The mission of the Countway Library is to cultivate and advance education, research, scholarship and professional growth in the health and biomedical sciences by facilitating access to scholarly information and knowledge, preserving a historical record, and creating a stimulating and synergistic setting for intellectual growth.
Countway provides information and services to students and staff of:
- Harvard Medical School
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Harvard School of Dental Medicine
- Boston Medical Library
- Massachusetts Medical Society
As a department, Countway houses:
- Center for the History of Medicine
- Brigham and Women's Hospital Archives
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Archives
- Warren Anatomical Museum
The History of Countway
The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine was established in 1958. Francis Countway, was the bookkeeper for Lever Brothers, a local soap company, then became president in 1913. He supported his sister, Gussanda "Sanda" Countway, throughout her school years. When Francis died, Sanda Countway created the Countway Charitable Foundation in his memory. The funds collected by this foundation, including Sanda’s own donation, allowed Harvard University to build the Countway Library at the Harvard Medical School.
In 1960, The Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical School Library agreed to combine their collections and administration. This agreement led to the creation of The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. The library opened in 1965. Countway ranks as one of the largest medical libraries in the world. It serves as a resource in clinical medicine, the biomedical sciences, dentistry, and public health.