Osler Library of the History of Medicine

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Osler Library of the History of Medicine
Interior view from the second floor of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine
Type a branch of the McGill University Library, Academic information repository and research resource
Established 1929
Collection
Items collected current publications on medical history, historic texts, reference collection, archives, manuscripts
Criteria for collection history of medicine,
Other information
Director Christopher Lyons
Staff 4
Website [1]

The Osler Library, a branch of the McGill University Library, is Canada's foremost scholarly resource in the history of medicine, and one of the most important libraries of its type in North America.

Collection[edit]

The nucleus of the Library is the collection of 8,000 rare and historic works on the history of medicine and allied subjects presented to the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University by Sir William Osler (1849–1919). Sir William's original collection is described in the printed catalogue, Bibliotheca Osleriana, and information on the whole of the printed collection and much of the manuscript collections is listed in the McGill University online catalogue, [2]. (The Bibliotheca Osleriana is also available as a (paid) e-book from McGill-Queens University Press.) Since the opening of the Library in 1929, the collection has continued to grow by purchase, gift, and transfer (particularly, in the latter case, of older health-related books from McGill's former Medical library and Life Sciences Library.)

In addition to the Osler Library's holdings of rare and old books, there is a strong circulating collection of current secondary works and modern editions of historic texts, as well as a reference collection, archives and manuscripts, portraits and artifacts. In particular, the Osler Library has a large collection of incunabula (over 150 volumes), an outstanding collection of editions of the works of Sir Thomas Browne (author of Religio Medici, the 17th century classic), and a collection of some 30,000 19th century French medical theses, primarily from Paris.

History[edit]

Osler Library interior in 1925

Percy Erskine Nobbs started the design of the Osler library within the Strathcona Medical Building (now the Strathcona Anatomy and Dentistry Building), and the library officially opened there in May 1929. In 1965, both the contents of the library and the interior oak paneling and shelving were moved to their present location within the newly built McIntyre Medical Sciences Building. The Osler Library was expanded and renovated in 2001-02.

In the design of the Osler Library at McGill everything has been subordinated to the books themselves which are arranged in full view behind glazed doors. The fittings and furnishings of the Osler Library were designed by Nobbs & Hyde[1] The stained glass window in the Osler Room depicts the staff and serpent, symbols of healing associated with the Greek god Asclepius, and a held-out book representing the university. It was designed by architect Percy Nobbs.[2]

After their deaths, the ashes of both Sir William and Lady Osler were placed in a niche within the library so that they continue to be surrounded by Sir William's favourite books.

Partnerships and collaboration[edit]

The McGill University Library is a member of the Association of Research Libraries, Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and is a contributor to the Open Content Alliance.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Osler Library Montreal, Canada, (7/1922-3/1923)". The architecture of Percy Erskine Nobbs digital exhibition. McGill University Library. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Dysert, Anna. "Osler Library FAQs". De re medica : Osler library of the history of medicine blog. McGill University Library. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 

External links[edit]