The Osler Library has around 100,000 works including older, rare materials as well as current books and periodicals about the history of the health sciences and related areas. The Osler Library is a major resource centre for historical research in the health sciences and is the international centre for the study of Sir William Osler and the Oslerian tradition.
The Anatomical Atlases collection includes early printed anatomy works, such as Johannes de Ketham’s 1500 edition of Mondino dei Luzzi’s De anatomia, Andrea Vesalius’s 1543 De humani corporis fabrica, and Jacques Gautier d’Agoty’s Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps human.
The Bibliotheca Osleriana includes editions of the classical works attributed to Hippocrates (460–375 BCE), Aristotle (384–322 BCE), and Galen (130–200 CE); and literary works related to medicine, including an extensive collection of works by Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682).
The Frank Dawson Adams Collection includes over 1500 volumes on geology, mineralogy, volcanology, and paleontology. The publications range from the 15th to 20th centuries.
The Norman Bethune Collection contains correspondence to and from Norman Bethune; and examples of his medical and political writings, such as material produced with the Montreal Group for the Security of the People’s Health during the 1930s. There is also a great deal of Chinese and Canadian secondary material from the 1960s and 1970s that document the growing interest in Bethune. This includes b and other writings, an original play about Bethune’s life, a documentary script, and various memorabilia (e.g. commemorative stamps, brochures, pamphlets, buttons and pins, posters, and fliers).
The Osler Library Almanac Collection consists of approximately three hundred medical almanacs from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, most of which were printed by drug manufacturers. They are an important source of information about the lay medical culture of the period. The majority of almanacs in the collection were published in Canada, including Le livre de songes de Cléopâtre, published in French in Brockville, Ontario, and Morristown, New York, sometime between 1857 and 1881.
The Paris Medical Theses Collection contains over 30,000 medical theses produced by graduates of the elite Faculté de médecine de Paris between 1796 and 1920.
The Sir William Osler Collection, distinct from the Bibliotheca, is an extensive archival holding of Osler’s correspondence (including 1,800 original letters), daybooks, notebooks, lectures, and book invoices, as well as photographs. The collection also contains various family papers, including the correspondence of Lady Grace Revere Osler.
The Wilder Penfield Archive contains approximately sixty meters of correspondence, photographs, illustrations, diaries, manuscripts, and other artifacts, documenting almost every aspect of Dr. Penfield’s personal life and professional career.
The Osler Library Archives has over 100 collections of papers by or about doctors, medical students and organisations, including Sir William Osler, Wilder Penfield and Maude Abbott. The Archives is searchable online.
The Osler Library also offers digital collection, especially of images. The Osler Library Prints Collection brings together a rich variety of visual documents related to the history of medicine, spanning several centuries, countries, and artistic media. Ranging from the 17th to the 20th century, the collection consists predominantly of prints, though it also includes some photographs, drawings, posters, and cartoons. Medical professionals throughout history are represented largely through portraiture, as well as through caricatures and scenes.
The William Osler Photo Collection chronicles Sir William's life from his childhood in the Canadian wilderness to his medical education at McGill University, his innovative days as a doctor and teacher in Canada and the United States, and the final years of his life in Oxford, England. The collection is searchable online.
The Marjorie Howard Futcher Photo Collection consists of two photo albums of images from the 1890s and first decade of the twentieth century.
The William Osler Letter Index provides an index of the thousands of letters to and from Sir William Osler and other material collected by Dr. Harvey Cushing (1869-1939) for his 1925 biography The Life of William Osler. It also provides information on other Osler letters found in various archival fonds held by the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University.
Ask Osleriana is a searchable database of Osler essays, such as the collection "Aequanimitas and Other Essays" and Harvey Cushing's biography "The Life of Sir William Osler" (1925). There are also abstracts of papers given at some of the annual meetings of the American Osler Society.
The Osler Library also offers research and travel grants for students and scholars. Information about The Dr. Edward H. Bensley Osler Library Research Travel Grant can be found here. The Mary Louise Nickerson Fellowship in Neuro History information can be found here. The Dr. Dimitrije Pivnicki Award in Neuro and Psychiatric History information can be found here.
The Osler Library also offers exhibits and events, some of which are available online. Continuity & Change: 175 Years of the McGill Life Sciences Library is an online exhibit about the history of the library.
Celebrating the Contributions of William Osler, 1849-1919 is an online collection of photographs, full text reproductions of some works and letters, plus some biographical information created by the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.