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Rare Books Collection

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The Rare Book Collections of the McGovern Historical Center has more than 18,000 items in the following main collecting areas: history of medicine; dentistry; gout, rheumatism & arthritis; public health, medical education, and psychiatry & mental health. The books date from the 1490s to the 20th century. A notable work is Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica (1543), which revolutionized anatomy. The collection covers a wide-range of topics from folk remedies to the works of Sir William Osler, the father of modern medicine.

Burbank-Fraser Collection on Arthritis, Rheumatism and Gout

The Burbank-Fraser Collection contains over 3,600 volumes, including books, pamphlets, bound reprints, and translations. With publications ranging from a sixteenth century manuscript to the modern works of John Talbott and Charles Short, this collection documents the changing regimens for rheumatic diseases and the foundations of the modern specialty of rheumatology. With publications from over 20 countries, the collection offers innumerable opportunities for research on the history of rheumatic diseases and the cross-cultural transference of medical information. The collection equals 337.4 linear with titles that date from the 15th Century to the early 20th Century.

Hermann Detering Book Collection on Psychiatry and Photography

The Herman Detering History of Photography and Psychiatry collection. This book collection was processed as a manuscript collection so that the materials in the collections could be discoverable. This collection explores the relationship and history of photography and psychiatry, especially 19th century photography and the “insane.” The primary focus of the collection is the treatment and study of people suffering from various forms of mental illness. Consult with an archivist for more information.

Dow Collection on Dentistry

Thomas Dow, DDS was a dentist in Michigan who collected books on dentistry and records of dental society during the first half of the 20th century. His collection was international and, while focused on late 19th century and early 20th century works, contains some manuscripts dating to the 1600s. In the early 1960’s the University of Texas Dental Branch (UTDB) Library purchased his collection. In 2010, Dr. Dow’s collection and other historical books on dentistry were transferred to The TMC Library.

Cora and Webb Mading Collection on Public Health

The Cora and Webb Mading Collection focuses on public health and contains over 1,500 books and pamphlets on urban sanitation in the United States and communicable diseases. Two important aspects of the collection are the large number of early twentieth century city and state health department reports and the nineteenth century pamphlets on specific contagious diseases.

McGovern Collection on the History of Medicine

The McGovern Collection contains over 5,500 titles focused on the development of the medical specialties in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. There are significant sections on pediatrics, allergy and cardiology. The collection emphasis has been American Imprints and English language materials. There are a small number of titles in French or German from the eighteenth century. The Collection holds several early anatomical texts, including a first edition of Vesalius’ Anatomica. A special section of the McGovern Collection is devoted to the works of Sir William Osler. The collection holds copies of all of Sir William’s writings, most in various editions. There is also a considerable holding of Osleriana, including the annual meetings of the American Osler Society. All items in the McGovern Collection are cataloged in the Library’s online catalog. Some items have been digitized and are available electronically through the DigitalCommons@TMC. Making our resources available online is an ongoing project. More books will be available in the future.

Sir William Osler sub-collection
A special section of the McGovern Collection is devoted to the works of Sir William Osler. The collection holds copies of all of Sir William’s writings, most in various editions. There is also a considerable holding of Osleriana, including the annual meetings of the American Osler Society.

Menninger Collection on Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis

In June, 2003, the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library became the owner of the Menninger Foundation’s Library of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. This fine gift included their clinical library of books and journals, the historical and rare book collections, and complete runs of the Menninger publications. This is a wide-ranging rare book collection of more than 3000 titles pertaining to psychology, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis in both adults and children. The publications by and commentaries about Sigmund Freud are extensive. There are also a number of titles devoted to community mental health, nursing, and work in prisons. The collection includes a large number of early journals on psychoanalysis, hundreds of German psychiatric texts, and annual reports from American asylums. In addition to psychiatric materials, there are many fine texts related to the broader field of medicine. One of these volumes is a 1783 German edition of Andreas Vesalius’s anatomy with reproductions of the illustrations from the original Vesalius.

Other Book Collections

Other book holdings of the McGovern Historical Center include Texas Medical Journals, Dental Journals, and McGovern Reference.