Our collections

Our collections are made possible through the ongoing contributions of our College members over many years.

Rare book collection

The rare book collection contains over 400 items published before 1801.

Browse through our Early Medicine catalogue (PDF) to view the collection of rare books held in the Library.

The rare book collection is housed at the RACP's Sydney offices within its historic Fellows and Council Rooms.

Rare book material published before the 1800s is generally not for loan but can be viewed on the premises by appointment.

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 of 19th and 20th century medical Australiana which now adorns our newly refurbished Reading Room.

On Ford's death in 1986 he bequeathed the Library his international collection of rare and valuable medical books. This important collection is located in his eponymous room at the RACP's Sydney offices at 145 Macquarie St, Sydney.

The Library also acquired his archive of medical history research, correspondence and medical artefacts.

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:

Browse our featured artefact collections

Aotearoa New Zealand collection

The Aotearoa New Zealand medical history book and artefact collection is part of the Ernest and Marion Davis Library housed at Auckland Hospital.

With over 1000 titles held at the Library, the most significant title is Booke of soveraigne medecines against the most common and known deseases of man and women [ca.165-] It is held on behalf of the RACP at the National Library of New Zealand for safekeeping. They have a digitilised copy for online viewing.

Browse the Aotearoa NZ collection.

Our archives

The RACP holds unique deposited archive collections as well as corporate (institutional) records. These archives provide valuable resources which illustrate the development of medicine and the medical profession in Australasia.

Deposited archives

Our deposited archives and manuscript collection consist of donations from Fellows and other individuals.

Featured archives

Dr Cotter Harvey's archive

Dr Cotter Harvey's archive includes his time as a POW in Changi and his important work with tuberculosis and the anti-smoking lobby

Association of Physicians

Records of the Association of Physicians of Australasia, the precursor organisation to the RACP which existed between 1930 and 1938

In addition there are smaller collections of:

  • 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 library catalogue includes digitalised copies of many deposited archive items. We continue to add digitalised documents and images, ensuring they are accessible to a wide audience.

Corporate archive

The RACP corporate archive documents the activities of the College from its establishment in 1938. These institutional archives consist of the official records created and used by the College as part of its everyday work - although no longer in active use they are historically or legally significant as a record of the ongoing work of the College and the initiatives undertaken throughout its history to support and develop the medical profession.

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RACP History of Medicine Library 

145 Macquarie St,

Sydney, NSW, 2000

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