International Medical Theses Collection
In 2004, the UNC Health Sciences Library acquired a large historical collection of International Medical Theses donated by the New York Academy of Medicine. The collection consists of tens of thousands of post-1801 theses in multiple languages from prominent medical schools throughout the world. Europe is well represented, with many theses originating from universities in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Countries with lesser quantities in the collection include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Algiers, Indonesia, and others.
Useful for anyone interested in tracing the development of clinical and scientific inquiry in medical schools in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the collection is also notable for providing a record of the entry of women into the profession of medicine. Women denied entrance into American medical schools, for instance, sometimes turned to Europe for a chance to pursue their studies. One such pioneer is Dr. Susan J. Dimock, who was born in 1847 in Washington, North Carolina. Rejected at Harvard, she was subsequently admitted to the University of Zurich and completed her medical degree in 1871 with a defense of her dissertation (lower right) on the various forms of puerperal (or “childbed”) fever that she observed in Zurich maternity clinics.
As one of its digital initiatives, the Health Sciences Library has digitized Dr. Dimock’s dissertation, and made a selection of others available online as well. A guide to the collection will also be published online as the collection is further processed, which will aid researchers in mining it for historical and empirical material.