a bookplate used by Dr. Casey Wood

McGill's Medical Faculty members have always been very generous to their Library. Beginning with the first books which the four founders, Drs. Caldwell, Holmes, Robertson and Stephenson placed on the shelves, the Library has continued to receive generous support. Two of the most exciting donations must be the 8,000 rare books on the history of medicine and science donated by Sir William Osler and the 4,000 ophthalmological works donated by Dr. Casey Wood. Osler, the most famous doctor in the English-speaking world at the beginning of the 20th century was also a great bibliophile, supporting the establishment of libraries wherever he could. His devotion to McGill resulted in his leaving the University his personal library of over 8,000 works at his death in 1919.

Dr. Casey Wood, noted ophthalmologist and ornithologist, and (early in his career) Osler's clerk at the Montreal General Hospital, was a noted collector of works on ophthalmology and its history as well as ornithology. This latter interest arose from his work on comparative ophthalmology. His ornithological works now form the basis of the Blacker-Wood Library of Biology at McGill.

Books are not the only things which have been presented to the Library. Medical instruments, photographs, prints and particularly archives of McGill medical notables have been added to the collection, though these are all now under the care of the Osler Library. About 350 metres of fonds relating to Osler, Harvey Cushing (Osler's friend, colleague and biographer), Edward Archibald, Maude Abbott, Jonathan Meakins and A.E. and T.A. Malloch to name a few, have been deposited for posterity.

Gifts in kind are part of what makes a great library, but the Health Sciences Library also has the additional benefit of an endowment fund raised over many years by many individuals - staff, students, community members and medical school classes. This endowment, which we are always trying to increase, totals over $2 million and income from it is an essential part of the Library's funding. It provides about 10% of the Library's current expenditure on books and journals.

Leather drug case of Dr. George W. Major, M.D.
McGill 1871, Professor of Laryngology.
(photo by Karen Coshof)

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