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Historical Collections Highlights


University of Virginia Visual History Collection

We are involved in a collaboration with the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library aimed at making images that record the history of the University of Virginia available online. The images can be searched, viewed, and downloaded through the University of Virginia Library's Virgo system. At this time, there are over 2,000 images related to the history of the health sciences at the University of Virginia available to online users, and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library plans to make thousands of additional images availlable online in the future.

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For more information, please contact Dan Cavanaugh, Alvin V. and Nancy Baird Curator of Historical Collections at 434-924-0052 or


Rare Books

The oldest book in Historical Collections, De Medicina, was published in 1493. It is the Library's only incunabulum, which is the Latin word for cradle or swaddling clothes, and is now the term for printed books published before 1501. The book is written by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a first-century Roman, and is the first Western history of medicine. The Library's Historical Collections also contain a second edition of De Humani Corporis Fabrica, the anatomical text composed by Andreas Vesalius, published in 1555 (illustration at right, Secunda Musculorum Tabula). This important work, which not only revolutionized the study and teaching of anatomy but is also considered an artistic masterpiece, was donated to Historical Collections and Services by William Bennett Bean, a member of the University of Virginia's School of Medicine Class of 1935.


Adolph Lomb Optical Collection

Adolph Lomb, the oldest son of Captain Henry Lomb, co-founder of the famous Bausch & Lomb Optical Company of Rochester, New York, assembled one of the world's finest libraries on optics. This Collection reflects Adolph Lomb's primary interest in the theory, design, and construction of optical instruments. Geometrical, physiological, and ophthalmological optics are well represented.

Adolph Lomb died in 1932. His brother, Henry C. Lomb, donated the optical library to the University of Virginia because of his and Adolph's great respect for the University's founder, Thomas Jefferson.


The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection

Collection Finding Aid

Yellow fever was a deadly scourge that had a devastating effect on lives and economies throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1900, Walter Reed, M.D., and fellow members of the United States Army Yellow Fever Commission made the discovery that a mosquito was responsible for the transmission of yellow fever. The Yellow Fever Commission's experiments in Cuba were a great breakthrough in medicine for which Walter Reed was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal and elevated to the status of American medical hero.

In 1937 Philip S. Hench, M.D., a prominent medical researcher and Nobel Prize winner for his work with cortisone, began a life-long project to document and collect everything available relevant to the story of yellow fever discovery. He met and befriended all the people associated with the story or their relatives, most of whom gave him original family documents and photographs. The extensive archive that Hench compiled was given to the University of Virginia after his untimely death -- he did not live to write his definitive book on Walter Reed and yellow fever -- and is the cornerstone collection in the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library' archives. For more information on Walter Reed and yellow fever, visit our Web sites:


The Henry Rose Carter Papers

Collection Finding Aid

The Henry Rose Carter Papers complement the Yellow Fever Collection. Carter, a native Virginian, graduated from the University of Virginia with a civil engineering degree in 1873. His interests turned to medicine and he completed a medical degree at the University of Maryland in 1879. The same year Assistant Surgeon Carter joined the Marine Hospital Service -- later the United States Public Health Service. The young surgeon rose steadily through the ranks, ultimately attaining the position of Assistant Surgeon General in 1915.

The Henry Rose Carter Papers contain correspondence relating to Carter's work on yellow fever and malaria as a surgeon in the Marine Health Serivce (later United States Public Health Service). Included are photographs of and newspaper clippings about Carter, in addition to a small collection of reprints and publications by Carter and others. There is also the extensive correspondence of his daughter, Laura Armistead Carter, with Frederick F. Russell and other members of the Rockefeller Foundation International Health Board, Wade Hampton Frost, of Johns Hopkins University, and others concerning her collaboration with Frost in the editing and publication of Carter's book, Yellow Fever: An Epidemiological and Historical Study of Its Place of Origin (Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Company, 1931).


The Wade Hampton Frost Collection

Collection Finding Aid

Wade Hampton Frost (1880-1938), a member of the University of Virginia School of Medicine Class of 1903, was a surgeon with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) from 1905 to 1929. In 1919, he became the resident lecturer to the new Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. In 1929, he resigned from the USPHS in order to serve full-time as Professor of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. From 1931 to 1934, he was Dean of the School of Hygiene and Public Health. Dr. Frost was a pioneer in the study of water pollution. He also conducted important research in poliomyelitis, yellow fever, influenza, diphtheria, and tuberculosis. His work helped establish epidemiology as a distinct field of medical research.

The Frost materials include personal and official correspondence, photographs, scientific publications, newspaper articles, taped interviews, and assorted memorabilia pertaining to Dr. Wade Hampton Frost and his family. Among his professional papers and correspondence is an essay analyzing Henry Rose Carter's career.


The Base Hospital 41 Collection

Collection Finding Aid

After the United States entered World War I, Dr. William H. Goodwin was granted permission by the Red Cross in Washington, D.C., to organize a base hospital at the University of Virginia. Goodwin recruited doctors, nurses, and all the supporting staff and raised funds to purchase the supplies to fully equip the hospital. After an intensive two-month training stint, the unit was ready for overseas duty. On July 26, 1918, Base Hospital 41 arrived in St. Denis, France, near Paris, and was established in the building used for schooling children of the members of the Legion of Honor. The school dormitories were converted into hospital wards. Eventually the hospital was equipped to care for 600 patients in the building and another 2,200 in tent wards. The unit was demobilized on May 1, 1919. The Collection includes photographs, newsletters, news clippings, diary excerpts, and historical sketches.


The 8th Evacuation Hospital Collection

Collection Finding Aid

Of unique relevance to the University of Virginia Health System is the 8th Evacuation Hospital Collection. The 8th Evac was organized and staffed by University of Virginia physicians and nurses during World War II. The Collection contains scrapbooks, memoirs, uniforms, and numerous photographs that recall the experiences of the men and women who provided medical and nursing care in North Africa and Italy during the war. For more information, visit The 8th Evacuation Hospital: The University of Virginia in World War II.


The Blue Ridge Sanatorium Collection

Collection Finding Aid

This Collection details the history of the Blue Ridge Sanatorium, designated for the prevention and eradication of tuberculosis, located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It opened on April 26, 1920, and early treatments included fresh air, rest, moderate exercise, and a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, and reduced animal protein. In the forties, interns from the University of Virginia entered into three-month rotations at Blue Ridge, learning to perform "chest work," such as pneumothorax. While diet and environment were never discounted as key aspects of treatment, surgical intervention became increasingly important.

In the early fifties, new drugs developed to assist in the cure of tuberculosis enabled more patients to remain at home and receive drug therapy from their family doctors. The steady decline in patients at the sanatorium allowed Blue Ridge to expand programs to include alcohol rehabilitation in the seventies. In 1978, the title to the property was transferred to the University of Virginia and it was renamed Blue Ridge Hospital. Tuberculosis patients continued to receive treatment there, but additional University of Virginia Medical Center programs were also located on the site.


The University of Virginia Hospital Executive Director's Office (HEDO) Collection

Collection Finding Aid

The Hospital Executive Director's Office papers are composed of 60 boxes of archival material, including photographs and manuscripts. The HEDO Collection documents the history of the University of Virginia Hospital, its physical grounds, its staff, its policies, and operating procedures with records that go back to 1919. The minutes of the Executive Committee of the UVa Hospital, which date back to 1920, are one of the most important aspects of this archive. The HEDO Collection also boasts the minutes from many of the Hospital Committees set up to monitor particular issues germane to hospital administration. Among the hospital committees whose minutes are included in the HEDO Collection are the Preventorium Committee, the Civil Rights Committee, the Infections Committee, the Accreditation Advisory Committee, the Clinical Staff Committee, the Administrative Staff Committee, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the Governor's Committee on Nursing.

Other highlights of the HEDO Collection include statistical records of the number of patients admitted to the UVa Hospital every year, the number of operations performed each year, as well as rates for various medical services. The Collection contains a wealth of information on the University of Virginia Hospital, from the mundane (e.g., the menus for the Hospital Cafeteria), to the sublime (including policy statements on controversial issues such as sterilization, abortion, and civil rights).


The Faculty Files Collection

The University of Virginia School of Medicine (SOM) Faculty Files consist of individual records for each faculty member of the SOM dating from the early sixties to the present. Each faculty member's file contains such documents as curriculum vitae, press clippings, press releases from the UVa Press Office, and a record of the individual's status at UVa. The faculty files are indexed by faculty member surname.


The School of Medicine Faculty Minutes Collection

The School of Medicine Faculty Minutes Collection contains the records of every SOM faculty meeting between 1972 and 1995. The Faculty Minutes include descriptions of curricular developments at the UVa School of Medicine and other issues relating to the School, including statistics on SOM graduates.


The Hospital Medical Ethics Committee Collection

Collection Finding Aid

The Hospital Medical Ethics Committee Collection includes agendas, minutes, memos, policy drafts, articles and case studies related to the topics of discussion at committee meetings from its creation in 1983 to 2000. The first meeting on January 4, 1984, was chaired by Dr. Edward W. Hook. Highlights of the Collection include discussions of the "Baby Doe" case, indigent access to care, the Natural Death Act, organ donation, HIV testing, confidentiality, development of the Code of Ethics, and the establishment of the Ethics Consultation Service (ECS) at the University of Virginia Hospital.


The Thomas H. Hunter Papers

Collection Finding Aid

Thomas H. Hunter (1913-1997) completed his medical education at Harvard Medical School. During his internship and residency training at Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital in New York, Hunter began the clinical research that would lead to a dual antibiotic treatment for bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the heart's lining and valves that had previously been uniformly fatal. Hunter became the Dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 1953 to 1965, Chancellor for Medical Affairs from 1965 to 1970, and Vice President for Medical Affairs from 1970 to 1971. He was deeply interested in international medicine, and argued that health and medicine provide a uniquely powerful bridge to international understanding. In his presidential address to the AAMC in 1960, Hunter called the attention of the United States medical community to its opportunities and responsibilities in other countries. Hunter was also a pioneer in the field of bioethics.

The Hunter Collection is comprised of personal correspondence between family members and colleagues, memorabilia reflecting his early years (he contracted polio at age seven), documents about educational achievements, and diaries he kept while representing the Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Virginia on international health and health education projects. The Collection, over 140 boxes, provides an intimate glimpse of an internationally recognized physician, leader, and thinker.


The Edward Watson Hook Papers

Collection Finding Aid

In 1969 Edward Watson Hook was appointed Henry B. Mulholland Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System and chaired the department for 21 years. These materials reflect Hook's wide-ranging professional activities related to heading the Department of Internal Medicine, participating in the larger Health System/University processes, and pursuing his own research and external activities. The documents detail Hook's direct personal participation in professional organizations and also show the wide range of details he coordinated in running the Department of Internal Medicine. A noteworthy aspect of the Collection includes an unpublished History of the Department of Medicine written by Byrd S. Leavell.


The John A. Owen, Jr. Papers

Collection Finding Aid

The John A. Owen, Jr. Papers consist of 12 boxes of archival material including letters, research notes and documentation, and other items reflecting Dr. Owen's professional activities from 1951 to 1974. The Owen archive highlights University-based clinical investigation during the sixties and seventies, especially diabetes and endocrinology research; the relationship between pharmaceutical companies (and other organizations sponsoring basic research) and physicians; the effect of and response to federal legislation of the early seventies,which regulated prescription writing; the role of pharmacists and their relationship with physicians; the interaction of UVa's Department of Medicine with the Hospital Lab/Pathology Department; and the use of free samples from drug companies.


The Rufus Ivory Cole Papers

Collection Finding Aid

Cole was Director and Physician-in-Charge (1909-37) of the Hospital of the Rockefeller Institute, the first hospital in the U.S. devoted primarily to the investigation of disease. His medical research centered on problems relating to immunity to diseases of the respiratory system, particularly pneumonia. The Cole Papers contain much material on the Rockefeller Hospital and staff: annual reports, budgets, patient statistics, administration of the hospital, etc. Other medical topics are also represented: his education at, and contacts with, the Johns Hopkins University; the Association of American Physicians; Harvey Society; and the New York Academy of Medicine, etc. There is material concerning his research and interests in Francesco Redi (1626-1698). His avocation was English history and much material pertains to his publications in that field, particularly Human History (1959).


The Carl Caskey Speidel Papers

Collection Finding Aid

Carl Caskey Speidel taught anatomy at the University of Virginia School of Medicine from 1920 to 1964. He was noted for his research films, which showed "living cells in action." The Speidel Papers include 74 reels of 16-mm film documenting his research. Press clippings, class materials, journal reprints, and hand-drawn plates and figures used in journal articles are also housed in this collection.


The University of Virginia Hospital Auxiliary Collection

Collection Finding Aid

The University of Virginia Hospital Auxiliary is a group of volunteers and paid staff members who provide aid and comfort to patients and their families. The Collection follows the formation of the group, originally called the University of Virginia Hospital Circle of the King's Daughters, and details its many years of history. The Collection also encompasses two other organizations, the Hospital League and the local chapter of the Pink Ladies Services Organization, both of which merged with the Hospital Auxiliary. This Collection includes regular and executive board minutes, financial statements, social services files, Annual Reports, and scrapbooks of photographs and miscellaneous materials.


The Elizabeth Brown Mulholland Gamble Papers

Collection Finding Aid

Elizabeth Brown Mulholland Gamble was married to Henry Bearden Mulholland, a premier Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia from 1920-1966. For over six decades, Gamble was exceedingly active in volunteer efforts for the University, the School Medicine, and the Hospital. Her most significant accomplishment was to establish the Pink Lady Services Organization in 1951. By Gamble's own account, she raised over $90,000 for purchases by medical departments.


The Samuel X. Radbill Papers

Collection Finding Aid

The Radbill Papers incorporate Radbill's drafts, footnotes, and manuscript for the book, The Autobiographical Ana of Robley Dunglison, M.D., published by the American Philosophical Society, in December 1963. Robley Dunglison (1798-1869) was brought from England to Charlottesville, Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson to serve as the first full-time Professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia in 1825. Dunglison left in 1833 to teach at the University of Maryland. In 1836 he moved to Philadelphia and continued his career at Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. Dunglison was one of the more eminent and nationally recognized medical figures of his time. In 1852 Dunglison prepared his Autobiographical Ana in order to preserve his personal recollection and he added letters and other records to personally document his memories. As the editor, Radbill organized Dunglison's work, wrote the introduction, and added footnotes to emphasize medical schools, medical education, medical literature, and also to identify the numerous individuals mentioned in Dunglison's text.


The Kerr White Collection

Kerr L. White, M.D. (shown at left), was Deputy Director for Health Sciences of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1978 to 1984. From 1964 to 1977 he was Professor of Health Care Organization and founding chairman of that department at the Johns Hopkins University. Educated at McGill University in economics, political science, and medicine, White did postgraduate work at Yale University, the London Hospital Medical School, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. For a decade he practiced and taught internal medicine at the University of North Carolina with a special emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of care, including research on the influence of emotional factors on venous pressure and congestive heart failure. During this period he introduced the term "primary medical care" and conducted a number of studies in the field that was later defined as "Health Services Research." He is the author or co-author of some 225 publications, including ten books, in the fields of health services, health statistics, epidemiology, public health, and medical education. He has been described as "perhaps the most influential figure in the field of health services research, a discipline that emerged from his study of health care delivery."

Dr. White donated approximately 2,000 books, journals, and reports related to Health Services Research to the Health Sciences Library in 1995 and added approximately 500 more volumes in 2002. The Kerr White Collection is organized into two parts. Books, published reports, journals, and reprints are housed in the Don Detmer Reading Room. Related materials such as conference booklets, brochures, and published and unpublished statistical reports are stored in 27 boxes in the Wilhelm Moll Rare Book and Medical History Room. For more information on Dr. White and his Collection, see The Kerr White Health Care Collection.


The American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) Collection

Collection Finding Aid

Until 1950, Virginia had one of the highest tuberculosis (TB) infection rates in the United States. The American Lung Association of Virginia was formed to combat the spread of TB by producing public awareness campaigns about the disease's communicability, detection, and treatment. The archives of the American Lung Association of Virginia contain much of the original materials produced to spread awareness of the disease. A sample of the materials in the Collection includes posters from the Anti-Spitting campaign, Christmas Seals and Christmas Seal memorabilia, brochures from TB detection clinics, and original poems and art work produced by school children from across Virginia as part of an annual contest sponsored by ALAV to heighten awareness of health issues among Virginia's youth.

The materials in the ALAV collection date back to 1901 and cover the entire span of ALAV's operations from its early years when the focus was on testing for and eradicating tuberculosis, to the period after TB was no longer prevalent and the emphasis shifted to preventative measures such as anti-smoking and anti-pollution campaigns. For more information, visit The American Lung Association Crusade.


The Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing Collection

Collection Finding Aid

The Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing Collection is comprised of 17 boxes of papers and archival material, including photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, reports, nursing caps, and uniforms. The Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing began on November 1, 1894, when Marjorie Adamson established a small training school at the Alexandria Hospital. It was the fourth school of nursing to be established in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The original two-year program began with two "pupil nurses," who received their diplomas on December 1, 1896. The school quickly established a reputation for excellence, and the course of study included lectures from physicians and clinical experience in community nursing in the homes of Alexandria residents. The Collection highlights the various changes that occurred during its history: increasing the length of nurses training, requiring State Board Examinations, training Cadet Nurses for World War II, and following its affiliations with other hospitals. The school closed in June 1987.