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About Us

Vital connections between past, present, & future of medicine in Connecticut.

The medical community in Connecticut is diverse, dynamic, unique.

And at HMS, we welcome all—from students to practicing physicians, retired doctors to administrators and healthcare providers.

Together we celebrate the history of medicine in our state while promoting the latest tools and techniques that will lead us into the future of medicine and health.

We Nurture a Community of Physicians

HMS promotes comradery among Connecticut’s passionate medical community. With our collective knowledge and experience, there is so much to share. HMS is the vital connection, bridging gaps and growing meaningful relationships.

We Learn
and Grow Together

All medical professionals are welcome to participate in HMS lectures, social activities, and outreach opportunities. From mentoring and scholarships for the next generation to exciting events that keep even retired physicians on the cutting edge of medicine, HMS offers learning for all.

We Share

HMS keeps the history of medicine in Connecticut alive and well. After all, lessons from the past can help the medical community today and tomorrow. With The HMS Library, home to our collection showcasing Hartford's history of medicine, as well as our events and seminars, we champion the history in the “every day.”

Our Mission

In uniting the medical community in Connecticut, we inspire one another with shared knowledge, insightful discussion, and educational events designed to:

  • Address the compelling problems facing medicine now and in the future;
  • Promote collegiality among medical professionals;
  • Inform the Greater Hartford community about medical challenges and solutions; and
  • Encourage interest in the medical humanities, especially the history of medicine, using the HMS Library as a resource.

A Brief History of HMS

Founded in 1846, the Hartford Medical Society has connected the past, present, and future of medicine in Connecticut for more than 170 years. Throughout our existence, physicians of all kinds have benefited from the knowledge, camaraderie, and service opportunities HMS offers.

HMS took root in the nineteenth century, a time that saw dramatic changes in the practice of medicine. Medical training was originally provided through apprenticeships, yet during this period of growth, new practices like experimentation and observation as well as regulated curricula and clinical training began to blossom.

This great shift toward professionalization and science can be seen in HMS’ first set of rules, adopted on September 15, 1846: “The object of this Society is to maintain the practice of Medicine and Surgery in this city upon a respectable footing; to expose the ignorance and resist the arts of quackery; and to adopt measures for the mutual improvement, pleasant intercourse, and common good of its members.” Hartford Medical Society was born of the need to come together and better the profession of medicine—not much different than our aim today!

Credentials and training became even more important during the latter portion of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. Throughout that crucial period, Hartford physicians gained a reputation for superior care, due in great part to the Hartford Medical Society and our library. This collection grew out of the Hopkins Medical Society and the generous donations of our members. In 1889, our collection was strengthened with the acquisition of the library of the Hartford Medical Library and Journal Association that had disbanded that year. From these beginnings, and with an active acquisitions budget, the collection grew to 27,445 volumes by 1965.

In the 1990s, negotiations began with the University of Connecticut Health Center for the administrative management and housing of the HMS collection which later took place in April 2009 where it would reside for thirteen years. In September of 2022, the HMS collection returned to the Watkinson Library at Trinity College where it had previously been housed from 1893 to 1898. 124 years later, the collection has expanded from 900 books to over 30,000 volumes, 100 archival collections, and 550 medical artifacts. The evolution of this library—and HMS itself—continues on, connecting the past with present and future.