dissection scene
The Historical Medical Library
One of the world's premier research collections in the history of medicine.

The unique holdings of the library include over 400 incunabula (books printed before 1500), an extensive collection of manuscripts and archives, historical medical photographs, and a collection of 19th-century medical journals.

Library Hours 

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 10:00am to 4:00pm, by appointment only.

To make an appointment to use the Library or to ask questions about the collections, please call 215-399-2001 or email library@collegeofphysicians.org


The reading room for the Historical Medical Library is wheelchair accessible via the Van Pelt Street entrance on the rear side of the building directly behind the Museum, parallel to 21st and 22nd Streets. At the right of the glass door marked “College of Physicians of Philadelphia," you will see an intercom speaker and talk button. Press the button, and when someone responds, say that you are visiting the Historical Medical Library and need wheelchair access. Someone will come to assist you.

Come work with us!

The Historical Medical Library is seeking a part-time Library Systems Developer to further develop and maintain its Digital Assets Management System (DAMS) and maintain other library technologies.  This position is a year-long contract position which requires approximately 20 hours a month, depending on the needs of the Library, with the possibility of renewal after the one-year term has expired.  The work can be done remotely and outside of normal working hours.


The Library Systems Developer manages a portfolio of digital library projects, providing the project management framework and technical know-how needed to complete projects successfully. They explore, recommend, implement, and maintain software tools and frameworks to support digital library activities. They create and maintain procedural documentation and provide support to the library staff involved with projects and services.


Please click here for more information.

spinal nerves

Interested in traveling to research in our collection? 

The F.C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia offers grants to cover travel and lodging expenses for researchers who wish to use the College's collection of texts, manuscripts, archives, images, artifacts, and specimens in the history of medicine for short-term research.  

The Historical Medical Library is a member of the Medical Heritage Library, a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries.