The Clendening History of Medicine Library at the University of Kansas contains over 40,000 volumes of rare, historical medical books and manuscripts. The library also has an extensive collection of monographs and periodicals in the history of medicine, medical humanities and biomedical ethics. Some personal medical papers and archival records are found in the library's collections, but the majority of those materials are housed in the KUMC Archives. The library’s special collections include the Ralph Hermon Major Collection of folio editions; Thor Jager Collection of pathology and Rudolf Virchow materials; Russell L. Haden Collection (hematology, microscopy); Edward H. Skinner Collection; Logan Clendening Anesthesia Collection; Medical Prints; and, the Arthur E. Hertzler Papers. Some of these have finding aids available online. Some of the special collection material has been included in the digital collection.
The library also has a digital collection, Digital Clendening, with eight separate digital collections. The digital collection is searchable. The digital collections are:
Rare Text images includes hundreds of images from medical and natural history texts, most of which were printed before 1800. They are organized by theme: diagnostics, human body, imaging, instruments, physician-patient culture, portraits, public health, reproduction, reproduction instruments, and therapeutics.
The Florence Nightingale Letters includes 39 letters, with more letters coming soon.
The Ralph Major Photograph/Slide Collection includes photographs and slides of images dating from antiquity to the 20th century, which former Ralph Major used in his lectures on the history of medicine.
The Clendening Library Portrait Collection contains more than 500 portraits of physicians and scientists.
The Japanese Medical Prints resource is a small collection of woodblocks and paintings donated by Dr Matthew Pickard before 1940.
The Chinese Public Health Posters includes 25 posters, although not all have been translated.
The library has approximately 12 linear feet of archival material related to Samuel J. Crumbine, who worked as secretary of the Kansas Board of Health in the early 20th century. The Samuel Crumbine Papers digital collection is a still a work in progress, and currently only features an inventory of the archival collection.
The library contains the personal writings of 19th century pathologist Dr Rudolf Virchow, including personal letters, documents, and a dozen original manuscripts. Some of this material has been translated and is available online.