PMID: 5901363Jan 1, 1966

American medical literary firsts, 1700--1820, in the Countway Library

Bulletin of the Medical Library Association
J Q Cantu


A combination of two major collections, those of the Harvard Medical and the Boston Medical Libraries, took place at a formal dedication of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine in May of 1965. As a result of this unification the historian may now consult many significant primary source materials in one research collection in Boston. Many of these works are early imprints of medical Americana. This paper discusses twenty-four imprints, from 1700 to 1820, which were firsts of their kind in American medical literature. Presented are the first American medical publication, book, pharmacopeia, mortality statistics, anatomical illustrations, transactions of a medical society, medical journal, textbook of obstetrics, medical dictionary, textbook of medicine, and official pharmacopeia. Also discussed are the first works in this country on smallpox inoculation, scarlet fever, pleurisy, public health, medical education, medical ethics, the history of medicine, surgery, epidemiology, smallpox vaccination, dentistry, meningitis, and psychiatry. An exhibit of these items in the Countway Library is planned for the spring and summer of 1966.

Related Concepts

Libraries, Medical
Historical Events, 18th Century
Historical Events, 19th Century

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