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The Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology (WLM)

520 N. Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068-2573
United States
Karen Bieterman, Librarian
(847) 825-5586
1 847-825-5586
Fax: (847) 825-2085

The WLM collects materials in all formats that document the history of anesthesia and the current practice of anesthesiology, world-wide. The WLM is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of certain holidays. The Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology (WLM) will close its museum gallery for remodeling beginning August 1, 2010. The library and other WLM services will remain open throughout this remodeling project. Visitors are advised to make an appointment to be certain of receiving assistance. Reference requests by letter, telephone, fax, or e-mail are also welcomed. SERVICES: Interlibrary loans, production of photographic copy prints, photocopying, online literature searches, research assistance, and traveling exhibits program. Access to some collections may be limited by donor agreements and by the physical condition of the material. The WLM is a private institution, and reserves the right to decline requests for access or other services.


The library holds one of the largest collections in the world dedicated to anesthesiology and closely allied subjects, with over 13,000 monographs and 100 foreign and domestic journal titles and related newsletters. In addition, the K. Garth Huston Rare Book Room holds a comprehensive collection of rare literature on the introduction of surgical anesthesia, and seminal works leading to the discovery of anesthesia, published from the 16th century to the present. The strengths of the collection include mesmerism, resuscitation, pain medicine, obstetric anesthesia, gas chemistry, pharmacology, and physiology. WLM also endeavors to build a comprehensive collection of 19th-century medical journals in the English language. 150 linear feet in extent, the collections of organizational archives include the records of local, regional, national and international professional societies, as well as those of numerous subspecialty societies. Among these are the archives of the WLM's parent organization, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, as well as the Association of University Anesthesiologists, the International Anesthesia Research Society, the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia, the Society for Education in Anesthesia, and the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists. Over 200 linear feet in extent, the manuscript collections include the personal papers of Drs. Dennis E. Jackson, John S. Lundy, Albert H. Miller, Henry S. Ruth, Ralph M. Waters, Paul M. Wood, and others who have made significant contributions to the specialty. 800 liner feet in extent, the museum collection includes hand-held instruments, anesthesia machines, anesthetic and analgesic agent packaging, and memorabilia. These artifacts date from ancient times to the present, with an emphasis on the era of modern surgical anesthesia, beginning in the 1840s. Highlights of this collection are exhibited in a gallery that comprises fifty unique displays. A list of the WLM's traveling exhibits is available on request. Over 100 linear feet in extent, the ephemera collections include vertical files of biographical information, reprints, advertising, product literature and histories of the companies producing and distributing anesthetic agents and equipment, organizational histories, and related subject files. The Defalque Chloroform Collection and the Gill Curare Collection are of special interest. Additional materials include issues of newspapers and other publications, programs of events, and posters. The audiovisual collection consists of over 40 linear feet of photographic images, 250 audio recordings, and 500 reel-to-reel films and videotapes. These include images, films and recordings produced by individuals, academic institutions and professional organizations, as well as commercial productions. The John W. Pender Living History Collection is an ongoing series of videotaped interviews with leaders in the profession. To date, over 200 of these interviews have been produced by the WLM. Together with the Anesthesia History Association, the WLM co-publishes the quarterly "Bulletin of Anesthesia History." The WLM also functions as a non-profit publisher, on the model of a university press. New books on the history of anesthesia are published annually, including the series of popular autobiographies, "Careers in Anesthesiology," as well as original translations of medical classics pertaining to this field. The WLM also publishes facsimile reprints of selected titles from its collection of rare books. A catalog of WLM publications is available on request.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia; History of Gynecology and Obstetrics; History of Medicine; History of Pain Management; History of Pharmacology and Pharmacy; History of Physiology; History of Quackery and Health Fraud; History of Resuscitation
Last Updated:
08 Jan 2016