Hours: Hours are extensive but vary; see website for details; Rare Books Room is open Monday Friday 9:00am–5:00pm
Location: McMaster University Medical Centre, 2nd Floor, Purple Section, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4P5
Access: Open to all McMaster University students and the general public; Rare Books Room is accessible by appointment only
Archivist/Librarian: Anne McKeage firstname.lastname@example.org; 905-525-9140 ext. 22928
Website address for Health Sciences Library: http://hsl.mcmaster.ca/
The HSL History of Health and Medicine section is home to an extensive collection on a number of topics, including military medicine, radiology, mental health and psychiatry. Strengths of the collection include annual reports from lunatic asylums in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and Australia; Dr. Peter Cockshott’s collection of historical radiology materials; hundreds of items in the Jeremias Collection of Classical Medical Papers; close to 100 nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canadian medical journals on microfiche and in hard copy; other primary materials such as ephemera (advertisements, almanacs, and posters with a focus on popular medicine, herbal medicine, and homeopathy); and the Oral History Collection created by Dr. Charles Roland, former Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine. The Roland collection includes tapes and transcripts on a variety of topics such as the founding of the McMaster University Medical School, First and Second World War prisoners of war, First World War nurses, medicine in the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Canadian medical experience in the early twentieth century.
These collections are housed in the C. Barber Mueller History of Health and Medicine Room and the adjacent Rare Books Room. The History of Medicine Room holds secondary sources on the history of health and medicine, including histories, biographies, and bibliographies, with an emphasis on the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canadian experience. Most of the items in the collection are available for circulation.
The Rare Books Room houses primary-source material published before 1920. In addition to many of the rare materials outlined above, the room houses early publications in Ontario public health, medical specialties, homeopathy, military medicine, and patent medicine, a collection of the great Canadian clinician William Osler’s publications, and a small collection of artifacts.
The Rare Books Room is an environmentally controlled space and many of its possessions are fragile. Please contact Anne McKeage (details above) to access the collection.
The HSL has digitized some of its collections, including free downloadable PDF files of rare books on influenza (1852–1913) and pediatrics (1832–1892).
Students may browse a series of online thematic resource guides to subjects in the history of health and medicine. The resource guides contain links to images, encyclopedia entries, bibliographies, digital collections, biographies, museums, and other sources of information. The guides, which are available here, include the following topics:
Please click for more information on the HSL archives.