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

Directory of History of Medicine Collections


Wilson Special Collections Library,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Campus Box #3936, 200 South Road University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27515
United States
Jason Tomberlin, Head of Research and Instructional Services
1 919-962-3765
Fax: ---

The Wilson Special Collections Library houses numerous rare books and manuscript collections pertaining to the history of the health sciences. Materials do not circulate, but are available to any researcher with valid photo identification. Reproduction options are available depending on the condition of the material. The Special Collections Research Room is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays, except for University Holidays.


Carl W. Gottschalk was a world-renowned renal physiologist and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Carl W. Gottschalk Collection on the Human Kidney, part of the Rare Book Collection, is one of the most comprehensive ever formed on the anatomy and physiology of the kidney. It includes many landmark volumes in the history of medicine, including Bartolomeo Eustachius's Opuscula Anatomica of 1564, containing the first treatise devoted to the kidney, and an English edition of Albinus's Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body, published in 1749.

The Health Sciences History Collection, part of the Rare Book Collection, contains rare books and manuscript collections formerly housed at UNC’s Health Sciences Library. Materials range in date from the 1500s to the present, and primarily cover topics pertaining to medicine, public health, nursing, pharmacy, and dentistry that reflect the history and practice of health disciplines. Noteworthy holdings include letters of Florence Nightingale, a hand-colored 1543 edition of Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica, four-volumes of Herbarium Blackwellianum (1754-1760), and a collection of medical and dental tools, including battlefield surgical kits. Important donations include more than 1,400 volumes from Dr. Benson Reid Wilcox, a noted cardiovascular surgeon and rare medical book collector at the University of North Carolina; more than 160 volumes on the history of orthodontics and dental medicine donated by Dr. Sheldon Peck; research papers and prepublication sketches of Frank Netter; and more than 200,000 theses from medical schools worldwide.

UNC’s Southern Historical Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, North Carolina Collection, and University Archives & Records Management Services include numerous books, manuscript collections, photographic collections, university records series, and oral histories pertaining to the history of the health sciences in the southern United States. Materials range in date from the 1700s to the present. Of note are the Richardson-Vicks, Inc., Records; the North Carolina Good Health Association Records; and the Sally Lucas Jean Papers.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anatomy; History of Botany; History of Cardiology; History of Dentistry; History of Medical Education; History of Medicine; History of Pharmacology and Pharmacy; History of Physiology; History of Public Health; History of Urology; Local History; Materia Medica
Last Updated:
22 Apr 2019