The History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine is advancing history through its public service and partnerships.
As stewards of a world-renowned collection that spans ten centuries we engage in forward-looking activities to provide wider and more comprehensive access to collections, reach new audiences, and to collect and preserve the historical materials of the future.
Research and Curation
NLM curators, fellows, collaborators, and guests continually study and interpret our rich historical collections. New research by staff, fellows, collaborators and others appears regularly.
Engaging New Audiences
From grade school to graduate school, online and in the community, new audiences are finding NLM historical collections relevant and reachable. Our traveling exhibitions bring NLM collections and resources into communities and classrooms around the world. You can explore a variety of topics in the history of medicine online and browse NLM collections in related digital galleries.
We are making NLM digitized collections and databases available to researchers who want to mine, analyze, and interpret data using new research tools and methodologies, such as those of the digital humanities. We actively engage in partnerships and NEH funded workshops to increase and support new forms of data-driven historical research in digitized materials and databases.
The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine, established in 2016 and supported by a generous gift from The DeBakey Medical Foundation, supports research in the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine.
We are methodically digitizing our vast physical collections, and making them available online, through a variety of programs and partnerships. Discover our holdings via NLM Digital Collections and Profiles in Science.
Learn about our work in cooperation with the Wellcome Trust to make more historical medical journals available in PubMed Central (PMC).
And read about our exhibition loans of rare books and other materials to institutions like the Smithsonian Institution, the National Building Museum and The Cloisters at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Preserving Unique Medical Heritage
As a national library, NLM holds in the public trust unique items spanning ten centuries and originating from nearly every part of the globe. These items tell stories of the people, places, and ideas that inform the history of human health and disease. The collection encompasses a variety of physical and digital formats, each with their own preservation challenges.
NLM conservation staff provide assessments, stabilization, and treatment of physical collections for loan, display, digitization, and other uses. The conservation staff conduct new, collaborative research and develop protective housing and storage for rare and unique documents.
At the same time, NLM is building capacity to acquire, preserve, and provide access to diverse digital formats, on the web and elsewhere, which illuminate health care in the 21st century. We are partners with the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, a consortium of organizations committed to the long-term preservation of digital information.
Staff Publications by Date
Greenberg, Stephen J. “The Hunt for the Unicorn: Special Collections in Medical Libraries,” in Susan Kendall (ed.) Health Sciences Collection Management for the 21st Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. “‘A Noble Experiment in Human Values’: The Children’s Television Series Vegetable Soup and its Initiative to Change the Environment for Racism in 1970s America.” Journal of Popular Film and Television, forthcoming.
Speaker, Susan L. “An Historical Overview of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, 1985–2015.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 106, no. 2, 2018.
Tuohy, Patricia, and Melanie Welch. “Traveling Exhibitions are Catalysts for Community Engagement,” in Ryan Sittler and Terra Rogerson (eds.) Library Outreach: A Casebook of Applications (or The Library Outreach Casebook). Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries, forthcoming.
Tuohy, Patricia, and Judith Eannarino. “Reading Graphic Medicine at the National Library of Medicine.” Journal of the Medical Library Association, forthcoming.Close Close All Open All
Bailey, Jefferson, Abigail Grotke, Edward McCain, Christie Moffatt, and Nicholas Taylor. “Web Archiving in the United States: A 2016 Survey.” Library of Congress: National Digital Stewardship Alliance, 2017.
Greenberg, Stephen J. “History Matters.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 105, no. 1, 2017.
———. “Between the Sheets.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 105, no. 4, 2017.
———. “Whither Sir William?” Journal of the Medical Library Association 105, no. 2, 2017.
Herro, Holly, Scott Nolley, Wendy Cowan, and Kristi Wright, “Oil on Paper: A Collaborative Conservation Challenge.” The Book and Paper Group Annual of the American Institute of for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works 36, 2017.
Koyle, Kenneth M. Review of John M. Kinder, Paying with Their Bodies: American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015) in Marine Corps History 3, no. 2, 2017.
Newmark, Jill. “Reflections on History and Harry Potter at the US National Library of Medicine.” Society for History of the Federal Government: The Federalist, second series, no. 56, Winter 2017.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. “Sense and Sensibility: The Power of Print in Post-War Recuperation,” in Nicholas Saunders and Paul Cornish (eds.), Conflict and the Senses. New York: Routledge, Material Culture, Conflict and Modernity series, 2017.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. and E. Thomas Ewing, “History matters…through partnerships that advance research, education, and public service.” Journal of the Medical Library Association, 105 no. 3, 2017.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. and Frederick W Gibbs. “Teaching and Researching the History of Medicine in the Era of (Big) Data: Introduction.” Medical History 61, no. 1, 2017.
———. Teaching and Researching the History of Medicine in the Era of (Big) Data: Reflections.” Medical History 61, no. 4, 2017.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. and Kenneth M. Koyle, with staff of the US National Library of Medicine. Images of America: US National Library of Medicine. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2017.Close Close All Open All
Greenberg, Stephen J. “Erich Meyerhoff, AHIP, FMLA, 1919–2015: A remembrance” Journal of the Medical Library Association 104, no. 4, 2016.
Herro, Holly and Kristi Wright. “Tracking Color Shift in Ballpoint Pen Ink Using Photoshop Assisted Spectroscopy: A Nondestructive Technique Developed to Rehouse a Nobel Laureate’s Manuscript.” The American Archivist 79, no. 1, 2016.
Rees, John P., John P. Doyle, and Doron Shalvi. “The Evolution of Motion Picture Digitization at the National Library of Medicine.” Proceedings of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2016.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. “Digitization, Big Data, and the Future of the Medical Humanities: Reflections.” Medical History 60, no. 2, 2016.
———. “Digitization, Big Data, and the Future of the Medical Humanities: Introduction.”Medical History 60, no. 1, 2016.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. and Brett Bobley, “Interagency Collaboration: Synergy for the Greater Good.” The Public Manager, July 11, 2016.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. and Simon Chaplin, “Public-Private Partnerships: Joining Together for a Win-Win.” The Public Manager, December 9, 2016.Close Close All Open All
Reznick, Jeffrey S., and Kenneth M. Koyle. “Combat and the Medical Mindset--The Enduring Effect of Civil War Medical Innovation.” The New England Journal of Medicine 372, no. 25, 2015.
Wright, Kristi, and Holly Herro. “Photoshop(R) Assisted Spectroscopy: An Economical and Non-Destructive Method for Tracking Color Shift.” Topics in Photographic Preservation 16 2015.Close Close All Open All
Bailey, Jefferson, Abigail Grotke, Kristine Hanna, Cathy Hartman, Edward McCain, Christie Moffatt, and Nicholas Taylor. “Web Archiving in the United States: A 2013 Survey.” Library of Congress: National Digital Stewardship Alliance, 2014.
DiMeo, Michelle, Jeffrey S. Reznick, and Christopher Lyons. “Introduction: Emerging Roles for Historical Medical Libraries.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 15, no. 2, 2014.
Ewing, E. Thomas, Samah Gad, Naren Ramakrishnan, and Jeffrey S. Reznick. “Understanding the Role of Medical Experts during a Public Health Crisis Digital Tools and Library Resources for Research on the 1918 Spanish Influenza.” Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Big Data, 2014.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. “Embracing the Future as Stewards of the Past: Charting a Course Forward for Historical Medical Libraries and Archives.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage 15, no. 2, 2014.
Rothfeld, Anne. “Gustav Rochlitz: An Undistinguishable Art Dealer in the Business for Plunder.” “‘The West’ versus ‘The East’ or the United Europe?” in Mečislav Borák (ed.) Proceedings of an International Academic Conference held in Poděbrady. Prague: Documentation Centre for Property Transfers of Cultural Assets of WW II Victims, 2014.Close Close All Open All
Davenport, Kristi, and Holly Herro “Conservation Outreach at the National Institutes of Health in the National Library of Medicine,” in Emily Williams (ed.), The Public Face of Conservation. London: Archetype Publications, 2013.Close Close All Open All
Barbian, Lenore, Paul S. Sledzik, and Jeffrey S. Reznick. “Remains of War: Walt Whitman, Civil War Soldiers, and the Legacy of Medical Collections.” Museum History Journal 5, no. 1, 2012.
Davenport, Kristi, Peter Gabriele, and Holly Herro, “Digital imaging analysis of writing material using “Photoshop assisted spectroscopy.” RATS: Research and Technical Studies Specialty Group Postprints from the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, 2012.
Gallagher, Marie E., and Christie Moffatt. “The Profiles in Science Digital Library: Behind the Scenes.” Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, 2012.
Rothfeld, Anne. “Eve Tucker: An Enforcer of Restitution Policy in U.S. Occupied Austria,” in Eva Blimlinger and Monika Mayer (eds.), Kunst sammeln, Kunst handeln. Vienna: Beiträge des Internationalen Symposiums in Wien Schriftenreihe der Kommission für Provenienzforschung, Auflage, 2012.Close Close All Open All
Reznick, Jeffrey S. “History at the Intersection of Disability and Public Health: The Case of John Galsworthy and Disabled Soldiers of the First World War.” Disability and Health Journal 4, no. 1, 2011.
———. “Perspectives from the History of Medicine Division of the United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.” Medical History 55, no. 3, 2011.
———. “The Mess Kit & The Silver Chev’: American Military Hospital Magazines of the First World War,” in Michael Sappol (ed.), Hidden Treasure: 175 Years of the National Library of Medicine, 2011.
Reznick, Jeffrey S., and Elizabeth Fee. “Walt Whitman: ‘a Feather in My Wings’.” American Journal of Public Health 101, no. 6, 2011.
Reznick, Jeffrey S. Review of Beth Linker, War’s Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011) in Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87, no. 4, 2013.Close Close All Open All
Newmark, Jill L. “Physician and Preacher: Willis R. Revels and the American Civil War.”Traces, vol. 22, 2010.
Reznick, Jeffrey S., Review of David M. Turner and Kevin Stagg (eds.), Social Histories of Disability and Deformity (New York: Routledge, 2007) in Bulletin of the History of Medicine 84, no. 1, 2010.
Reznick, Jeffrey S., Jeffrey Gamble, and Alan Hawk, “Historical Perspectives on the Care of Military Service Members with Limb Amputations,” in Paul Pasquina (ed.) Textbook of Military Medicine: Rehabilitation Medicine. Washington, DC: Borden Institute of the United States Army Medical Department Center and School, 2010.Close Close All Open All
Greenberg, Stephen J., and Patricia E. Gallagher. “The Great Contribution: Index Medicus, Index-Catalogue, and IndexCat.” Journal of the Medical Library Association 97, no. 2, 2009.
Newmark, Jill L. “Face to Face with History.” Prologue 41, no. 3, 2009.
Rees, John P. “What a Long, Strange Trip: Deploying an EAD Search and Retrieval Platform.” Watermark 32, no. 4, 2009.
Reznick, Jeffrey S., Review of Marion Girard, A Strange and Formidable Weapon: British Responses to World War I Poison Gas. (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2008) in Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 64, no. 2, 2009.Close Close All Open All
Rees, John, and Misra, Dharitri, Song Mao, and George R. Thoma. “Archiving a Historic Medico-legal Collection: Automation and Workflow Customization.” Proceedings of the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2007.Close Close All Open All
Staff of the History of Medicine Division also connect with a wide range of audiences as contributors to blogs, including:
the blog of the NLM History of Medicine Division
EDSITEment The Best of the Humanities on the Web
the blog of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Musings from the Mezzanine: Innovations in Health Information
the blog of NLM Director Patricia Brennan, RN, PhD
DataScience@NIH: Driving Discovery Through DataClose Close All Open All
the NIH Data Science community news and discussion forum