Resources in the History of Medicine


Western Libraries, History of Medicine Collection

  • Rare Books at Western LibrariesAn extensive collection, Western’s collection includes medical textbooks used for teaching by Medical Faculty at Western since its inception in 1881 as well as historical books acquired and donated by individuals including Dr. J. W. Crane (Professor of Pharmacology about 1920-1945) and Dr. Lloyd G. Stevenson (Western University medical graduate about 1945, PhD in History of Medicine from Yale, Dean of Medicine McGill, Welch Professor of History of Medicine at Johns-Hopkins University).
  • Notable treasures in this collection include:
    1. the anatomical atlases of Vesalius, Eustachius, Albinus, and others dating from the 16th C.
    2. the extensive collection of Charles Darwin material donated by Dr. Robert Haines including the first edition of The Origin of Species.
    3. the collection of Hippocrates editions in Greek beginning from the first edition (1526).
    4. the large collection of French Encyclopédies which contain many medical articles.
    5. many Canadian works by writers such as William Osler, Fredrick Banting, J.B. Collip

Western Libraries, Scholarship @ Western

  • UWOMJ - University of Western Ontario Medical Journal
  • Now fully searchable -- all issues digitized from Vol 1, No. 1 (Oct 1930) to present day
  • For example, search "Osler" and find out that famed neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield was Honorary President of the Osler Society (at Western) and delivered the presidential address in 1941. Penfield invented the Montreal procedure, which destroyed specific nerve cells linked to seizures in patients suffering severe epilepsy

The Medical Artifact Collection at Western

  • Shelley McKellar, Curator and Michelle Hamilton, Collections Manager
  • The Medical Artifact Collection at Western is a meaningful study collection for members of the university and medical communities interested in material culture, object study, regional practices as well as any number of themes in the history of health and medicine. The collection contains approximately 1,200 objects, ranging from bloodletting instruments and surgical sets to microscopes and pharmaceuticals, representative of late 19th- and early to mid-20th century practice and teaching of health and medicine in southwestern Ontario. Our mandate is to collect, preserve, research and make accessible such material history within this region and time period.

    In the early 1920s, Western’s Faculty of Medicine began to collect artifacts from students, alumni, faculty and local doctors for a medical history museum. Artifacts were displayed in the library, the alumni office, and the laboratory of Professor James Crane (1877-1959), who championed the initiative. Over the next several decades a sizable collection of 19th and 20th century objects emerged, including bloodletting instruments, military surgical sets, microscopes, and various diagnostic and dental equipment. After Crane retired, the medical librarian cared for the collection. In the 1960s, a committee led by Professor Murray Barr (1908-95) of the Department of Anatomy began planning an official museum, and in 1972, the Medical Museum and Archives opened in the newly built University Hospital.

Online Archive of the History Surgery in Canada

  • The History of Surgery in Canada is an open-access archive of Canadian surgery. Articles that have been published elsewhere are posted with the permission of the copyright holders. Citation should be made to the journal in which the articles were first published.