Who can use the Historical Library?

The Historical Library is open to Yale students, faculty, and staff, and to visitors who are doing research. Students should be college level or graduate students.

What are the hours of the Historical Library?

The Historical Library offices are open Monday through Friday, 10-noon, 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., and by appointment outside of these hours. The circulating books in the Reading Room may be consulted or checked out any time the Medical Library is open.

What Historical Library books circulate and for how long?

All 20th century history of medicine books with call numbers beginning with Hist, Biog, or Coll Biog circulate for two months. These books are on open shelves and can be taken out at the Circulation Desk or requested through Eli Express.

Books beginning with the designation "Biog" or "Coll Biog" are located on the balcony level of the Morse Reading Room. There is both stair and elevator access to the balcony level of the Morse Reading Room.

Periodicals of any century, reference books, and books published before 1901 do not circulate.

Where in the library can I find a history of medicine book with a specific call number?

Books published in the twentieth century with "Hist" in the call number are located in the Historical Library Reading Room. LC call numbers beginning with A-Q are on the balcony. R-Z are on the main floor. All oversize books are on the balcony. Take the stairs or elevator in the left corner of the Reading Room as you enter the room. Oversize books are at the very end of the Q call number range, on the far left balcony of the Historical Library.

Books beginning with the designation "Biog" or "Coll Biog" are located on the balcony level of the Morse Reading Room. There is both stair and elevator access to the balcony level of the Morse Reading Room.

History of Medicine periodicals are located on the ground floor left side of the Morse Reading room as you enter. They are arranged alphabetically by title. Ignore all articles, conjunctions, and prepositions. The most recent issue of each periodical is located in a display rack in the Historical Library Reading Room.

What do the call numbers for books in the locked stacks mean? What should I copy down?

Most 19th century books are cataloged according to Library of Congress classification. The LC call number is preceded by "19th cent.". Be sure to note if the word "Hist" appears before the LC number. "Hist" means the book is about the history of medicine rather than a medical book per se. There are also 19th century Biographies and Collective Biographies. These are cataloged according to the name of the person the book is about. Be sure to note if there are + signs (oversize). Other books in the locked stacks are arranged according to special collection. These include 16th cent., 17th cent., 18th cent., Harvey, Vesalius, Boyle, Inoculation and vaccination, anesthesia, herbals, and several others. The books are arranged in the locked stacks by collection name, author, title, and date. Please include this information in requests. Books with the designation "Archives" (which is usually followed by a number) are Yale or Connecticut-related books housed in a particular area of the locked stacks.

Can I photocopy materials in the Historical Library?

Circulating books and journal articles from history of medicine journals on the open shelves may be photocopied. For older books and medical journals in the locked stacks, permission is necessary to photocopy. If the book is in good shape and not too old, we can copy a few pages for you, or in the case of late 19th-early 20th century journals, you may photocopy brief articles yourself if the binding is good.

If I am not Yale-affiliated, can I borrow books and obtain copies of articles through Interlibrary Loan?

We lend books published in 1901 and after, assuming they are in good condition and not very valuable. We do not lend earlier books but we can have them microfilmed for you for a fee through an outside vendor. Requests for articles through ILL can be fulfilled if the journal is in good condition. Please make your request to the ILL or Document Delivery office at your home institution. We are unable to fulfill direct requests.

Can I have illustrations made from books,photographs, journals, or the print Historical Library collection?

Yes, we can arrange to have scans, prints, or slides made through Yale Photo + Design. They will bill you directly. If the Historical Library already has a tiff image file, we can provide a digital copy of the file for a fee (fee waived for Yale faculty, students, and staff). We do not have staff to handle large orders, make scans ourselves, or to undertake photo research for patrons.

How can I obtain permission to publish illustrations from the Historical Library?

There is a permission form obtainable from the Historical Library. There are charges associated with scanning and digitizing images. 

How can I donate books or other materials to the Historical Library?

The Medical Historical Library collects medical books to 1930, books by Yale medical authors, books and pamphlets on medical practice and institutions in Connecticut, and secondary sources in the history of medicine, as well as prints, posters, photographs, manuscripts, and Yale medical ephemera.

Although we are grateful for donations, because of staff and space limitations, we can only consider books that the Medical Library does not already have. For Yale medical authors, even if the Library has circulating copies, we would be happy to have copies for our non-circulating Faculty Collection.

Please email a list of potential donations to Melissa Grafe, the Bumstead Librarian for Medical History, or call (203) 785-4354.