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History of Medicine

A guide to The Huntington's collections in the history of medicine.

Illustration from Feldtb├╝ch der wundartzney by Hans von Gersdorff, 1517

The Huntington Library has sizable and diverse collections in the history of medicine. Highlights include medieval astrological miscellanies and the largest collection of medical incunabula in North America. The Lawrence D. Longo and Betty Jeanne Longo Collection in Reproductive Biology contains approximately 2,700 rare books and 3,000 pamphlets and articles on obstetrics and gynecology from the 16th century to the present. Items from the Los Angeles County Medical Association Collections encompass early medical incunables through 20th-century American medicine, with particular emphasis on Southern California.

Learn more about history of medicine collections, divided into two main categories:

This guide is intended to serve as an overview of the history of medicine collections, which overlap significantly with the history of science and technology collections. Likewise, researchers are likely to find materials related to the history of medicine throughout The Huntington's collections (e.g., British history, Western American history, etc.). Detailed information about the history of medicine collections can be found in the following essential resources:

Image credit: Hans von Gersdorff, Feldtbuch der Wundartzney1517. RB 621836. On long-term loan from the Los Angeles County Medical Association, 1992.


The Huntington Library's collections are open to current readers and qualified researchers by prior application to the Reader Services Department. Alternatively, requests for reproductions are welcome from all researchers and the public. 

To learn more about The Huntington Library's access policy and Imaging Services options, see our Researching at The Huntington Library guide. 

Current readers may learn how to request collections for viewing in the Ahmanson Reading Room by visiting our Access Rare Materials page.