UCL home page

UCL LIBRARY SERVICES

Library home » Reading Medicine » Clinical Sciences Library

Spacer

UCL Library Services

Explore

Magnifying glass image
Explore the Library’s books, journals and online resources. Find out more

 

 
Reading Medicine
Clinical Sciences Library
Scott, J. W. The Library of University College London
Reprinted from "The Libraries of London". [London] :
The Library Association, 1961

Bellot, H. H. University College London 1826-1926.
London: University of London Press, 1929. p417-426

Round the Library.
University College Hospital Magazine.
1941; 26: 119-121
Collections & Gifts
For the nineteenth century Medical Library, the William Sharpey and Robert Grant bequests in 1874 became a core part of the collection, comprising their personal libraries of works on anatomy, physiology and zoology. Scott and Bellot identified these as being amongst the most outstanding donations to UCL; Sharpey, a book collector as well as an eminent UCL physiologist, included a first edition of William Harvey's De motu cordis (1628) in his gift. Sharpey's first catalogue of the combined Sharpey-Grant library was the basis of a printed catalogue of the medical and biological libraries published in 1887 and the collection formed a significant part of the Medical Sciences Library (later known as the Thane Library) which opened as part of the new Anatomy Building in 1923.
Detail from Gersdorff's handbook of military surgery.
Detail from Gersdorff's handbook of military surgery.
Detail from Haly Abbas's Liber Totius Medicine Necessaria (1523) from the Sir John Tweedy bequest.
Detail from Haly Abbas's Liber Totius Medicine Necessaria (1523) from the Sir John Tweedy bequest.
The Medical School Library collections also developed through gifts and donations, both small and large. Prior to moving to the new premises, notable bequests by former UCL professors had included:
Clinical Surgery - Sir Richard Quain, 1877
Clinical Medicine - Dr Edmund Alexander Parkes, 1877
Clinical Surgery - Mr Marcus Beck, 1893
Clinical Medicine & Surgery - Sir John Eric Erichsen, 1894

In the year 1909-10 alone, 1478 volumes were donated, including the complete libraries of Dr H. R. Crocker and Dr F. T. Roberts. The Library's historical collections were further enhanced by another significant gift, approximately 230 volumes of sixteenth and seventeenth century medical texts bequeathed in 1924 from the estate of Sir John Tweedy, a former Professor of Ophthalmic Medicine and Surgery who also had a reputation as a classical scholar. Amongst these was Hans von Gersdorff's Feldtbuch der wundartzney. Newlich getrucht und gebessert (1530 edition), famous for being the first printed work to contain an illustration of an amputation.

Some of the highlights of the Medical School Library's collections were recommended in a piece in the UCH Magazine in 1941 - everything from editions of the works of Hippocrates, Vesalius, Fabricus, William Harvey, Sydenham and John Hunter through to the more recently established textbooks were held. Alas, the anonymous author went on to comment, "It's a good library. It seems a pity that no one uses it except to read the journals".

By 1981 the Library contained some 600 volumes of classic, early and rare medical books and an estimated total of 4,000 volumes published before 1851. Some of the most treasured materials, held at one time in the Medical School Library and now in UCL Special Collections, are the pathology drawings in watercolour by Sir Robert Carswell (1793-1857), which illustrated his Pathological Anatomy: Illustrations of the Elementary Forms of Disease published in 1838.

Detail from Sir Charles Bell's Engravings of the Arteries (2nd ed., 1806).
Detail from Sir Charles Bell's Engravings of the Arteries (2nd ed., 1806).
- View full sized image
Sir Robert Carswell's drawing of Atrophy from his atlas of pathological anatomy.
Sir Robert Carswell's drawing of Atrophy from his atlas of pathological anatomy.
New materials were also acquired with monies received in an annual grant from the School or through departmental purchases which were then presented to the library. Additionally there have been special funds such as the Dr Crocker bequest which at one time paid for new works to update the dermatology section. More recently, since 1979 the Library has been fortunate to receive income from a fund established by Mr Bernard Harries, Dean of the Medical School from 1966-1972, to buy textbooks for undergraduate medical students.

Another collection which came under the supervision of the Medical School Librarian was the Graham Library set up in 1912 from the legacy of Charles Graham, Professor of Chemical Pathology at UCL from 1878-1888 (the fund also provided grants for fifteen members of research staff in the Medical School's laboratories). Comprising primarily research-level pathology, oncology and biochemistry materials, at the beginning there were 31 journals in the collection; by 1981 this had increased to 50. Originally on the third floor, then on the ground floor, in 1983 the collection moved to a room linked to the Library gallery before the journals were finally absorbed into the Library, many being duplicated in the Thane Library.

 

Last modified 19 April 2007

 
University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999-