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Robert M. Bird Library - History of Medicine Collection (includes all Health Sciences disciplines)


Caduceus with Native American flavor The History of Medicine Collection provided by the Robert M. Bird Library represents the historical and cultural history of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. The library has begun an initiative to collect and digitize these items so that they are more accessible to all users, especially our Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni.


The History of Medicine Collection is located in room 418 Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library 1000 Stanton L. Young Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  73190-2285. The Collection is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Several exhibits and displays are in and around the Collection. Materials do not circulate, use and reproduction of the materials maybe limited depending on the items condition.  Most of the Collection’s holdings are included in the Bird Library’s website catalog.  For more information, visit the Robert M. Bird Library Website or call (405) 271-2285, opt.8.





The History of Medicine is housed on the fourth floor of the Robert M. Bird Health Sciences Library.  The collection contains the rare book and archival holdings of the Library.  The collection contains over 5,000 books, correspondence, diaries, equipment, manuscripts, photographs, artifacts, microscopes, doctors’ bags, medical instruments, artwork and other historical archival materials used for identification and treatment of diseases.   Students and physicians use the books to study the evolution and history of health care.  Items that reflect the cultural and history of health care in Oklahoma are of special interest. The oldest book in the collection was published in 1548 and details the science of medicine at the time.  The oldest herbal book, printed in 1633, holds beautiful illustrations of plants and flowers used in medicines.  


A grant from the Presbyterian Health Foundation made it possible for an area in the Library to be remodeled to house the collection.  Support of the collection is made possible in part by the Robert M. Bird Society, as well as through individual donations of materials. 


Strengths of the collection include the history of medicine, nursing and pharmacy in the Indian and Oklahoma Territories and archival materials from the University and area hospitals.  Emphasis is focused on materials prior to 1925.  Some materials of interest are artifacts including several saddlebag medical kits and two existing prototypes of the Breathalyzer.  Manuscripts collections include those of Dr. Jay Shurley, pioneer in sensory deprivation research who worked with “Gene”; Dr. Steward Wolf, leader of the Roseto studies on cardiovascular disease, and of other prominent Oklahoma physicians and nurses.  The Collection contains publications beginning with the 16th century to the present.



Creative Commons License  Caduceus copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.





The Library has begun an initiative to collect and digitize some special collections in the History of Medicine so that they are accessible to all users, especially our faculty, staff, students, and alumni.  Some of the collections available by accessing the Robert M. Bird Library Website include:


LeRoy Long M.D. Family Collection
Physician, Dean of College of Medicine, and pioneer builder of the OUHSC campus.
Includes correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and other historical items. 


Sooner Medic Collection
The annual yearbook for the College of Medicine and Nursing at the OUHSC between the years 1945 to 1970.

College of Nursing Collection
The Collection highlights many unique and historical items contained in the College of Nursing archival collection


Physicians’ Bag Collection
A collection of medical bags from different time periods, some with their contents of instruments and equipment intact.    


Pharmaceutical Prints Collection
Color prints from original George A. Bender paintings on the history of pharmacy published by Parke Davis & Company.    


Ferretti  Microscope Collection  
Historical microscopes from the personal collection of former HSC Provost, Joseph  J. Ferretti, Ph.D.


Other Collections of interest


* This project was initially funded by the support of the Bird Society. To learn more visit the Bird Society online.

* This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. N01-LM-6-3505 with the Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library.



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