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Historical Medical Library Collections

Illustration of a dissection of a cadaver with an audience
Illustration of a dissection of a cadaver with an audience

One of the world's premier research collections in the history of medicine.


The Historical Medical Library was established in 1788 and was Philadelphia's central medical library for over 150 years, serving its medical schools, hospitals, physicians and other health professionals. Today, it is an independent library dedicated to the history of medicine and the medical humanities, serving hundreds of scholars, health professionals, students, and popular writers each year. The College's collection of early printed books includes more than four hundred incunabula or editions printed before 1501. Our archives and manuscripts include the archives of other Philadelphia medical institutions, College's corporate archives, and letters, case books, and student notebooks that document the personal life and professional practice of doctors in the Philadelphia region and around the world.

Physical Collections

Access hundreds of resources online and find thousands more in our stacks!

Historical Medical Library Catalog

Search our online catalog for resources from the Historical Medical Library and Mütter Museum!

Archives and Manuscripts Finding Aids

Access detailed catalog records of our archival collections to aid in your research needs.

Library Policies

The Historical Medical Library welcomes all researchers who wish to use the Library's collections. To schedule an appointment, email

Digital Collections

Explore our collection from anywhere with these digital resources! We're also continually adding items from our collection to the Internet Archive. Check out CPP@Internet Archive to browse full volumes online.

Digital Image Library

Search thousands of images drawn from our collection, encompassing the history of anatomy, botanical medicine, and so much more.

Digital Exhibits

Explore curated exhibitions of our digital content with narratives crafted by staff and scholars. 

Library Blog

The Library blog, Fugitive Leaves, is written in the tradition and spirit of the Transactions and Studies of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. It was inspired by the original newsletter, printed by the Library between 1956-1996.

F.C. Wood Travel Institute

The Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine was established in 1976 to promote the rich historical resources of the College's Historical Medical Library and the Mütter Museum to the scholarly community. The Institute sponsors conferences, seminars, and short-term travel grants to researchers who require the resources of the museum and library.

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