Our collections are made possible with the contributions of College members.
Rare book collection
The rare book collection contains over 400 items published before 1801.
Rare material published before the 1800s is generally not for loan but can be viewed on the Library premises.
Browse through our Early Medicine catalogue to view the collection of rare books held in the Library.
The rare book collection is located at the RACP Sydney office Council and Fellows Room.
View the collection
Early Medicine catalogue
Sir Edward Ford collections
Our former curator, Sir Edward Ford made several important donations to the History of Medicine Library during his association with the College.
In 1978 he donated a unique collection of19th and 20th century medical Australiana which now adorns our newly refurbished Reading Room.
On Ford's death in 1986 he bequethed the Library his international collection of rare and valuable medical books. These books are located in his eponymous room at the RACP Sydney office.
The Library also acquired his archive of medical history research, correspondence and medical instruments.
E. Graeme Robertson collection
A significant collection of neurology-related titles are held in the Library on behalf of Foundation Fellow and neurologist Graeme Robertson
Historical medical instrument and artefact collection
The History of Medicine holds over 250 historical medical instruments and artefacts. Some of the highlights include:
Astronaut John Glenn's respiratory rate graph, blood pressure and ECG taken during his orbit of earth in 1962.
Aotearoa New Zealand collection
The Aotearoa New Zealand medical history book and artefact collection is part of the Ernest and Marion Davis Library at Auckland Hospital.
With over 1000 titles held at the Library on behalf of the College, the most significant title is Booke of soveraigne medecines against the most common and known deseases of man and women [ca.165-] and is held at the National Library of New Zealand for safekeeping. There is a digitilised a copy for online viewing.
The RACP holds unique deposited archive collections as well as corporate (institutional) records. Our archives provide resources that illustrate the development of medicine and the medical profession in Australasia.
Our deposited archives and manuscripts are made up of donations or deposits from Fellows and other individuals.
Highlights from the archive:
- The history of medicine manuscripts notes, letters, research, and papers of Sir Edward Ford
- Dr William Cotter Harvey archive (his work with tuberculosis and anti-smoking lobby)
- Association of Physicians of Australia records
You'll find a range of historical medical items in our deposited archive, including:
- photographs – Fellows, College events, historical medical sites
- diaries, letters, casebooks, medical pamphlets
- research papers of medical historians.
- lecture notes, medical education and teaching material.
- ephemera relating to public health and the medical profession
- hospital records
- medical and public health organisations.
Our online library catalogue includes many of the deposited archive and manuscript items.
We are in the process of digitising documents within the archives so that they are available to view within our online catalogue.
The corporate archives are a legal and historical record of initiatives undertaken by the College to support and develop the medical profession since it was established in 1938.
Within the College’s archives you’ll find official records created and used by the College as part of its everyday work.