Special Collections

VesaliusPlate

Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library (HSL) include not only printed works, such as books, pamphlets, journals, broadsides, posters, and ephemera, but also manuscripts, letters, photographs, student notebooks, drawings, and other documents, as well as medical instruments, artifacts, models, and other cultural objects. These materials range in date from the 1500s to the present day, encompassing the history of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, public health, and the allied medical sciences. The history of the health sciences in North Carolina is strongly represented.

Medical Instruments

Printed rare books and manuscripts, the Historical Collection, make up a significant portion of Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library. Just a few noteworthy items among many are, Vesalius' 1543 anatomical classic, De Humani Corporis Fabrica; Edward Jenner's 1798 work on smallpox, An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae . . .; and The Confederate States Medical and Surgical Journal.

Nightingale Letter

However, Special Collections at the HSL encompasses far more than rare books.

Manuscripts, letters, photographs, student notebooks, drawings, and other documents can be located using the Archival Finding Aids.

Endowed collections, donor collections and gifts of all kinds are grouped together as Named Collections.

Abernethey Autograph and Portrait

And in this modern, digital age, when boundaries between collections tend to blur, you may find items from any of these collections also listed as part of the HSL’s Online Collections.

The mission of Special Collections at the HSL is to provide a secure and controlled environment for materials of historic value, fragile condition, or those requiring special treatment, and to provide research services and related programming in the history of the health sciences, such as exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and other events.

Phrenology Bust