The Daily Dose Presents: The Osler Library of the History of Medicine

DailyDose2Welcome back to the Daily Dose! Today, we continue our feature series on digital collections by speaking with Christopher Lyons, Head of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University.

The Osler Library, a branch of the McGill University Library, is Canada’s foremost scholarly resource in the history of medicine. It also engages the public through a variety of digital platforms (including facebook and YouTube). Below is a brief explanation of these rich, ongoing projects. As with the posts on MHL and Yale’s collections, today’s post is one in a series and part of an ongoing conversation between curators, librarians and the public about the value of digital engagement. Thank you, Mr. Lyons!

Chimie; Bethmont, C., artist

The Library:

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine of McGill University began in 1929 with a donation from Sir William Osler of his library of 8,000 historical works in the fields of medicine and science, from an Assyrian clay tablet to the most up to date discoveries in the medical field.  We have been adding to our collection, which now encompasses about 100,000 item, including a large secondary collection of scholarship on the history of the health sciences.  You can find more info on this page.   We also have a short video that gives you some idea about who uses the library (including art historians): Osler Library video.

Major Digitisation Projects:

1.       The Osler Library Prints Collection: The Osler Library Prints Collection brings together a rich variety of visual documents related to the history of medicine, spanning several centuries, countries, and artistic media. Ranging from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, the collection consists predominantly of prints, though it also includes some photographs, drawings, posters, and cartoons. Medical professionals throughout history are represented largely through portraiture, as well as through caricatures and scenes. The images in this Aux Grands Maux les Grands Remèdes, Bellangé, H. collection, acquired from various donors at different times, are fascinating for both their historical significance and their artistic merit. Straddling the disciplines of art and science, the collection is a valuable resource on the history of medicine and the history of portraiture

2.       The William Osler Photo Collection:   This is a collection of approximately 400 photos of Sir William Osler and his family and circle from all phases of his life.

3.       The Marjorie Howard Futcher Photo Collection:   This is the digitised version of two photo albums which show the intersections between elite medicine and the Montreal social and economic elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

We also have a Library Blog!
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I hope you will take time to visit the digitized collections I have been covering here. Please stay tuned for more– and for future round-table discussions between and among the librarians and curators featured in this series!

“The Osler Library Prints Collection brings together a rich variety of visual documents related to the history of medicine, spanning several centuries, countries, and artistic media. Ranging from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, the collection consists predominantly of prints, though it also includes some photographs, drawings, posters, and cartoons. Medical professionals throughout history are represented largely through portraiture, as well as through caricatures and scenes.”

–from The Osler Library Prints Collection Homepage

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