Skip to main content
Library Research Guides

Taubman Health Sciences Library Rare Book Room

A guide to the historical collections in the Rare Book Room and suggested resources on the History of Medicine.

  Rare Books Librarian


Barbara Shipman

My Contact Info:
Taubman Health Sciences Library
University of Michigan
1135 E. Catherine
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2038


Email Me


My Links:
My Profile & Guides


My Subjects:
History of Medicine,
Biological Chemistry, Cell & Developmental Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, Molecular & Integrative Physiology, Pharmacology

About the Rare Book Room

The Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library Rare Book Room serves as a resource for researchers in the history of medicine. It contains approximately 6,300 medical works of scholarly significance, original descriptions of important medical discoveries, and classic accounts of the evolution of modern medicine.

With titles dating from 1470 to the early 20th century, the collections consist primarily of pre-1850 imprints and includes

  • 82 incunabula
  • medical fugitive sheets
  • manuscripts
  • letters
  • medical cartoons
  • medical portraits
  • medical illustrations
  • 52 medical magical amulets
  • medical artifacts

The collections are almost all cataloged and represented in the University of Michigan’s online catalog Mirlyn

From its early beginnings the Rare Book Room has benefited from a number of generous donations and the continuing transfer of volumes from the Taubman Health Sciences Library stacks. Thus the collections cover a broad range of medical subjects. Particular strengths have developed in

  • anatomy
  • surgery
  • homeopathy
  • pharmacy and materia medica
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • American medical literature from the early 1800s
  • cardiology
  • pathology
  • hernia repair

  Guidelines for Using Materials

  • You will be asked to temporarily leave an ID with a staff member.
  • While waiting for the materials to be retrieved from the Rare Book Room, please wash and thoroughly dry your hands. Please do not apply hand lotion.
  • Please use pencils for note taking, rather than ink or ballpoint pens. You may borrow a library pencil if necessary. Book supports and special weights to keep tightly bound books open will be provided by staff.
  • No food or drink may be used in the vicinity of rare books.
  • Take particular care in handling rare materials, turning pages carefully. Readers must not make tracings, rubbings, or marks of any kind in library materials. No alteration of original is permitted, including removing sections, marking any item, or affixing any material (e.g. post-it notes). Do not use staples, paperclips, or rubber bands on rare materials.
  • Scanning, photocopying or photographing by readers is not permitted. Photocopies may be requested for a fee if the physical condition of original permits. Please address questions about photocopying to staff.


The Rare Book Room is located in Room 5919 of the Taubman Health Sciences Library which is part of the University of Michigan's medical campus. Access to rare books is by appointment only.

A. Alfred Taubman Health Sciences Library
1135 E. Catherine St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2038

734-763-3071 (Reference)
734-764-1210 (General Information)

To find the library, directions (click on Library name) and maps are available. Parking near the library is limited.  Visitors may wish to use buses instead.


Materials from the Rare Book Room may be used by appointment only.