The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries, promotes free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine. Our goal is to provide the means by which readers and scholars across a multitude of disciplines can examine the interrelated nature of medicine and society, both to inform contemporary medicine and strengthen understanding of the world in which we live. The MHL’s growing collection of digitized medical rare books, pamphlets, journals, and films number in the tens of thousands, with representative works from each of the past six centuries, all of which are available here through the Internet Archive.
Materials are included in MHL once we have determined, to the best of our knowledge, that the materials are in the public domain under U.S. copyright law, or that the library making the digital version has received permission from the holder(s) of the copyright in the specific materials. If you have questions about the copyright status or permissions regarding a particular item, please contact the relevant digitizing partner via their contact information on the “About” page of this site or the digitizing partner’s Collection page on Internet Archive.
Any institution that dedicates resources or staff time to achieve MHL goals and objectives. This includes the partners currently digitizing materials and also those organizations that are contributing expertise. Because grant projects are labor-intensive (far beyond grant-sponsored personnel), any participant in such a project would be considered a principal contributor. Principal contributors have a demonstrated commitment to the MHL, thus governance council members are drawn from this group; participation is co-terminus with the contribution.
The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University and Columbia University Libraries/Information Services
The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University
The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University
The Welch Medical Library, Library of the Institute of the History of Medicine, and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Any institution that adds existing digitized materials to the MHL. Such organizations will be asked to issue a press release about the content contribution, link to the MHL, distribute MHL print materials, display a flyer, and inform us of opportunities for collaboration, such as co-sponsoring a presentation about the MHL to appropriate constituencies.
Any institution that publicizes the MHL and promotes its use and development. Our goal is to obtain the participation of history of medicine special collections and other organizations in promoting the use of MHL collections. We hope that contributors will link to the MHL, distribute MHL print materials, display a flyer, and inform us of opportunities for collaboration, such as co-sponsoring a presentation about the MHL to appropriate constituencies
We are seeking new contributors. For more information about participation, please see Participation Levels.
The MHL is pleased to acknowledge funding support from the following agencies and organizations
Scholarly Advisory Committee:
Professor Emerita, Health Policy and Management, and Women’s Studies, University of California, Los Angeles Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health
Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and Deputy Chair for Masters Programs of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Professor of History, Rutgers University
Associate Professor, Elizabeth Treide and A. McGehee Harvey Chair in the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Director, American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin Madison
Anthropology Librarian, Emory University
Rupple Bascom and Ruth Bleier Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Assistant Professor of Social Medicine; Director of Center for the History of Medicine, Harvard University
Resident, Yale University School of Medicine
Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Associate Professor of History, Science in Society, and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies, Wesleyan University
Associate Professor of History, University of Western Ontario
The Medical Heritage Library was initiated by the Open Knowledge Commons, which was awarded $1.5 million dollars in start-up funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to begin digitization at partner libraries.
Please contact us if you are interested in our work at: