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Rare Books and Periodicals

The rare book collection consists of approximately 11,000 volumes published between 1538 and the present, including works concerning the history of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing and other related fields. Some of the volumes were once part of Tompkins-McCaw's circulating collection until all books published prior to 1900 were transferred to Special Collections and Archives. Our collections also include books that are considered valuable, unusual or fragile. Due to their condition and status as rare, these materials benefit from a light, temperature and humidity controlled environment. They are stored in closed-stacks areas to control these environmental factors and ensure that the books are available for our patrons to use for many years to come.  

Books in Special Collections are not available for circulation, but they may be used in the Reading Room on the first floor during normal business hours. Our staff is also available to help locate materials, or they may be found through VCU Libraries search.

Notable book collections:

  • 19th Century American Medical Imprint Collection: A group of texts produced by East Coast publishing houses that represent the state of American medical literature in the 19th century.
  • Confederate Medical Imprints: Medical works published in the Confederate States of America between 1861 and 1885.
  • Herman J. Flax Collection of Physiatry: Nearly 500 volumes donated by Dr. Flax, a 1940 graduate of the Medical College of Virginia, which cover subjects such as rehabilitation, physical medicine, occupational therapy, orthopedics and alternative medicine.
Contact Us
(804) 828-9898
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are recommended.


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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