Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List
Students should make an effort to read through either Roy Porter's The Greatest Benefit to Mankind (1999) OR Jacalyn Duffin's Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction (2nd edn, 2010). Porter is perhaps more comprehensive, while Duffin is newer and much more fun. Both are easily available in paperback.
The standard (and now dated) introduction to medical bibliography is "Garrison & Morton"—more correctly Morton's Medical Bibliography: an Annotated Check-List of Texts Illustrating the History of Medicine, 5th edn., edited by Jeremy M. Norman (1991). Its history is worth a lecture in itself. It is out of print, and used copies are expensive, but it's easy enough the find in reference collections for a riffle through before attending class. A bargain-basement substitute is available in hard copy or PDF from the Medical Library Association as BibKit#5: History of the Health Sciences, by Patricia E. Gallagher and this instructor (2002).
A number of history of medicine collections have issued catalogues of their holdings. Most recent is Hidden Treasure: The National Library of Medicine, edited by Michael Sappol (2012). A free PDF copy can be downloaded from NLM's website:
Another catalogue worth knowing is One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, edited by Haskell Norman for the Grolier Club in 1994.
Students wishing to brush up on their bibliography are referred to the usual sources: Carter, Gaskell, and (for illustration processes) either Gascoigne or Richard Benson, The Printed Picture (2008).