Yale University School of Medicine
Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library
Medical Historical Library and Collection of Prints and Drawings

Yale professor of surgery William Carmalt operating in the Farnam amphitheatre of New Haven Hospital, ca. 1900.

Web address http://www.med.yale.edu/library/historical/
Location333 Cedar Street, New Haven
Access policyAppointment recommended
ContactMedical Historical Library Staff
Email addresshistorical.library@yale.edu
Number of photographsApprox. 7,165
Date range1880-1965
Geographic coverage

United States, Europe


Walter W. Boyd; Samuel Kravitt; Richard U. Light; Doris Ullman; various studio photographers


The Library contains milestone works in photography, such as the first medical book illustrated with photographs published in America. A large collection of post-1860 medical books include many with original photographs, photogravures, and heliographs; there are photographs in manuscript albums and scrapbooks. Holdings include 1,500 black-and-white prints, 70 glass negatives, 300 color film negatives, 350 transparencies, and 100 color prints, arranged in several series:


A large portrait collection of individual physicians and scientists

Arranged alphabetically, includes Yale faculty, physicians, and scientists from the United States and Europe, mostly portraits; some show subjects in laboratories and clinical settings; many are signed. There are hundreds of cabinet cards and cartes de visite.


Yale health professions institutional collection

Represented are the Yale School of Medicine, Yale–New Haven Hospital and its predecessors, the Yale School of Nursing, and the Yale School of Public Health; class photographs since the 1890s; photographs of buildings, laboratories, events such as anniversaries, departments, and other groups, teaching activities, and some clinical scenes, including surgical operations (but little on medical conditions and treatments).


Separate collections contain photographs of Harvey Cushing (1869–1939), his family and colleagues, including operation scenes at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston; of John F. Fulton (1899–1960); and of Sir William Osler (1849–1919), collected by Cushing for his biography of Osler.


Included is documentation of the print collection, an estimated 100 post-1950 film negatives, 2,000 transparencies, and 20 fiche cards (about 2,000 images). Four albums of medical institutions, assembled or owned by their directors, show patient life and therapies. Subjects include psychiatric hospitals in Argentina, France, and Switzerland, and orthopedic hospitals in Germany; World War I (1914-1918) and hospitals in Germany; and hospital medical staff and rehabilitation services. About 750 digital images document the poster collection.

< back