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Howe Library
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

Archive; Library
243 Charles Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
United States
Chris Nims, Library and Archives Director
(617) 573-3664
1 617-573-3196
Fax: (617) 573-3370

The Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Archives and Rare Book Library contains the historical records of the hospital documenting its teaching, research, administrative, and health care delivery functions from 1824 to the present. It also contains the records of the New England Ophthalmological Society. Materials do not circulate but can be used onsite. Library Director can arrange for copying or photography when appropriate. Reference service is available.


The rare book collection contains approximately 2,000 monographs in ophthalmology and otolaryngology dating from the 16th to the early 20th century. Included are a Vesalius and a Bartisch. The manuscript collection consists of over 3,324 linear feet of records including institutional publications, committee papers, slides, 2,500 photographs, blueprints, original and early patient records in ledgers and the correspondence of the founders and early staff. The collection also contains the personal papers of selected individuals of significance to the hospital and the records of the New England Ophthalmological Society. There is a large instrument collection. There is also a large collection of antique eyeglasses and hearing aides and devices. Finally, there is a collection of objects extracted from the ears and noses of patients.

Subject Strengths:
History of Hospitals; History of Ophthalmology and Optometry; History of Otorhinolaryngology
Last Updated:
15 May 2020