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Medical History and Special Collections: Home

History of Medicine Collections

The History of Medicine Collections are part of the Rubenstein Library. See below for contact information.

General Reference Assistance
         Ask a Librarian

Need assistance with historical research?

Contact the History of Medicine Curator, Rachel Ingold.
         Box 90185
         Durham, NC 27708
         History of Medicine

Quiet Reading Room
Study Space

Reading Room

Level 1 - Room 102

Researchers, students and visitors are welcome to use this quiet study space. Occasionally it will be used for lectures and special events and will be closed.

Group Study Rooms

Level 1 - Room 102A, 102B, and 102D (Richmond House Room)



Books about the history of medicine are available at the Medical Center Library & Archives!  The Library has maintained a small historical collection of older medical texts (Medical Library Josiah Charles Trent Collection) as well as contemporary works on the history of medicine.  In addition the collection includes medical artifacts such as apothecary jars, instruments and equipment, and other items created by or relevant to Duke's role in medicine and the biomedical sciences.

  • Find information in our collection about the development of medicine as a profession, as well as scientific discoveries leading to today's diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions.
  • Borrow the early works of key leaders in medicine and science from the Klintworth collection, a beautiful collection of reproductions of major and rare works in the field.

Doing more extensive research?  Many other historical works are available in the .circulating collection on main campus.  The History of Medicine Collections Curator (see left hand box) can help you find older and rare books and other treasures housed in Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

Medical Center Archives: 

Medical Center Archives preserves the records and history of Duke Medicine and provides access to reports, records, images, and oral histories.   Or contact 919.383.2653

Books about Duke Medicine:

The Library has a number of books in its collection written about the founding of Duke Medicine.  This book is available for sale from the Library:

Foundations for Excellence: 75 years of Duke Medicine. Written by Walter E. Campbell. Duke University 2006.

A historical look at the development of Duke medical center, hospital, school of medicine, and research enterprise.

$10.00 Contact Library Administration 919.660.1150 for more information; copies are also for sale at the Library's Service Desk.

Additional special collections: 

The Library has these other special collections as well:

  • Historical Images in Medicine (HIM)
  • Duke Authors -  works by and about Duke Medicine
  • Medical Library Josiah Charles Trent Collection of older medical and scientific texts that provide examples of 19th and 20th century works in medicine
  • Medical instruments and artifacts (Level 1 lobby, Reading Room (102) and Richmond Room)
  • Medical Garden -- located on the rear Library terrace, just above the Searle Center terrace
  • Samples of older medical works, including the Netter illustrations series
  • Neurosurgical stereotactical devices exhibit (3rd floor)
  • 65th General Hospital paintings (3rd floor)
  • On-going exhibits created by the  Library and Archives

Unique Collections

65th General hospital

Painting of 65th General Hospital in World War II by Frank Beresford.  See the series on Library's 3rd level.

Citing Sources

Use the citing sources guide to cite special collection material in your work, including databases of digitized collections.