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Research and Access

The Center for the History of Medicine (incorporating the Rare Books and Special Collections of the Boston Medical Library and Harvard Medical Library) is one of the largest medical history resources in the world and is open to scholars and researchers from around the globe. The Center oversees the Rare Books and Special Collections of the Countway and also administers the archives of the Harvard Medical School, and the Schools of Dental Medicine and Public Health. In addition, the Center houses an extensive collection of prints, photographs, works of fine art, and medical artifacts, and has responsibility for the collections of the Warren Anatomical Museum.

Holmes Hall, the reading room of the Center, is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. The Center is usually closed on major holidays and university holidays; call 617.432.2170 for additional information.

The Center is located on L2 of the Countway Library Building. Directions to the Countway may be found here.


Warren Anatomical Museum Collections
The Museum's material collections and associated documentation, including the archival records of the Warren Museum, are presently undergoing a large scale inventory and cataloging project. When the project is completed, the Museum will begin accepting applications for research requests. All requests will be reviewed by an internal committee of the Center for the History of Medicine to evaluate whether the nature and conditions of use of the Museum's materials is consistent with the Center's commitment to the care of its collections. Please watch this website for updates on when the collection will support full-scale research and how to apply for permission to use the collection.

Currently, there is no online searchable database of the collection contents available to the public. However, once the inventory project is complete, the Museum anticipates that select portions of the collection will be listed in some of the Harvard University Library databases such as HOLLIS and the visual database OLIVIA, or made available through similar web accessible platforms. If you are interested in a particular case or artifact, type of material, or item, please contact the Center for the History of Medicine.

For more information on the Warren Anatomical Museum and its holdings, contact the Curator at:

Countway Library of Medicine
Center for the History of Medicine
10 Shattuck St.
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 617.432.6196
Fax: 617.432.4737