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RCSI Special Collections

RCSI Heritage Collections hold a number of special collections relating to the history and practice of medicine and surgery in Ireland.

Medical Pamphlets

This collection consists of more than 5,500 medical pamphlets spanning a period of 300 years from the late-seventeenth to the late-twentieth century. Pamphlets relate to various aspects of medical practice and education as well as the diagnosis and treatment of disease. There is a strong focus within the pamphlet collection on matters of public health and hygiene in Ireland and the United Kingdom and local eighteenth and nineteenth century issues.

The pamphlet collection also includes: reprints of journal articles by Irish medics, particularly those associated with the RCSI, or articles by notable physicians and surgeons inscribed by the author to a member of the RCSI or its library; commemorative and memorial literature relating to members of the medical profession; inaugural dissertations in Latin presented by Irishmen to obtain the MD at the Scottish and European universities.

Antiquarian bookshelfAntiquarian books

RCSI’s antiquarian book collection comprises several thousand volumes on surgery, medicine and allied topics. Works by Irish surgeons and doctors, especially those associated with RCSI, form the basis of the collection, the majority of which dates from the 1700s to the present day.

Notable collections of antiquarian books at RCSI include the Wheeler-Butcher Collection and the Doolin Collection. The focus of the Wheeler-Butcher Collection is on late nineteenth and early twentieth century surgery in Ireland while the Doolin Collection includes an emphasis on the history of medicine and of Irish medical institutions and hospitals.

InstrumentsMedical Instruments

Extending to more than 1,800 items in total, the RCSI Medical Instrument collection documents the development of tools and devices to aid surgical intervention from the eighteenth century to the present day.

Wax modelWax Models

This collection comprises 24 anatomical wax models purchased by RCSI in 1829, made possible by a donation from the Duke of Northumberland to the value of £500. The collections includes 11 by Jacques Talrich, 9 by Schloss, 1 by John Houston and 1 by Henry Dupont.

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