University of Maryland, Health Sciences and Human Services Library

Historical and Special Collections Department

Mailing Address
601 W. Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD, 21201

Contact: Richard Behles, Historical Librarian/Preservation Officer
Phone: (410) 706-5048

Hours of Service
By appointment, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm

The Library’s Historical and Special Collections Department serves as the University of Maryland archives documenting the history of the health sciences and social work professional schools on the Baltimore campus. Genealogical and other historical information about the University’s medical, dental, pharmacy, nursing, and social work schools is available. Among other items, the collection includes such sources as college catalogs, yearbooks, and selected primary documents such as matriculation ledgers and administrative minutes dating back to the University of Maryland’s nineteenth-century origin.  The Library’s rare book collection of over 8,000 volumes also resides in this department, including individual historical collections of primarily pre-1945 imprints, featuring significant works in the health sciences fields and social work.

Special Services

  • Use of cameras for photographing materials in the reading room is permitted at the librarian’s discretion
  • Photocopy permission is determined on an item-by-item basis, depending on physical condition or other circumstances, according to the librarian’s discretion

Type of Materials

  • Artifacts
  • Books and Monographs
  • Digital Collections
  • Primary Resources
  • Prints and Drawings
  • Vertical File Material

Detailed Description of Collections

  • Artifacts
    • The Theodore E. Woodward Reading Room includes a pair of tall porcelain candlesticks, with one sculpted serpent entwined about each one, representative of the staff of Aesculapius. A cast bronze mortar and pestle set, and a series of porcelain apothecary jars add to the room’s ambience.
  • Books and Monographs
    • The Reading Room houses our Crawford Collection.  Originally the private library of Dr. John Crawford, his colleagues on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine purchased his books posthumously from his estate in 1813, thus founding the school’s medical library.  Further, its place here on the mother campus of the University of Maryland defines the Crawford Collection as the origin of the University of Maryland Library system.  Other monograph holdings of the Historical Collections are organized into several collections associated with each of our campus’ health sciences and social work professional schools.
  • Digital Collections
    • The HSHSL owns a truly unique collection of 82 engravings, photographs, and other works of art on paper devoted to St. Apollonia, the patron saint associated with dentistry and dental patients.  Provenance documentation cites that the original owner assembled the collection from numerous sources across Europe.  We have re-formatted the entire collection into a set of high resolution digital images. Characteristic of each image is that the saint almost always appears holding dental forceps, and also often with the palm frond of a martyr.
  • Primary Resources
    • The Department collects published materials originating on campus as documentation of the campus’ history.  The most prevalent of these are the college catalogs from the different schools, dating back to our School of Medicine’s earliest catalog of 1837.  We also maintain the yearbooks, which began in 1897, as well as various newsletters, annual state-of-the-school reports, and other similar documentation.  Efforts are in place to capture the new electronic versions of such items, as traditional print versions no longer are appearing.  We also house several volumes of 19th-early 20th century matriculation ledgers from the various schools that figure in our institutional past.  Of additional special interest are our volumes of early faculty minutes, which record the activities of our founders, and note the 1812 birth of the University of Maryland here on our campus, as it evolved from our original College of Medicine of Maryland.  We have 166 large bound volumes of manuscript doctoral theses written by our School of Medicine students from the early 1800’s through 1887.  An electronic database of alumni is in continuing development, listing the graduates from the numerous medical and dental schools that comprise our institutional history, beginning with the early 19th Century and continuing well up into the 20th.
  • Prints and Drawings
    • We have a collection of many illustrations devoted to the history of dentistry, many of which are satirical or otherwise humorous. Many of them are reprints extracted from one source or another, but at least a couple of them appear to be possible original watercolors.
  • Vertical File Material
    • Vertical file cabinets contain biographical information about noteworthy faculty members and graduates. Materials in these cabinets include news clippings of important appointments, obituaries, and other similar significant information. Additionally, we maintain folders of printed items documenting important developments in the history of the campus, its schools and programs.

What is the UM Digital Archive?
The UM Digital Archive is a service of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) that collects, preserves, and distributes the academic works of the University of Maryland, the Founding Campus. The Archive is a place that digitally captures the historical record of the campus.

The Archive contains many types of content, including grey literature (materials that cannot be found easily through conventional systems of publication), dissertations and theses, annual reports, historical images, oral histories and more.

The Thurgood Marshall Law Library maintains the DigitalCommons@UMB Law, for the School of Law.

If you have questions about the Archive or suggestions for improving it, please contact us

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