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History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine

Archive; Library
8600 Rockville Pike Building 28, Rm. 1E21
Bethesda, Maryland 20894
United States
Crystal Smith, Reference Librarian
301 827 4568
1 301-402-8878
Fax: (301) 402-0872

The History of Medicine Division maintains one of the world's finest collections of medical history, including the history of the biological sciences, public health, and other health-related disciplines. Holdings consist of monographs and serials; modern manuscripts -; medical archives; pamphlets; theses; prints and photographs, including a collection of medical bookplates; historical audiovisuals, including scripts, production and use files, and published reviews; East Asian collection of printed books, manuscripts, and visual material in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean; incunabula; Arabic, Persian, and early Western manuscripts; college catalogs; government documents. SERVICES: interlibrary loan; reference questions dealing with the Division's holdings; microfilming; photocopying; reproduction of prints, photographs, and audio-visuals; indexing of secondary literature in the history of medicine (included in PubMed); seminars and special lectures; exhibitions program. All reproductions subject to copyright and other restrictions. Publications: Bibliography of the History of Medicine (published 1964-1993); Directory of History of Medicine Collections. See fact sheets at

For Online Reference Support please go to: NLM Customer Support


Incunabula: 568 titles; early Western manuscripts: 90; Arabic and Persian manuscripts: 139; 16th century: 5,697 titles; 17th century: 13,450 titles; 18th century: 38,500 titles; 19th century: 66,000 titles. Pamphlets: 76,940; theses: 281,784; bound serials: 26,750; East Asian collection. Over 9,100 linear feet of modern manuscript materials, 1600 to the present; more than 250 oral histories, over 69,000 prints and photographs (Images from the History of Medicine); 5,300 titles of historic films and videotapes, and a digital collection of over 16,000 items of papers of prominent scientists in biomedicine, including some who have received the Nobel prize.

ONLINE CATALOGS: Search LocatorPlus (see address above) for monographs, manuscripts, serials, and audiovisuals. Theses, some pamphlets, East Asian collection, and early Western manuscripts not yet in LocatorPlus. Index Cat,, the online version of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, U. S. Army (61 volumes in 5 series, 1880-1961), Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) available in HMD Reading Room and online - See HMD home page for links to Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine, Profiles in Science, Finding Aids for Selected Modern Manuscript Collections, Directory of History of Medicine Collections, Early Western Manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine: A Short Title List. Consult Fact Sheets (via NLM Home Page) for further information.

PRINTED CATALOGS: For searching many HMD materials, especially pamphlets, dissertations, and journal articles from the 19th and early 20th centuries, this title is invaluable: Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office, U.S. Army (61 volumes in 5 series, 1880-1961). (NLM was formerly the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office.) Although not as current as online catalogs, the following are useful: Richard J. Durling, A Catalogue of Sixteenth Century Printed Books in the National Library of Medicine (1967); Peter A. Krivatsy, A Catalogue of Sixteenth Century Printed Books in the National Library of Medicine First Supplement (1971) and A Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Printed Books in the National Library of Medicine (1989); John B. Blake, A Short Title Catalogue of Eighteenth Century Printed Books in the National Library of Medicine (1979); Dorothy M. Schullian, A Catalogue of Incunabula and Manuscripts in the Army Medical Library (1950); Early Western Manuscripts in The National Library of Medicine, A Short-Title List (1989).

Subject Strengths:
History of Medicine
Last Updated:
13 Aug 2021