Health and the Healer in Western History - HIST 249

Liaison librarian

  • mary.yearl [at] (Email) 514-398-4475 x09847
  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

Reference Sources (Encyclopedias/Dictionaries)



  • The Cambridge World History of Human Disease. Osler Ref folio QZ 11.1 C178 1993
  • Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine. Osler Ref WZ 13 C737 1993. This work has many good essays with bibliographies.
  • A Dictionary of the History of Medicine. Osler Ref folio WZ 13 S443d 1999
  • Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence: from Ancient Times to the Present. Osler Ref folio WA 13 E565 2001


  • McGill University's WorldCat Catalogue lists almost all of the printed holdings in the various branches of the McGill Library, as well as electronic, microform and audio-visual material, such as e-books and e-journals.
    • An easy way to narrow down printed books to only history of medicine (i.e. eliminate contemporary medical literature from your search results) is by searching in the Osler Library subcatalogue of the Classic Catalogue:
      • Click the "Sub-catalogues" tab, then click "Osler Library of the History of Medicine" under the Libraries and Collections category
      • Run your search!
  • Use McGill's WorldCat Catalogue when searching for e-journals, e-books and databases.


Article Indexes and Databases

History of Medicine

  • History of Science, Technology and Medicine (HSTM) Journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of medicine and allied fields, science and technology.

    NOTE Most of the medical entries date from 1991 to 2004, so to locate earlier works on the history of medicine it is best to consult the Subject Catalogue of the History of Medicine and Related Subjects (Osler Ref folio ZW 1 W447s 1980 - 18 volumes), published by the Wellcome Library, for the period 1900-1978. Material from 1979-1991, and a great deal more, can be found in the The Wellcome Library online catalogue, which contains records for books, journals, reports, pamphlets, theses, patents and images.

  • LocatorPlus This is the catalogue of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in the U.S., containing records of books, book chapters (individual essays) and audiovisual material.
  • MEDLINE Produced by the National Library of Medicine, MEDLINE is a major bibliographic index of journal articles covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the pre-clinical sciences going back to before 1950, including some historical articles. Limit a search to material specifically about the history of medicine.

General History

  • America: History and Life This contains references to journal articles, book reviews and some dissertations about Canadian and United States history from the earliest times. Its subject coverage is broad and includes medical topics.
  • Historical Abstracts This contains references to journal articles, book reviews and some dissertations about the history of all parts of the world from 1450, EXCLUDING Canada and the United States. Its subject coverage is broad and includes medical topics.
  • NOTE: You can search both "America: History and Life" and "Historical Abstracts" simultaneously by selecting both in the choose databases section, the link for this is located next to the database name.
  • Humanities Full Text (Wilson) This indexes a wide range of historical material, including ancient and medieval history. Older material (published before 1984) can be found by selecting Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 in the database selection area.
  • International Medieval Bibliography. This database indexes articles from 4 500 periodicals, plus essays in collections and conference proceedings. It has over 300 000 citations of material on Medieval Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It is particulary good for finding recent material. NOTE: there can only be three simultaneous users so you may experience delays getting on.
  • Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Contains close to one million citations to books, articles, essays and conference proceedings dealing with the period from 400 to 1700.


Historical Medical Images

  • Images from the History of Medicine There are nearly 60 000 scans of images in this database from the collection of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.
  • Wellcome Images The Wellcome Trust Medical Photographic Library has scans of over 160 000 historical and contemporary images. Search for historical images in advanced mode.


Other Useful Information

Guide to Turabian Citation Style

Library Information


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