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Rochester Public Library
Local History and Genealogy Division

115 South Avenue
Rochester, New York 14604
United States
Christine L. Ridarsky, Historical Services Consultant
1 585-428-8370
Fax: 585-428-8353

The Local History and Genealogy Division has two major collections of medical history information. These consist of the Dr. George W. Goler Papers (Rochester city health officer 1896-1932), and the Records of the Health Association of Rochester and Monroe County (1920s-1980s). All items must be used on site (there is no inter-library loan of them), and there may be photocopying restrictions depending on the physical condition of an item. Photography is allowed. Reference service is available 7 days a week in person or via email, phone, or letter. Public access for research in the collection is free. Staff does not do research. Additional information concerning various medical personnel (1936-present) may be available in photograph, pamphlet, and newspaper clippings files.


The Goler Papers consist of records covering the years 1892-1932. Dr. George W. Goler (1864-1940) was the Director of the Board of Health in Rochester, New York. The collection comprises approximately 30 linear feet It includes correspondence, laboratory reports, articles, and notes of Dr. Goler. Subjects include contraception, air quality, child care, drugs, sanitation, housing, influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, insects and vermin, venereal disease and its treatment (especially as related to the "Rochester method" of treatment), testing and purification of milk, water supply protection, smallpox vaccination, diphtheria anti-toxin, and other topics related to public health in Rochester, NY. Supplemented by a "Guide to the Goler Collection (Dr. George W. Goler, Rochester Health Officer) in the Local History Division, RPL", by Shirley Iversen, [Rochester, N.Y.: Rochester Public Library, 1979], containing a detailed inventory and description of contents. The entire collection consists of 75 Hollinger boxes.

The Health Association collection consists of 12 boxes of items related to the operations of the Association, 1920s-1980s. These include correspondence, advertising materials, 200 colored glass slides used in public health presentations (covering communicable disease, venereal diseases sanitation etc.). A detailed inventory is available in the division. The collection also includes five scrapbooks with about 200 photos of hospitals, patients, etc.

Subject Strengths:
History of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases; History of Public Health
Last Updated:
16 Apr 2013