United States National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
History of Medicine

Directory of History of Medicine Collections


Historical Collections
New York Academy of Medicine Library

1216 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10029
United States
Arlene Shaner, MA, MLS., Historical Collections Librarian
(212) 822-7313
1 212-822-7315
Fax: ---

Initially established as a medical collection for the use of physicians, the Library opened to the public in 1878. As a working professional library, the collection’s primary focus was first in contemporary medicine, but soon extended to rare and historical materials. The Library's current focus has shifted to building on its historical holdings, including current works in the history of medicine. The Library houses much of its rare book collection in the Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room, which also contains many secondary sources in the history of medicine, the history of books and printing, medical bibliography, biography and dictionaries. Manuscripts and archives include the Academy's own archives, the archives of a number of professional societies and organizations, case books, medical student notebooks, and culinary and medicinal receipt books. These archives serve as a primary resource for the history of health administration, medical education, public health, and medical practice in New York City. SERVICES: reference, interlibrary loan, photo duplication


Incunabula: 164 titles; 16th century: 2,100 titles; 17th century: 2,700 titles; 18th century: 7,300 titles; 19th century: 46,000 titles. Classics: 16th century European works, with special emphasis on anatomy and surgery. Works from other time periods: originals, translations, reprints of Aristotle, Galen, Hippocrates, Avicenna, Ketham, Malpighi, Jenner, etc. Original editions by the great men of science: Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Bacon, etc. Manuscripts: over 2,000, notably Apicius, De re culinaria (9th century) and Guy de Chauliac (15th century). Subject areas: plagues and epidemics; astrology and the occult; popular healing with emphases on diet, balneology, cookery and nutrition; medical Americana (late 17th to mid 19th century); European medical dissertations (17th to 19th century); early works on cardiology, including the two first editions of Harvey's De motu cordis... (1628); broadsides (16th 19th century) on such topics as public health and food regulation. The named special collections include, but are not limited to: Michael M. Davis Collection of Social and Economic Aspects of Medicine; Margaret Barclay Wilson Collection on Food and Cookery; Hayes Martin Collection of 17th through 20th century engravings and woodcuts; Beekman Collection of Hunteriana; Rufus Cole Collection of works by and about Francesco Redi and his circle; Harms Collection of pre 1900 psychiatry and psychology. The collections of portraits of physicians and illustrations of medical activities include over 275,000 items. Printed Catalogs: Portrait Catalog (3rd Supplement, 1976), Illustration Catalog (3rd Supplement, 1976), Author Catalog of the Library (1st Supplement, 1974); Subject Catalog of the Library (1st Supplement, 1974); Catalog of Biographies in the Library (1960).

Subject Strengths:
History of Alternative Medicine; History of Anatomy; History of Botany; History of Cardiology; History of Cookery and Nutrition; History of Dermatology; History of Health Regulation; History of Homeopathy; History of Medicine; History of Public Health; History of Social Medicine, History of Women's Health, History of Pediatrics, History of Astronomy, History of Astrology; History of Surgery; Local History
Last Updated:
28 Jun 2019