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Osler Library
McGill University, Osler Library

Medicine--History; Science--History

The Library was founded in 1929. Sir William Osler's personal library of eight thousand medical classics and works on the history of medicine had been bequeathed to his alma mater, McGill University, in 1919. The collection has been augmented by purchase, gifts, and transfers.

The collection includes material on the history of medicine and allied sciences; medical institutions; and unorthodox and popular medicine. Primary sources up to World War I, and secondary sources to the present are included. Many unique and rare items are contained in the library including incunabula; important editions of medical classics from antiquity to World War I; and archival material, especially relating to Sir. W. Osler, Maude Abbott and Norman Bethune.


48,500 monographs; 261 serials; 141 serials currently received; 885 microfilms; 6,308 microfiche; 45 films; 42 audiotapes; 3,000 picture files; 869 manuscript accessions; medical artifacts.

Bibliographic Access
The printed catalogue of Osler's original collection, Bibliotheca Osleriana, (Oxford, 1929; reprinted Montréal, 1969, 1987) is supplemented by in-house card catalogues, which is in the process of being supereseded by an online catalogue.

Physical Access
The collection is open to the public. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: Pre-1918 material and items from Osler's collection are not loaned.

Reprography: Photocopying of pre-1900 material is at the discretion of the librarian. Microfilm and photography services are also available, (although not on the premises) and at the discretion of the librarian.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
Osler Library. -- The Osler Library. -- Montreal : McGill University, 1979. -- Bibliotheca Osleriana -- 1st ed. 1929, reprinted 1969, 1987. -- Osler Library Newsletter, 1969 - . 3 issues a year.