History of Medicine

Dream Anatomy

A website created to support an exhibition at the National Library of Medicine. Dream Anatomy shows off the anatomical imagination from 1500 to the present.

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Historical Anatomies on the Web

Historical Anatomies on the Web offers high quality images from important anatomical atlases in the National Library of Medicine’s historical collection.

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Images from the History of Medicine (NLM)

A collection of nearly 70,000 images from the collections of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine. It includes portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine dated from the 15th to 21st century.

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IndexCat is a digitized version of the printed Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon General’s Office. The Index-Catalogue is a multi-part printed bibliography of items in the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office, U.S. Army. It contains material dated from the 1400s through 1950 and is an important resource for researchers in the history of medicine, history of science, and for clinical research. This database is searchable by keywords.

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Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database

The Literature, Arts, & Medicine Database is an annotated multimedia listing of prose, poetry, film, video and art that was developed to be a dynamic, accessible, comprehensive resource for teaching and research in Medical Humanities, and for use in health/pre-health, graduate and undergraduate liberal arts and social science settings. It is a multi-institutional project that was initiated by faculty of the New York University School of Medicine. The database can be searched by annotations, keyword, text, or people.

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MEDLINE provides authoritative medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, pre-clinical sciences, and much more from over 4,800 current biomedical journals. Citations are included from Index Medicus, the International Nursing Index and the Index to Dental Literature. Additionally includes table of contents information for 2,400 titles from the British Document Supply Centre.

Medline QR Code

Scan the code for direct access on your mobile device.


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MEDLINE is produced by the National Library of Medicine. It includes all references from Index Medicus, the International Nursing Index, and the Index to Dental Literature and is considered the premiere biomedical database. Abstracts are included for many of the citations.

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NLM’s History of Medicine Archives

This system provides access to the nearly 60,000 images in the prints and photograph collection of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

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OLDMEDLINE represents journal article citations from two printed indexes: Cumulated Index Medicus (CIM) and the Current List of Medical Literature (CLML). Created by the National Library of Medicine, these approximately 1,816,000 citations to articles from international biomedical journals cover the fields of medicine, preclinical sciences and allied health sciences from 1949 through 1965.

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P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Interior photograph of the Nixon Library


Monday-Friday Saturday Sunday
8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Closed

There is no charge to view the collections. If you have specific research needs call or e-mail to make an appointment, as some materials are located remotely.

Address & Contact Information

7703 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio TX, 78248
5th floor, Briscoe Library
(210) 567-2400

The Special Collections of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

San Antonio physician and historian Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon lent his name to what is now a treasure-trove of antiquarian texts, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Ophthalmology, surgery, and anatomy are particular strengths of the Nixon Library. Also contained within the Special Collections are classic European and early American first editions, such as Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. A number of magnificent anatomical atlases feature illustrations that qualify as works of art in their own right.

Photograph of Dr Charleen Moore and two students during the 2007 elective History of AnatomyOriginally donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970s by the Bexar County Medical Society, the superb core collection has expanded to contain close to 5000 volumes of treasured medical texts, including important works by Vesalius (De Humani Corporis Fabrica – 1543), Albinus (Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body – 1749), Celsus (De Medicina – 1481), Avicenna (The Canon of Medicine – 1486), Burton (Anatomy of Melancholy – 1632), and Hooke (The Micrographia – 1667).

The library regularly features holdings in the Treasures of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Blog

Tours of the Nixon Library, including viewings of rare books within subject areas, can be arranged by contacting Assistant Director for Special Collections Anne Comeaux at (210) 567-2428 or email comeaux@uthscsa.edu. Selected materials from the Nixon Library may also be viewed online in the UTHSC Digital Archive / History of Medicine Collection and the Portal to Texas History.

Policies for the Use of Materials in the Special Collections


Visit the Digital Archive

About the Image: 4th year medical students Nadine Terrazas and Robyn Treadwell visit the P.I. Nixon Library in April 2007 during the senior medical school elective, History of Anatomy In Situ, directed by Charleen M. Moore, PhD, Professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology.

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

The Nixon Library has an active Friends group that meets regularly for lectures, films, and dinners. Membership is open to all. For more information, visit the Friends page.

Popular books on the history of medicine

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Library have purchased a collection of popular books on the history of medicine. The books highlight significant periods and events in medical history and are located in the library’s general collection. To view a complete list of titles and locations click here.

Library ExhibitsIllustration of a man using a dog to pull out a mandrake

Exhibits on medical historical topics are researched and mounted for the Health Science Center by various Special Collections staff. These displays are available as traveling exhibitions to other institutions as an educational service offered by the Library.  The Library also sometimes mounts exhibits from sources outside the Health Science Center.  Contact Jonquil Fieldman, Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services, at email feldman@uthscsa.edu or (210) 567-2430 if you have an exhibit you would like displayed in the library.

About the Image: A man uses a dog to pull a mandrake from the ground from Histoire de la medecine, de la pharmacie, de l’art dentaire et de l’art veterinaire by Jacques Poulet, Jean-Charles Sournia, and Marcel Martiny. (Click image for larger view.) This book is available to view in the P.I. Nixon Library.

University Archives and Local History Materials

Bexar County and South Texas have a rich medical heritage. The University Archives houses historical records of the University and the development of medicine in Bexar County and South Texas. The Archives provides a reference service for the Health Science Center community and a repository for the preservation of historically important University records.

You can find detailed information about many of our archival collections at Texas Archival Resources Online.

Included in the collection are:

  • University publications
  • correspondence of key officials
  • minutes
  • student yearbooks
  • papers of early San Antonio physicians
  • and more

The Special Collections staff actively seek to acquire materials related to the history of medicine, including:

  • manuscripts
  • journals and account books of local physicians
  • photographs of area hospitals and health practitioners
  • records of local medical organizations

Persons owning such materials are encouraged to donate them so that they may be preserved and made available for research. The community is also reminded that materials that do not seem valuable today may provide an important historical insight in the future.

For more information about the archives or to make an appointment to view archival materials, contact Library Archival Assistant Mellisa DeThorne at 210-567-2470, email dethorne@uthscsa.edu or Assistant Director for Special Collections Anne Comeaux at 210-567-2428, email comeaux@uthscsa.edu.

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