Objects and Artifacts

Edward C. Streeter Collection of Weights and Measures

The Edward C. Streeter Collection is one of the most comprehensive study collections of weights and measures in the world in terms of time period and geography. The weights and scales form the most valuable part: Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Islamic, Greek, and Roman; weights issued by different cities, especially those in southern France; gold (money) scales; weights and scales used by apothecaries; Nuremberg nested weights, and over 1,000 European individual money weights. The measures, both linear and bulk, range from an Elizabethan corn-bushel dated 1601 to American yardsticks of the nineteenth century and include calipers, squares, bevels, levels, rules, dividers, and measuring gauges. In-house catalogue sheets were prepared by former curator Bruno Kisch. Kisch's book, Scales and Weights: A Historical Outline (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966, c. 1965) includes much information about the collection. The nested weights have been described in Ellen Zak Danforth, Nesting Weights, Einsatzgewichte and Piles a Godet: A Catalog of Nested Cup Weights in the Edward Clark Streeter Collection of Weights and Measures, Transactions of the Connecticut Society of Arts and Sciences, 50 (March 1988). Copies are still obtainable from the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences ((203) 432-3113).

The International Society of Antique Scale Collectors have photographed and described the Library’s collection.

Medical Instruments

The library houses a wide collection of medical artifacts that have been donated over time, by numerous affiliates of the University, practitioners of Yale/New Haven Hospital and community physicians.  The items range in dates from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, and include pieces such as surgical kits and instruments, microscopes, apothecary jars and bottles, Chinese medical instruments, obstetrical forceps, diagnostic instruments, Victorian electrotherapy devices, and numerous pharmaceuticals.

These items are available for research and classroom purposes.