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Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections for the Sciences

Access to Print Resources (as of 3/20/20)


As part of UCLA's transition to remote instruction, and the Library's necessary decision to close all Library locations, access to print resources and special collections is not available. Please take advantage of electronic resources such as ebooks and article databases. The UCLA community can connect to these online resources off-campus via the VPN or proxy server. Interlibrary loan is still available for electronic journal articles; however, ebooks cannot be borrowed on interlibrary loan. You can also temporarily access digitized print books via HathiTrust, although you cannot download or print these books--only do screenshots.

The library is also extending access to our print collection beyond what's available in HathiTrust through the Pilot Emergency Temporary Digititzation on Request Service (PETDOR). Please review the PETDOR FAQ for guidance on using this service. 

For help with any of our resources, please schedule an appointment with a librarian (audio/video Zoom appointments available), contact your subject librarian directly, or use our 24/7 chat service.    


Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (ALHHS)

Databases for the History of Medicine

Images on the Web - People, Places, and Things

History of Medicine Collections of Medicine Collections

The various collections of the History and Special Collections Division support the study of the history of medicine and biology. Collections consist of books, journals, manuscripts, prints, portraits, and medical artifacts. For further assistance in locating manuscripts, prints, portraits, or other artifacts, please inquire in the division.

Our goal is to have an online record for every book, journal, manuscript, manuscript collection, artifact, print, and portrait in the collection and where appropriate, to make selected content available on the web.

Books and Journals in the History of Medicine and Biology

Search the UCLA Library Catalog. Almost all of the books and journals (this includes rare books, and journals, reference works, and histories and biographies) held by the History and Special Collections Division may be found in the UCLA Library Catalog. A few special collections of books are described below.

UCLA Library Acquires Historical Collection of Medical Texts
The UCLA Library has acquired a historical collection of books and journals from Germany, primarily medical texts in the field of otorhinolaryngology. The materials were originally in the private library of Dr. Cäsar Hirsch, a specialist in the field, who was forced to leave all his belongings behind when he and his family fled Germany in 1933. 

Prints, Portraits, and Artifacts

Currently, detailed information about these collections is available only in the History Division. Many of the images are recorded in a card catalog located in the Division.

Museum Artifacts

Although small, the Division's museum collection contains artifacts which provide insight into the practice of medicine in different eras. Surgeon's instrument cases, microscopes, scarifiers, thumb lancets, anesthesia masks, phrenological heads, cupping instruments, and glass eyes all bear witness to ideas and practices of the past.

Collection Highlights

Digital Projects

Aids Posters Collection Aids Posters Collection - "Aids Apple"

The UCLA Library launched an online collection of more than 600 AIDS posters from countries around the world on Friday, December 1. The release of this digital project has been scheduled in conjunction with World AIDS Day. “The collection provides a fascinating insight into the many approaches that have been used to try to modify risk behaviors,” said Roger Detels, MD, MS, UCLA professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases. “The posters range from terrifying to amusing and reflect the many cultures from which they have been drawn, which include national cultures and risk group cultures. The collection should be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attempts to control it.” The physical collection is held in the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections.

Spices - Exotic Flavors and Medicines

Spices - Exotic Flavors and Medicines is an online exhibit exploring the history of spices from their earliest uses to current research. Through text and image, the topic is explored indepth. Irwin Ziment, Profesor Emeritus of Clinical Medicine, UCLA, researched and wrote the narrative in conjunction with the History & Special Collections Division.

The Index of Medieval Medical Images (IMMI)

The Index of Medieval Medical Images project began in 1988 and aimed to describe and index the content of all medieval manuscript images (up to the year 1500) with medical components held in North American collections. The goal of this 2001 pilot project was to make the descriptions and the images available via a searchable database on the Web.

Indexing the Web

These sites aim to list, index, or inventory the great variety of material appearing on the Web that relates to the history of medicine and science.

Library Catalogs