Rare Books and Special Collections


Rare Books and Special Collections consist of more than 8,000 medical texts published as early as 1496 and newer print and audiovisual materials of local interest. Items do not circulate but can be used within the library by appointment.

Rare Books Collections

The collection brings together rare books from the former libraries of the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Graduate School of Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic including notable donations by Dr. Gerald Rodnan and Dr. Mark Ravitch. The scope is international in terms of language and origin of materials.

Materials in the Rare Book room are not arranged by class number but by shelving numbers. The books stay in the same place even when the collection grows. In lieu of call numbers access, topical collections were created to offer an additional way for discovering the rare books. Each of these static “collections” exposes the provenance or strength of our rare book collection while highlighting the most interesting items and gems.

The Browse the collection links below (also available on each page) open a list in each category and facilitates perusal of titles not shelved by class numbers

All Rare Books Collections materials can also be located through PittCat for the Health Sciences (Catalog).

Special Collections

The growing collection of print materials relating to people involved with the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and hospitals of UPMC is discoverable through PittCat. For certain unique manuscript or archival materials, finding aids were created to provide a more detailed description than a cataloging record: