Opening of the Wellcome Historical Medical Library

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By | From the Collections

As we often celebrate anniversaries on this Blog, it seems only fitting that we draw your attention to a short article from the British Medical Journal, 10th December 1949 (and freely available through PubMedCentral).

The piece reports on the formal opening of the Wellcome Historical Medical Library, at 183 Euston Road, London, at a luncheon given by the Directors of the Wellcome Foundation, on 2nd December 1949. It offers a brief overview of the Library’s collections, noting their diversity (“alchemy, occultism, veterinary medicine and folklore…”) and their scale (“200,000 books, pamphlets, and journals, 5,000 manuscripts, and 100,000 autograph letters”). The image accompanying the article – also shown above – shows how much the Library’s Reading Room has changed since 1949.

As the luncheon took place on the 2nd, all available evidence suggests the Wellcome Library opened to the public the next day, the 3rd, 60 years ago today.

So – Happy Birthday to us!

(For more details on the development of the Library – both before 1949 and after – a brief history is available on our website).

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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