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Archives and Manuscripts

NLM historical collections house a large collection of archives and manuscripts related the history of medicine. Most of the archival and manuscript material dates from the 17th century; however, the Library owns about 200 pre-1601 Western and Islamic manuscripts. The oldest item in the Library is an Arabic manuscript on gastrointestinal diseases from al-Razi's The Comprehensive Book on Medicine (Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb) dated 1094. Significant modern collections include the papers of U.S. Surgeons General, including C. Everett Koop, and the papers of Nobel Prize-winning scientists, particularly those connected with NIH.

  • What are archives?

    Archives are organized collections of records pertaining to an organization or institution.

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  • What are manuscripts?

    Manuscripts are unpublished hand- or typewritten material. Manuscripts can be unpublished books, letters, articles, documents, or other compositions. Modern manuscripts are usually defined as manuscripts written after 1600.

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