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Medical History and Special Collections: Special Collections

Instruments and Artifacts

As part of the "Medical Library's Josiah Charles Trent Collection", there are apothecary jars, medical instruments, and other artifacts relating to medicine and health care, as well as items developed by or relevant to Duke Health.  Please contact Medical Librarian for more information about this collection.

The History of Medicine Collections on main campus have an extensive collection.

Here are some examples of the Medical Center Library's collection.

Apothecary pitcherapothecary jar medicine chest and scalesmicroscope



Medical History Materials

The Library still retains "The Medical Library's Josiah Charles Trent Collection", a small collection of books about the history of medicine and scientific discoveries. Older historical works provide examples of texts written in the 19th and 20th century that can be used for exhibits and education. Contemporary works about the history of health professions, medical discoveries, and health issues in society are also part of the general circulating and Engel collections. This smaller collection also has reference materials about instruments, apothecary jars, and medicinal plants, as well as the complete series of Netter illustrations.

Search the Duke catalog for titles in our collection and on main campus.  You can have main campus circulating books delivered to the Medical Center Library by clicking the Delivery button on the right hand side of the record in the online catalog.

Engel Collection

More a leisure or recreational reading collection, the Engel collection contains books of wide general or scientific interest, including:

  • health and policy issues facing society
  • personal medical experiences of professionals and patients
  • works about social issues such as economics, technology, etc.
  • beautiful collections of photographs and illustrations on various topics

One of the most popular collections in the Library, the the Engel Collection was created to honor Dr. Frank Libman Engel (prior chief of endocrinology) who loved medicine, but enjoyed many other things. His colleagues created this special reading collection to broaden the interests and horizons of medical students.

The collection is located on the 1st level, in the lower level lobby area.

Duke Authors

The Duke Authors Collection was created to preserve a copy of materials authored or edited by both individuals (faculty or staff) and departments at Duke.

The Library encourages Duke Medicine authors to donate two copies of their books to the Library.  A signed copy for the Duke authors collection and a second one for the circulating collection.  The Library will acknowledge your donation of your work!  For more information contact Megan von Isenburg or call 660-1150.

In addition to works by individual authors, there other Duke publications such as formularies, procedure manuals, directories, the Medical School yearbook (Aesculapian) and publications on the university as a whole.


Using the Online Catalog to Find Books

The History of Medicine retains a variety of rare and unique medical books and journals.  Search the online catalog to find materials.

Finding Medical History Images