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New in NLM Digital Collections: Fully-Digitized Manuscript Collections

January 17, 2020

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce the release of its first fully-digitized manuscript collections in NLM Digital Collections.

Complete with finding aids—detailed research guides to assist individuals in exploring and understanding these archival materials—this initial release of six manuscript collections encompasses more than 43,500 pages and represents a milestone in the evolution of NLM’s digitization capacity. Moreover, it achieves the goal of providing remote, unmediated access to manuscript collections in alignment with one of the cornerstones of the NLM Strategic Plan 2017-2027, to reach more people through enhanced dissemination and engagement.

These six collections include:

National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Records, 1983-1994

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

Official Bulletins relating to the health of President Garfield, 1881

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

Medical report of military inspection tour through the Northern division of the U.S., Baltimore, 1818

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

Leonard C. McPhail Diary, 1845-c.1939

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

Jonathan Letterman Correspondence and Diary, 1860-1864

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

U.S. Asylum for Insane Indians annual report and census, 1926

Finding Aid | Digital Collections

Staff of the NLM History of Medicine Division’s Archives and Modern Manuscripts Program oversaw the digitization of these collections as completely as possible in order to replicate the onsite experience of researching these collections. Links in the finding aid Contents List take researchers to the page turner view in NLM Digital Collections for each folder where they can also search the full text of transcripts or uncorrected OCR files.

This initial release represents three themes in digitization prioritization: external third-party digitization partnerships with the NLM which have yielded substantial digitized content; high-patron usage/copy order requests; and support of NLM exhibitions and related programs designed to raise public awareness of and engagement with the NLM’s collections and related resources.

These newly-available manuscript collections represent a sample of the breadth and depth of NLM’s archival and modern manuscript collections held by its History of Medicine Division. Look for more online archival collections as NLM continues to expand its offerings in this area serving researchers around the world.


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: January 17, 2020