Students Staff

14 May 2008

Library receives medical collection

Colchester Campus

Nigel Cochrane, Deputy Librarian

Have you ever wondered how the founding fathers of modern medicine treated insanity, cancer and nervous disorders?

If so, a new collection given on permanent loan to the University of Essex’s Albert Sloman Library could be just what the doctor ordered.

The Library has taken receipt of the historical library of the Colchester Medical Society where it will be catalogued and made available to researchers, students and the public. The collection includes such titles as Pinel on Insanity, Baillie of Anatomy, Lommius on Fevers, Carmichael on Cancer and Whyte on Nervous Disorders.

The collection comprises 500 volumes, many of which date from the earliest days of printing, and includes important treatises by the founding fathers of modern medicine and surgery. Prior to their move to the University, the books have been held at Essex County Hospital in Lexden Road and at the Postgraduate Medical Centre at Colchester General Hospital.

Nigel Cochrane, Deputy Librarian, said: ‘The collection will be held within our Special Collections where computerised cataloguing is about to begin. The collection will be of great interest to students and scholars of medical history.’

Founded in 1774, the Society is the oldest provincial medical society in England and has at various times functioned as an academic centre, an ethical and disciplinary body and a social club for local doctors. The formation of a library was one of the earliest objectives of the Society, but it was only in 1843 that a permanent collection was founded, with the first library committee being elected a decade later in 1855.

For further information please contact the University of Essex communications office on 01206 873529 or e-mail

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