Historical Collections

Overview | Archival and Printed Collections | Contact Information


The Historical Collections of the WHSC Library document the history of Emory medicine and health sciences, from the first graduating class in 1855 to current day. The collections tell the story of how medical practice has advanced through the lens of Emory's colleges and hospitals, from the doctors, surgeons and nurses, to the students and patients.

Our library is open to everyone, from members of the Emory community to the general public.

Archival and Printed Collections

The WHSC Library collects and houses printed material related to the history of medicine, historical materials pertaining to the Emory School of Medicine, and artifacts reflecting medical practices from more than a century ago. Among the highlights of our printed collection is a 1543 first edition of Andreas Vesalius' book De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). One of the most important anatomy books in history, the book redefined our understanding of human anatomy, largely through Vesalius' use of human cadavers rather than animals. Featured in the archives are collections from the predecessor colleges of the Emory School of Medicine, beginning with the Atlanta Medical College, the first medical school in Atlanta established in 1854. Other notable collections include the personal papers of renowned cardiologist J. Willis Hurst, who served as cardiologist to President Lyndon Johnson for 18 years, and the papers of Daniel Elkin, a pioneer in vascular surgery in the mid-20th century. The library also houses and collects records from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and its predecessor, the Wesley Memorial Hospital Training School of Nurses, as well as vintage medical instruments including a Civil War surgical kit and saddlebags used by doctors in the late 1800s.

To use the Emory Finding Aids Database, visit the page.

Contact Information

Researchers seeking to use the WHSC Library Historical Collections should contact Emily Corbin to schedule a research appointment:

Emily Corbin
Archives Specialist Sr.
Phone: (404) 727-5819
Email: emily.corbin@emory.edu