Benson Reid Wilcox Historical Collections Reading Room
Reading Room for Special Collections Materials
Welcome to the Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library! We encourage the use of the library and its collections by students, scholars, visiting researchers, and the general public. In addition to a reading room devoted to the use of special collections materials, there are several quiet study areas available in the Health Sciences Library.
Following the completion by first-time research visitors of our registration process, in-person assistance with finding and retrieving special collections materials is provided in the Benson Reid Wilcox Historical Collections Reading Room, located on the 5th floor of the library.
The reading room is a secure space open only to those seeking assistance with or using collection materials. There are lockers available for personal belongings not permitted in the reading room. Wireless access is available in the reading room. Food and beverages of any kind are not permitted.
Other Study Spaces
Quiet study areas in the Health Sciences Library do not require registration. We welcome the use of these areas by anyone seeking a quiet place to study. Wireless access is available in these areas. Please note that the basement level of the Health Sciences Library houses historical materials that can be checked out and do not require viewing in the Wilcox Reading Room.
History of the Benson Reid Wilcox Historical Collections Reading Room
On January 14, 2011, the UNC Health Sciences Library (HSL) hosted a dedication ceremony to formally rename the Historical Collections Reading Room as “The Benson Reid Wilcox Historical Collections Reading Room.” The renaming honors the legacy and memory of Dr. Benson “Ben” Wilcox (1932-2010), a great friend of the HSL.
Dr. Wilcox was a 1957 graduate of the UNC School of Medicine and a retired heart surgeon who served 29 years as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to his generous financial support of the HSL, including a $225,000 bequest and $140,000 of gifts in-kind of rare books, Dr. Wilcox was an active member of the library’s Board of Visitors since 1995. He was also a longtime member of The Friends of the Health Sciences Library, a group of loyal library enthusiasts whose annual financial support is vital to the daily operations of the HSL.
Dr. Wilcox loved history, especially medical history. As a medical student at UNC, he helped found the Bullitt Club for the study of the history of medicine. When he became a faculty member, he began collecting old and rare books about the history of medicine, particularly books about thoracic surgery and the specialties that preceded it. Then, in 1998 and 1999, he donated most of his medical book collection to the HSL. Since then, the Benson Reid Wilcox Collection, cataloged and housed physically and virtually by the HSL on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, has grown to more than 1,400 books, journals, reprints and other items.