The History of Medicine Collection

About the History of Medicine Collection

The History of Medicine Collection is located on the third floor of the Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Room 307 of the IB building on the IU School of Medicine's Indianapolis campus. Thanks to a generous gift in 2015, the newly remodeled room was named for Dr. Leo J. McCarthy, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and former Director of Transfusion Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The History of Medicine Collection is open by appointment only, Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm (excepting holidays when the library is closed). Research appointments and classes can be scheduled by emailing Please contact us at least one business day in advance of your proposed visit and inform us of your research topic and/or which materials you would like to view.


The Ruth Lilly Medical Library’s History of Medicine Collection is committed to supporting the research, learning, and educational success of Indiana University students, faculty, and community members by collecting, preserving, interpreting, and providing access to unique materials documenting the history of medicine; medical education, training, research, and practice; and health and disease treatment and prevention in the state of Indiana and beyond within the global context of the Western medical tradition.


The History of Medicine Collection includes, but is not limited to, the archival records and papers of Indiana University School of Medicine faculty and alumni, researchers, professional organizations, advocates, and practitioners in the medical and health care professions; a significant number of medical instruments and other artifacts; and rare and early print books, periodicals, and other publications on various subjects including anatomy and physiology, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, pathology, pharmacology, psychiatry, military medicine (especially during the U.S. Civil War), medical ethics, and public health.

For more information about our holdings, please visit the History of Medicine Research Guide.


The Ruth Lilly Medical Library appreciates the consideration of those who would like to donate materials to the History of Medicine Collection. However, due to space constraints and the high cost of processing and preserving donated items, we cannot accept all materials. If you are interested in donating to the collection, please be aware that the library is usually not able to accept items that are outside the scope of our collecting priorities, damaged and/or in poor physical condition, or that duplicate our current holdings.

Please see the Ruth Lilly Medical Library’s Donor Agreement Form (PDF) for additional details.

User Policies

  • The History of Medicine Room (IB 307) may be used for classes or research by contacting or 317-274-7194. Preferred appointment hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm (excepting holidays when the library is closed), but exceptions may be made by prior arrangement.
  • All researchers must fill out and sign a User Agreement Form to use the collection materials.
  • No eating or drinking is permitted in the reading room for the preservation of the materials. When reserving the room, alternate room arrangements must be made for any food or beverage service accompanying a meeting, class, or presentation.
  • Only research materials, notebooks, pencils, laptop computers/tablets, digital cameras, cell phones, and adaptive/assistive equipment are allowed in the reading room. All other belongings must be stored at the front of the room or in lockers available on the second floor of the library. The library is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
  • Library staff have the right to inspect any materials taken in or removed from the History of Medicine Room for security purposes.
  • All materials in the History of Medicine Collection are non-circulating.
  • Use pencil only for taking handwritten notes. Laptop computers may also be used.
  • Handle all materials with care and retain the order of papers or items within a file or box. If you find damaged material or believe there are items missing from within a file, please notify the staff.
  • When viewing photographs, gloves (provided by library staff) must be worn to protect the photographs.
  • When handling fragile materials, certain precautions may be taken (e.g., the use of gloves, book cradles, etc.) to ensure that the materials are not damaged. Library staff will instruct you on proper handling procedures.
  • Photocopies and scans are not permitted by users. Users are permitted to take photos of materials with their camera or cell phone (without flash) for personal research use. For a fee, library staff may reproduce some items, within copyright restrictions, for individuals provided that the material is not fragile or damaged.

Materials within the History of Medicine Collection may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code), which governs reproduction, distribution, public display, and certain other uses of protected works. Users of materials in the History of Medicine Collection are responsible for compliance with the law. Uses may be allowed with permission from the rights holder, or if the use is fair use or within another exception, or if the copyright on the work has expired. The Ruth Lilly Medical Library is the copyright holder for some, but not all, of the materials we hold. Please note that we do not know the copyright status or copyright holder for some of the materials in our collection, and cannot grant permissions for any materials to which we do not hold copyright. Contact us for information on the copyright status of specific materials.

Contact Us


For additional information about the History of Medicine Collection, please contact:

Brandon T. Pieczko
Digital and Special Collections Librarian
Ruth Lilly Medical Library, IB 307A
Indiana University School of Medicine

p: 317-274-7194