The Leo J. McCarthy, MD, History of Medicine Room contains the History of Medicine special collection. This collection consists of approximately 3,500 books, including significant books on the American Revolutionary War and early American surgery. Browse an abbreviated catalog of the collection.
The Ruth Lilly Medical Library History of Medicine Special Collection, though modest in its approximately 3500 items, includes several books of significant historical value: American Revolutionary War, early American surgery, editions of Renaissance medicine and European science, anatomical and medical plates of quality, colored botanicals, uncommon signatures by leading practitioners and, correspondence related to the unfortunate outcomes of mid-19th century tuberculosis. Items in this collection considered important assets to scholarship and furthering an understanding of the history of medicine, as printed, practiced and experienced, including books published as early as 1542. The collection contains bindings in a variety of materials and styles, a full range of sizes and quality, printed in Latin, English, German, and French.
The opportunities for study and research are diverse; the material is well suited for deeper mapping, can act as an enhancement to the scientific element of medical practice. To handle a first edition of America’s first systematic text on surgery or, to examine the highest quality reproductions of Vesalius prints no longer available increases one’s appreciation, can be said to induce shivers of awe and inspiration. In an ever-increasing age of technological development, steeping oneself in an object from a previous century, signed by an important figure, can be a touchstone to our cultural heritage. Some of the more interesting and finer objects can be found in the abbreviated catalog of the collection.
Visit the collection on the third floor of the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, room 307. After a generous gift in May of 2015, the room was named for Leo J. McCarthy, MD. The room is open for study Monday through Friday, 10 am until 2 pm; special hours may be scheduled by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.