Category Archives: News

Summer Closure

The Library is now Closed for the summer! We will re-open on Tuesday 21st August, 2.15-5pm, and will be back to more regular hours from that point on.

Over the summer, other History of Medicine resources can be found at:

The Radcliffe Science Library

The Bodleian Upper Reading Room

The History Faculty Library in the Radcliffe Camera

Please check local admissions policies before arriving at these libraries, however! Bodleian Admissions can be found here.

Of course, our online resources remain available – see the HSMT Libguide for further details!

We wish all our readers a pleasant and relaxing summer, and look forward to seeing you again in the Autumn!

Summer Shadows

Summer holiday

Vale Grace!

To all things there is a season, and to Library Assistants too! Today we say farewell to Grace, who has been Library Assistant at the Unit for two years, and who has been responsible for all the fun social media output here for the last year or so. Grace is leaving to take up the post of Senior Library Assistant for Reader Services at the Sackler Library, and we wish her all the best!

Belinda, of course, decorated the library for her last day…

Stay tuned for further details of our Summer Closures (and our opening hours.)

Call for Papers – Patient Voices

Patient Voices: Historical and Ethical Engagement with Patient Experiences of Healthcare, 1850–1948

An interdisciplinary, policy-focused symposium at New College, University of Oxford

18–19 September 2017

In 1948, diverse health provisions in Britain were consolidated into a single, state-directed service. After almost seventy years of the NHS—the bedrock of modern welfare—there is great concern about any return to a mixed economy of healthcare. The proposed privatisation of health services is controversial because it threatens to destabilise the complex relationships of patients with medical professionals and the state. It calls into question the structure and accessibility of healthcare, as well as the rights of patients, both as medical consumers and sources of medical data. Yet these are questions that equally shaped the development of the NHS prior to its foundation. Historical perspectives on pre-NHS healthcare—perspectives that are increasingly informed by the experiences of patients—are fundamental to understanding not just the past but also the choices before us.

Social historians of medicine have responded in various ways to Roy Porter’s 1985 call for histories incorporating the patient view. But despite work across diverse fields, patient voices before 1948 are yet to be fully integrated into historical scholarship. This symposium brings together historians, medical ethicists and archivists with interdisciplinary expertise to explore questions relating to the accessibility and ethics of the study of patient voices and data in the specific context of pre-NHS provisions. Through research presentations, roundtable discussions and interactive sessions, participants will explore the collection and qualitative use of historical medical records. The symposium will focus on methodological issues by investigating a range of available archives and piloting new strategies for retrieving as-yet-unheard historical patient voices. It will also address ethical issues arising from these pilot strategies, including questions of data protection, informed consent and the implications of new technologies in storing and analysing information.

Following the symposium, participants will be invited to submit articles for a special issue.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers that address one or more of the following questions:

–  How should historians access and interpret the experiences of patients, particularly those with stigmatising conditions?

–  How can historians negotiate archival ‘silences’ when locating patient voices?

–  What can patient experiences tell historians about past, present and future interactions between healthcare consumers and providers?

–  How can the study of historical patient experiences inform the social, political and clinical dimensions of healthcare in the future?

–  What ethical considerations should inform the collection, maintenance and use of sensitive medical archives, including digitisation, data analytics and discourse analysis?

–  How can attention to these ethical considerations shape the study of healthcare and facilitate high-quality medical-humanities research?

Proposals should not exceed 300 words and should be accompanied by a short biography. Please submit them to Anne Hanley (University of Oxford) and Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds) at by 1 April 2017.

Christmas Closure

The Library is now on its Christmas Closure. We wish all our readers a peaceful vacation – the library will open again in early January, keep an eye on the blog for our 2016 opening hours!

Caduceus Bulb

Meeting of the British Society for the History of Paediatrics

The Autumn Meeting of the British Society for the History of Paediatrics will take place at Brasenose College, Oxford, on September 25th-26th 2015, running from lunchtime on the Friday until lunchtime on Saturday. The meeting is open to all who are interested in the history of paediatrics and child health, including paediatricians, historians, students and others. A call for papers is currently open.

Guest speakers:

Sir Anthony Epstein FRS
Discovery of the Epstein-Barr Virus

Professor Nicholas Orme
Medieval Childhood – Dark Age or Golden Age?

Dr Alysa Levene
Paediatrics by Stealth? Medical Care for Poor Children in Eighteenth Century London

Open Papers (25 min) for Presentation
Please submit abstracts of papers for consideration for presentation (250 words, with title of
paper, name and address of author) to by 25th July 2015.

William Cadogan Prize and Lecture
The BSHPCH offers a £300 prize for an original essay of up to 3000 words, on any aspect of
the history of paediatrics and child health, in any period of time or place. The winner of the
prize will be expected to give a presentation at the meeting. Closing date for submission of the
essay is 20th July 2015, and the winner will be notified in August 2015. Further enquiries and
submissions to the Hon Secretary, Mr Nicholas Baldwin (

Tour of Bodleian Library
On Saturday afternoon there will be an optional, free, conducted tour of the Bodleian Library


News: RCS digitisation project for the UK Medical Heritage Library

Students and researchers of history of medicine may be interested to learn about a project to digitise almost 22,000 tracts and pamphlets from the library at the Royal College of Surgeons. These will become part of the UK Medical Heritage Library, a project bringing together books and pamphlets from 10 research libraries in the UK to form a digital collection of nineteenth and early twentieth century material on history of medicine and related disciplines. The digital library promotes free and open access to resources.

Digitisation work will be undertaken by a team at the Wellcome Library in London, and will make the RCS’s collection accessible globally. The pamphlets have a wide range of subject matters, and collectively provide valuable insight into developments in surgery, anatomy and disease over the duration of the century.

To read more about the project, visit the RCS website:

Power outage affecting services 15th-18th May

[reblog from the Bodleian History Faculty Library blog]

A scheduled power outage over the weekend will affect some library servers and services between 12pm on Friday 15th May and 12pm on Monday 18th May.

The list of services that will be affected for the duration of the outage includes:

Digitized books from the Oxford Google Books Project; Maps and Music digitized card catalogues; ORA; Imaging Services; BEAM; Electronic Enlightenment; BDLSS Blogs; Whats The Score; Serica (Early Chinese Books)

In addition, it will not be possible to use sunray computer terminals in the library.

Other resources/services may be affected but SOLO will not be affected.

Please speak to staff in the library if you need any assistance during this period.  We apologise for any inconvenience.