Hours: closed summer 2015, see website
Location: 411 Chapel Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Access: contact library before visiting, must register, need at least 2 full business days to retrieve material
Website address: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/
The History of Medicine Collection consists of over 20,000 rare and unique medical books and journals. Print items are augmented by several thousand manuscripts and numerous medically related instruments, artifacts, prints, photographs, and ephemera. The collections document the history of health sciences from the 12th-century to the 20th-century. Collection strengths include anesthesia; human sexuality; materia medica; pediatrics; psychiatry; vivisection; and yellow fever. Highlights of the collection include a 12th century copy of the Pantegni, a Latin translation of an Arabic text that became the leading Western medical textbook; a first edition of the classics of medical history including De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius and De motu cordis by William Harvey; The Four Seasons, a unique set of seventeenth-century copperplate engravings with moveable flaps illustrating human anatomy along with allusions to alchemy, astronomy and botany; manuscripts by Benjamin Rush, an 18th-century physician and U.S. founding father; and the largest collection of ivory anatomical manikins in North America. The Four Season is also available in an interactive digital format.
The History of Medicine artifacts collection, 1550-1980s, contains historical medical instruments and artifacts, art objects, realia, and other three-dimensional objects related to the history of medicine, primarily originating from Europe and the United States, but including some artifacts from China and Japan. Ranging in age from the late 16th to the late 20th centuries, objects include medical kits and pharmaceutical items (often in the original cases and bags); equipment used in amputation, obstetrics, opthalmology, surgery, urology, neurology, early electrical therapies, and in research and diagnostic settings; instructional objects such as anatomical models and figurines; and other objects such as apothecary jars, cupping glasses, infant feeders, a bas-relief memento mori, and fetish figures. There are many models of microscopes and stethoscopes, dating from the 17th to the 20th century. The Library provides a guide to the collection and some of the collection has been digitized.
The History of Medicine picture file, 1523-2002, offers thousands of small and large images of individuals, places, and subjects, with the great majority portraying physicians, scientists, nurses, and other individuals related to the history or practice of medicine. Places featured include hospitals and other institutions of medicine, and scenes related to events in medical history. Subject categories include advertising, anatomy, books, caricatures, childbirth, embryology, medical instruments, pediatrics, physicians, and surgery, among many others. The predominant formats are engravings, lithographs, print materials (such as posters, clippings, and postcards), and modern photographic prints, but there are also albumen photographs, negatives, and other image formats found throughout the files.
The Japanese medical manuscript notebooks, 1810-1849, consists of 63 manuscripts, ranging from 10 to 154 pages, were created in Japan from about 1810 to 1849, chiefly by medical students. The notebooks usually take one of two forms: transcriptions of lectures and demonstrations, and bodies of knowledge written up as manuals by well-known Japanese physicians of the time, especially Hanaoka Seishū and Takenaka Bunpō. Topics covered include herbal medicines and other prescriptions; treatments for diseases of the eyes and other parts of the head; surgery, particularly for cancers, tumors, and fistulas; breast cancer; smallpox; scurvy; osteopathy; treatment of wounds; suturing; hematology; gynecology and obstetrics; and pediatric medicine. Some notebooks contain black-and-white and color hand-drawn illustrations - many full-page - of surgeries, close-ups of suturing, bandages and wrappings, osteopathic manipulations, and medicinal plants. In most cases, the author or copyist recorded details such the place and time of the lecture and the name of the medical school. There are references in the notes to at least a dozen other contemporary or earlier physicians, and to earlier dates for the work being copied - these range from 1677 to 1796.
The Library also offers Digital Collections. These collections include digitized historic photographs, advertisements, texts and more from the library collections. Some of the featured online collections are: Emergence of Advertising in America; Medicine & Madison Avenue; and Slave Voices. The History of Medicine collection also has a digital exhibit of Animated Anatomies, highlighting anatomical flap books. In connection the Duke University Medical Center Archives, there is also a digital resource called MEDSpace: Duke Medicine Digital Repository, which is searchable. MEDSpace includes over 600 historical images from the Duke Medical Center Archives; more than 3,000 historical images from the History of Medicine Collections, as well as journal articles and reports.
The Library also offers History of Medicine Travel Grants.