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The Collection

Modern medicine didn’t fall into our laps—it was discovered, sometimes painstakingly and sometimes in brilliant sparks of insight. The history of medicine in our state is vast, surprising, and completely unique. At HMS, we are proud stewards of that story.

Housed at UConn Health, the HMS Library is a historical collection of volumes and artifacts dating back to the 1500s. Founded in the nineteenth century as a training tool for Connecticut’s medical professionals, the HMS collection has grown into something much larger. It’s a historical record that charts where we’ve been—and may very well hold the answers to current and future challenges in medicine.

cleaning up

‘Cleaning Up’ in the Early 20th Century

Take a look into the record of The Connecticut Society of Social Hygiene, a group formed in 1910 with the intent to combat venereal disease and promote healthy living through education. The group was active through the middle of 1917 when the United States entered World War I.


Poetry from the Civil War Hospital

The Knight U.S. Army General Hospital in New Haven was one of nine Civil War hospitals that wrote and published newspapers on-premises. Convalescent patients, soldiers, doctors, nurses, clerks, and chaplains shared their experiences—especially in poetry, a prominent feature of the time. Read their messages of empathy and understanding in the “Knight Hospital Record.”


Discovering Anesthesia

Can you imagine an operating room without anesthesia? Dive back into the middle of the 19th century when the field of anesthesia was just in its infancy. The HMS library documents this unique time of experimentation—including the contribution of Horace Wells, the Hartford dentist who pioneered the use of nitrous oxide in dentistry.