Special Collections

Need to schedule an appointment?

Dawne Lucas
Dawne Lucas, MA, MLS
Special Collections Librarian

Visit HSL Special Collections in the Wilcox Reading Room, located on the 5th floor of the Health Sciences Library!

Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library (HSL) includes materials such as:

  • printed works (books, pamphlets, journals, broadsides, posters, and ephemera)
  • manuscripts
  • letters
  • photographs
  • student notebooks
  • medical illustrations
  • medical instruments
  • pharmacy artifacts


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.


A few noteworthy items among many are:


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.

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Corset-related maladies were a very real concern in the 19th century.  By wearing tightly-laced corsets, not only did women alter their body’s natural shape, but they also compressed their organs and bones.  This led to severe damage (especially when young girls were corset-trained before they reached adulthood) and created issues with the digestive system, respiratory system, heart, and spinal column.

*Image taken from the Phrenological Journal v. 3 (1871, located in the UNC HSL Special Collections)*