Boston Medical Library

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Coordinates: 42°20′6.89″N 71°6′14″W / 42.3352472°N 71.10389°W / 42.3352472; -71.10389 (The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) The Boston Medical Library (est. 1875) of Boston, Massachusetts, which evolved into the "largest academic medical library in the world," was originally organized to alleviate the problem that had emerged due to the scattered distribution of medical texts throughout the city.

Early history[edit]

In 1875, the Society for Medical Observation, the Society for Medical Improvement, the Treadwell Library at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Public Library all had volumes of information that needed to be more accessible to physicians.[1] This was the second attempt to create a medical library in the city;[2] the first attempt was in 1805.[3] This second library was incorporated with the first "as an independent institution under the control of the profession as a whole".[4] James Read Chadwick, a gynecologist, collected books, pamphlets, and medical periodicals and make this material accessible to the practicing physician. It later became the later the Boston Medical Library (BML).[5] Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Parkman Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Harvard,[2] served as the BML’s first president and writer Librarian.[1]

The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine[edit]

In 1960, the BML and the Harvard Medical Library combined their collections. Dean of Harvard Medical School George Packer Berry named it The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Countway, a purveyor of soap and high-school dropout, had become the president of the United States branch of Lever Brothers at the age of 42. Countway's wealth was considerable; in 1941, he received the seventh highest salary and compensation package in the U.S., $439,813, on which he paid 70% in tax.[6] After his death, his sister gave 3.5 million dollars of Countway's fortune toward a new library at Berry's request.[2]

Current developments[edit]

In 1999, the Rare Books and Special Collections Department of the Countway Library assumed custodial responsibility for the Warren Anatomical Museum, which houses the skull of Phineas Gage.[7] The department was renamed the Center for the History of Medicine in 2004.[8] The New England Journal of Medicine noted that The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine loaned out material from the 19th century in order to make the 2010 electronic-conversion of the complete journal possible as paper copies of some issues of the Journal were found missing from the Journal's own paper archive.[9]

According to the History of Medicine Division of the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine, The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is the "largest academic medical library in the world, and its collection include rare and historical materials that can be numbered among the largest in the world".[10]

Collections[edit]

Boston Medical Library comprises the following collections:[11]

  • In 1972, Robert Goldwyn established The National Archives of Plastic Surgery.[12]
  • History of medicine (802 incunabula)
  • European books printed 16th–20th centuries
  • English books published 1475–20th century, American books 18th–20th centuries, Bostoniana
  • Medical Hebraica and Judaica 14th–20th centuries
  • Manuscripts and archives, especially of New England origin (20 million items)
  • Medical library of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (900 titles)
  • Warren Library of early works in surgery (2,000 volumes)
  • Friedrich Tiedemann collection of anatomy and physiology (4,000 items)
  • Historical Collection in [Radiology]
  • Medical prints, photographs and artwork (35,000)
  • Renowned collection of medical medals (6,000)
  • Archives of Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health
  • The Archives for Women in medicine

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chadwick, J. R. (1903). "The Boston Medical Library". Medical library and historical journal 1 (2): 126.122–135. PMC 1692114. PMID 18340795. 
  2. ^ a b c Hawes, L. E. (1975). "Countway — A New Harvard Eponym". New England Journal of Medicine 292 (24): 1294–1295. doi:10.1056/NEJM197506122922411. PMID 1093027. 
  3. ^ Garland, J. E. (1975). "Centennial Salute to Boston Medical Library". New England Journal of Medicine 293 (17): 874–875. doi:10.1056/NEJM197510232931712. PMID 1101056. 
  4. ^ Chadwick, J. R. (1903). "The Boston Medical Library". Medical library and historical journal 1 (2): 126.122–135. PMC 1692114. PMID 18340795. 
  5. ^ Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine, "About the Center," http://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/about/history.html, Accessed 15 May 2011
  6. ^ Business Day. "Compensation and the I.R.S.: It's not the 'Good' Old Days". New York Times. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  7. ^ Countway Library of Medicine, Warren Anatomical Museum (WAM), The Phineas Gage Case, http://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/warren/exhibits.html, Accessed 15 May 2011.
  8. ^ Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine, "About the Center," http://www.countway.harvard.edu/menuNavigation/chom/warren/exhibits.html, Accessed 15 May 2011.
  9. ^ Campion, E. W.; Miller, P. W.; Costello, J.; Duff, E.; Drazen, J. M. (2010). "TheJournalfrom 1812 to 1989 at NEJM.org". New England Journal of Medicine 363 (12): 1175–1176. doi:10.1056/NEJMe1009367. PMID 20843253. 
  10. ^ Directory of History of Medicine Collections, National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine, http://wwwcf.nlm.nih.gov/hmddirectory/directory/collections.cfm?ID=118&savems=getms, Accessed 15 May 2011.
  11. ^ http://hms.harvard.edu/hms/facts.asp, Accessed March 15, 2011.
  12. ^ http://www.countway.harvard.edu/chm/rarebooks/exhibits/plastic_surgery/index.html, Accessed March 13, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]