The Galter Library is open to Northwestern University faculty, staff members, students, and alumni; however, the Special Collections Department is open to all scholars who wish to use the Library's historical materials. Please contact us prior to coming to the Library for information on how to access the collection. We can be reached at 312-503-1913 or 312-503-8109, by email, or by U.S. mail: 303 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.
Reference and research services are available in person and by telephone, fax, email or postal service. Services are generally available 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, preferably by appointment.
Some services such as scanning and printing, photography, and research are fee-based. Please contact the Librarian for details.
For a list of some relevant resources, see the History of Medicine GalterList complied by librarians.
Special Collections consists of four primary collections
Special Collections also includes:
Particular strengths include works by:
Works before 1800 include:
The Galter Health Sciences Library staff has digitized Leslie B. Arey's 1979 edition of Northwestern University Medical School: 1859-1979, a pioneer in educational reform. Authored by the late Leslie B. Arey, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anatomy, the book, a revised and extended version of the centennial edition (1959) was published in 1979. This edition is generally used when referencing the history of the medical school.
Conversations with Leslie B. Arey: An Oral History of the N.U. Medical School
(60 Minutes; 1985)
James E. Eckenhoff, MD, medical school dean 1968-1985 interviews Leslie B. Arey, PhD,
NU faculty 1915-1988. The video features personal impressions, memories, and vignettes,
with photographs and film clips. Produced by the Medical School Library staff Edward Tawyea,
Associate Director 1985-1988, and Pejman Makarechi, Head of Media Production Services
1983-1988 and updated by the Galter Health Sciences Library.
Excerpted from: Conversations with Leslie B. Arey: An Oral History of the N.U. Medical School
The history of medicine does not begin and end at any particular date. 
The Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University was known as the Archibald Church Medical Library from 1927 to 1990. Dr. Church was associated with the Medical School for 25 years, first as a professor and then as chair of nervous and mental diseases and medical jurisprudence. His name is now given specifically to the library's historical book collection. This is appropriate, for it was a gift from Dr. and Mrs. Church which formed the first endowment the library received.
Irving Cutter (1875-1945), dean of the Medical School from 1925 to 1941, was responsible for the collection's extensive development. Cutter began his working life as a book salesman for the Ginn Company and remained a "bookman" all his life. Not surprisingly, Dean Cutter saw the Medical Library as his personal project, and during his tenure expanded its holdings from 13,000 to nearly 92,000 volumes.
Most importantly for the historical collections, Cutter capitalized on the Great Depression by buying up European rarities for the library at bargain prices. Dean Cutter was a noted rare book collector in private life, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology and William Harveyiana, and was a correspondent of another noted medical bookman, Harvey Cushing of Yale. Cutter's friendly rivalry with Cushing, another Harvey collector, was indirectly responsible for Yale and Northwestern possessing two of the most complete collections of William Harvey in the country; Cutter and Cushing bequeathed their private collections to their respective employers upon their deaths. 
It was Dean Cutter's historical perspective, as much as his bookmanship, that resulted in the Church collection's depth and excellence. Cutter saw the medical library as "an agent for the diffusion of culture."  He considered historical works within that library to have a humanistic value, both cultural and educational, that was more important than their status as "rare books." In his role as medical educator, Cutter frequently alluded to the role medical history had played in the "high standards and cultivation of the British medical profession, and felt that it would be of great value in raising our standards in this country if it received more general support."  For this reason the Church collection has been called a "working collection of medical classics" that represent "the major advances and theories dotting the landscape of medical history." 1. G.S.T. Cavanaugh. (1975). A further perspective on medical history collecting. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, 63 (1): 47.
In 1896, Dr. G.V. Black and Dr. Theodore Menges purchased personal libraries of many different American dentists to establish a dental collection at Northwestern University Dental School. William H. Trueman, an avid collector of pre-1800 dental literature, donated his collection to the Dental School in 1925. Books, prints, and paintings by the French, English, Dutch, and Flemish were collected by Dr. William Bebb during two European visits in the early 1920s. A special effort was made to collect early works on anesthesia, a topic of particular interest to the founders.
The 1,390 rare books in the Black History of Dentistry Collection include: an 11th century illumination from a breviary of St. Apollonia's martyrdom; Pietro d'Argellata's "Cirugia Magistri" (Venice, 1499); the first book on dentistry, entitled "Arznebuch" (1594); three editions of Pierre Fauchard's (Father of Dentistry) book, "Surgeon Dentist," dated 1728, 1746, 1766 and an English translation in 1946; Practical Observations on the Human Teeth (1783) by the first dentist to practice in the United States, Dr. Robert Wooffendale; Dr. Joseph J.F. Lemaire's early collection of teeth carved from ivory; a letter from Dr. John Greenwood to Lt. General George Washington on his denture charges (1799); and contributed research papers, letters, data and some unpublished materials by the Father of Modern Dentistry, Dr. Greene Vardiman Black.
Guide to the Digitized Collection of G.V. Black Manuscripts, Correspondence and Photographs in the Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University
The Northwestern University G.V. Black collection contains 43 manuscripts, 100 letters and photographs covering the period between 1867 and 1915. Some of the more important items in the collection are: correspondence between Dr. Black and Dr. Frederick S. McKay from the turn of the century that focus on mottled enamel of teeth and early hypotheses on water and fluoridation; correspondence, program announcements and other ephemera from the World Dental Congress held in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893; a manuscript on zoo chemistry.
Searchable Finding Aid
Special Collections serves as a valuable resource for information on faculty members and graduates of the Medical and Dental Schools and their predecessors, the Chicago Medical College and University Dental College, American College of Dental Surgery & Northwestern College of Dental Surgery, as well as the Woman's Medical College. Among its holdings are class photographs, yearbooks, and selected administrative correspondence, including that of Nathan Smith Davis, founder of the American Medical Association and the Chicago Medical College and G. V. Black, founder of the Dental School.
MEDICAL SCHOOL MATERIALS
Some highlights of historical materials related to Northwestern University Medical School and its predecessors
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL
Group Class Portraits
1881, 1884, 1888, 1891-1893, 1898-1899, 1901-1904, 1909, 1916-1917, 1920, 1926-1927, 1929, 1931, 1933-1939, 1940-1954, 1954-1957, 1959, 1960-1964, 1965-1974, 1989---
Class Portraits - Individuals
MEDICAL SCHOOL PUBLICATIONS
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL QUARTERLY BULLETIN
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENTS
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER MAGAZINE
WOMAN'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL COLLEGE
WOMAN'S MEDICAL COLLEGE OF CHICAGO
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY WOMAN'S MEDICAL SCHOOL BULLETINS
1871-1872 to 1901-1902
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY WOMAN'S MEDICAL SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENTS
PAPERS OF INDIVIDUALS:
For example, the papers of Dr. Nathan Smith Davis, co-founder of the AMA are housed here. Please contact the Special Collections Librarian to inquire about the availability of a specific individuals' papers.
PUBLICATIONS BY AND ABOUT THE STUDENTS
PAPERS SUBMITTED FOR ENTRANCE INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL
NU ANNUAL COMMENCEMENTS
(Northwestern University Yearbook, which includes the medical school)
1886-1926, 1928-1946, 1965, 1968, 1971, 1973-1975
Northwestern University Medical School, 1859-1979
Leslie B. Arey
A revision and extension of the 1959 Centennial edition
Print copies are in Special Collections, in the Reference Collection and in the stacks, and a digitized version is also available.
Woman's Medical School, Northwestern University : (Woman's Medical College of Chicago) : the institution and its founders : class histories, 1870-1896 / Avis Smith ... [et al.] ; editors, Eliza H. Root, H. G. Cutler ; collaborators, Marie J. Mergler ... [et al.] Chicago, H. G. Cutler, 1896. 610.71773 N81w 1896
v.1,1984--v.29,2013 (later title: Northwestern Medicine Magazine is an online only publication)
Office of Publications and Public Relations, Northwestern University Medical School