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History of Medicine

The Mayo History of Medicine Library houses important collections in the history of medicine and sciences. Several thousand volumes of rare medical classics (from 1479) and early journal literature (from 1665) comprise the core collection of primary literature on all aspects of medicine and allied fields. Early medical imprints (pre-1875) and more recently published histories, biographies, facsimiles, and other support material comprise the remainder of the collection of some 23,000 volumes. Nonbook special collections include: medical bookplates; Vanity Fair caricatures of physicians and scientists; photographs of selected Nobel laureates and Mayo Clinic staff; caricatures of medical specialists by Bavarian wood-carvers; Mayo Clinic-related cartoons; medical philately and heraldry.

Medical works of scholarly significance, first descriptions, classic accounts as well as works which help explain the development of medicine, and works which enhance the physician's understanding of the art of medicine are selected for the collection. Special strengths include anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, immunology, ophthalmology, and neurology.

Resources within the Mayo History of Medicine Library may be used with prior approval and by appointment. Contemporary support materials (recently published historical accounts, biographies, etc.) are available for circulation to authorized users. Research assistance in identifying historical works, reference verification, and other literature research assistance can also be arranged.

The Mayo Foundation History of Medicine Society Lecture Series is free and open to patients, visitors, and the community. Call 507-284-3676 for more information.

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