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HIST 319: Women in the History of Science and Medicine (BMC)

HIST 319: Women in the History of Science and Medicine (Black)

Philadelphia Historical Libraries

Philadelphia is rich in historical libraries, many of them founded in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a number of them have extensive collections on the history of science and medicine.   The libraries most likely to be useful for this course are:

Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University.  (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway).  Founded in 1812, the Academy has sponsored scientific expeditions throughout the world.  The Academy's library and archives contains the archives for many of these expeditions, as well as a library of 250,000 works on natural history dating from the 16th century.  Hours: 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday.

American Philosophical Society, 105 South 5th Street (across from Independence Hall).  Started by Benjamin Franklin, the APS has strong holdings on natural history, genetics and evolutionary biology, including many papers of Charles Darwin.  Hours: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday. 

Chemical Heritage Foundation.  (315 Chestnut Street).  Research library focused on the history of chemistry, with holdings dating back to the 15th century.   Hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday.

College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  (19 South 22nd Street).  Founded in 1787, the College maintains an extensive library on the history of medicine. Hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm, Tuesday - Thursday.

Drexel University College of Medicine. The Legacy Center.  (2900 West Queen Lane). The Archives for the predecessor schools for the Drexel University College of Medicine, including the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, founded in 1850.  Hours: 9:30 am - 4;30 pm, Monday - Friday.

The Library Company of Philadelphia (1314 Locust Street).  The Library Company is an independent research library founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731.  Its collections focus on American society and culture from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and include many early works on medicine, science and technology. Hours:  9:00 am - 4:45 pm Monday-Friday.

For a listing of other major historical research libraries in the region, see the website for the Philadelphia Area Consortium for Special Collections Libraries:


Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine.  Based in Philadelphia, the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine promotes public and scholarly understanding of the multitude of ways in which science, technology, and medicine shape our lives. The website provides links to conferences, activities, and collections in the region.

Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections/ Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library

Haverford and Swarthmore are the two leading libraries for studying the history of Quakerism, and both libraries have extensive holdings of family papers and correspondence, organizational records, pamphlets, and newspapers documenting life in the Philadelphia region.

Haverford College Quaker and Special Collections is in Magill Library.  Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday.

Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library is in McCabe Library.  Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Saturday.

Collections Outside of Philadelphia