anesthesia: 400 titles. Printed Catalogs: Harvey Cushing Collection of Books and Manuscripts (1943). Susan Wheeler, Five Hundred Years of Medicine in Art: An Illustrated Catalogue of Prints and Drawings in the Clements C. Fry Collection in the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library at Yale University (2001). Guide to the library on the web.

Subject Strengths:
History of Medicine
Last Updated:
24 Apr 2017