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Detailed Record


Casey A. Wood Collection

Casey A. Wood Collection

Physical Description

1 m of textual records



Biographical Sketch / Administrative History

Dr. Casey Albert Wood, 1856-1942, was an ophthalmologist, an ornithologist and a bibliophile. Born in Wellington, Ontario, Casey Wood obtained his M.D. from the University of Bishop’s College in 1877 and McGill in 1906 after the merger of the two medical faculties. He served as a clinical clerk under William Osler at the Montreal General Hospital, beginning a life-long friendship which included their shared interest in book collecting. By 1886, Casey Wood had decided to make Ophthalmology and Otology his specialty, beginning further studies in New York followed by study in Europe. In 1889, he settled in Chicago where he practiced, taught and published extensively. In 1911, he presented a large collection of rare books on the subject of diseases of the eye to McGill’s Medical Library. In 1919, he established and endowed the Emma Shearer Wood Library of Ornithology at McGill University. The Blacker-Wood Library of Biology resulted in the fusion of the Ornithology Library with the Library of Zoology founded and endowed by his friends Robert Roe Blacker and his wife Nellie Canfield of Pasadena, California. Casey Wood’s research into ophthalmology developed into an interest in the history of ophthalmology, comparative ophthalmology, the study of the eyesight of birds, and finally into a passion for collecting books on these subjects. In 1917, after a succesful career, Wood retired and he and his wife, Emma Shearer travelled extensively to British Guiana, India, Ceylon and the South Pacific, adding to and broadening the range of his collecting activity. He also translated many hitherto untranslated works of historical interest on ophthalmology.

Scope and Content

The collection shows Dr. Casey Wood’s interest for ophthalmology, especially in the history of ophthalmology but also for medicine in the countries he visited, among them Ceylon. The collection contains rough copies of published articles or planned papers on these subjects. Ayurvedic medicine is a major interest. The collection also contains three versions of the “Descriptive catalogue of the Casey A. Wood Collection of Sinhalese Materia Medica for the Museum of McGill University”.

Finding Aids

Complete inventory list available online.

Custodial History

Donated originally by Casey Wood to the Medical Library and later transferred to the Osler Library.


The documents are mostly in English, but also in Latin, French, German, and Indian dialects.

Source of Supplied Title Proper

Title based on the documents of the collection.

Retrieval Number




Wood, Casey A.