Special Collections

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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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Cooking with Special Collections, Episode 1

Happy Monday, and welcome to the first episode of “Cooking with Special Collections”! First up: vanilla ice cream from Fannie Merritt Farmer’s Food and cookery for the sick and convalescent (1911, located in UNC HSL Special Collections*).

This recipe is simple: mix together heavy cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and “a few grains of salt,” and then freeze it.

I’ll admit, I had my doubts. I’ve watched a lot of episodes of “Chopped” over the past several years, so I know that you must have an ice cream maker to make ice cream, right? Furthermore, what exactly does “a few grains of salt” really mean? 

I made the ice cream in the evening and tried it the next day (I might have eaten it for breakfast). To my surprise, it was pretty good! You’re probably not going to mistake it for Blue Bell, but my daughter did assure me that it was better than the ice cream at the museum. She also said there was too much vanilla in it, but that’s probably because I accidentally poured in way more vanilla than the recipe recommended.

So rest assured, if you really want ice cream, can’t get to the store, but have cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt in your kitchen, you’re still in luck!

*You can also link to the full-text via HathiTrust and Google Books from the catalog record.