A Guide to the Collections

Table of Contents

Introduction to the University Libraries' Department of Special Collections

When the UMDNJ-George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences opened in 1975 it contained a History of Medicine Room established by the library director. The first collection consisted of titles in the history of the health sciences acquired since the Library's founding at the Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry in Jersey City. In 1978, the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey officially presented the contents of its library to the University (then, College), including an outstanding collection of rare and antiquarian medical books. The rare book collection was named the Morris H. Saffron Collection of Books on Historical Medicine, honoring Dr. Saffron, former Academy president and Library Chair. Dr. Saffron was instrumental in influencing the Academy to donate its collection.

In 1979, the Archives of the University (then College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey) was established at the Smith Library in order to collect official records of historic value. A full-time archivist was hired to implement the program and to oversee the history of medicine collections. In 1980, an oral history program, funded by a grant from the UMDNJ-Foundation, was begun.

Subsequent changes in staff and research needs of users resulted in a shift in emphasis in 1986 when the Special Collections Department was formalized as a division of the University Libraries. A librarian/archivist was hired to supervise the department. The focus changed to the history of medicine rather than the archives. That same year, the concept of Special Collections expanded to include a New Jersey Medical History Collection consisting of print and manuscript resources. A History of Osteopathy Collection was established at the UMDNJ Library at Stratford, the only special collection not located within the Smith Library.

In 1987, the role of Special Collections expanded once again to incorporate an exhibit program. An Exhibition Gallery opened in the Smith Library's lobby for annual and semi-annual displays. A travelling mini-exhibit program was launched for displays in other UMD Libraries, as well as an occasional exhibit elsewhere. The exhibit program publicizes and promotes use of historical resources, encourages donations, and helps to project a positive image of the University. Although artifacts had been collected informally, so as not to duplicate the artifact collection at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in 1993, the department began to assemble a collection of artifacts on a formal basis.

To meet an increasing need for graphics, the Photo and Illustration Collections and index were established in 1989. A card index was started to identify photos/illustrations/portraits related to the history of the health sciences in New Jersey in published works.

For three years, consulting archivists were hired one day a week to deal with increasing materials in the University Archives. In 1990, a full time archivist was hired by a grant funded in part by the Foundation of UMDNJ, then funded by the University Libraries. The archivist established the New Jersey Postcard and Ephemera Collections. In order to provide access to still uncatalogued unique resources in the archives, such as record groups and oral histories, in 1993 the department entered descriptions of the collections onto the Internet via UMDNJ's Campus-Wide Information System. In 1996, these descriptions became available on the web site. Finding aids are available from the homepage.

The renovation of the History of Medicine Room was completed in 1997 as a result of a generous gift from Dr. William D. Sharpe and family, and renamed in memory of Barbara Manisty Peck in March 1998. Another generous donation from the UMDNJ-Champions renamed the Archives in honor of Dr. Stanley S. Bergen, Jr., to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of his tenure as University President. This gift furnished a new Archives office adjacent to the History of Medicine office. The University supplied construction costs. The Archives project was also completed in 1997.

Medical History Collections

The Morris H. Saffron Collection and Rare Books

The Morris H. Saffron Collection is described in a published catalogue:

UMDNJ. George F. Smith Library of the Health Sciences. Morris H. Saffron Collection of Books on Historical Medicine: A Short Title Catalogue. Newark: CMDNJ, 1989.

Originally 528 volumes, the Saffron Collection is the heart of the now expanding rare and antiquarian book collection. When acquiring books for these collections, a priority is placed on adding to the strengths of the collection. While the first priority is materials related to the history of the health sciences in New Jersey, attention is also given to acquiring major works in these areas: surgery, botanicals, obstetrics, gynecology, domestic medicine, anatomy, radiology, and neurology. The collection contains works in Latin, Greek, French, Arabic, German, and Italian.

Photocopying is restricted due to preservation of the resources. On the occasions when it is permitted, department staff does copying. Researchers are required to read and sign a User's Application Form prior to working with books from the Saffron Collection.

The History Collection

The history of the health sciences collection consists of:

  • Reference materials in the history of medicine
  • Out-of-print and in-print histories, and histories of specialties
  • Selected histories of medical, dental, and health sciences organizations
  • Selected other titles transferred from the circulating collection due to subject matter and/or date of publication (pre-1900) and/or value

There are both circulating and non-circulating items in this collection.

Aaron E. Parsonnet Cardiology Collection

Dr. Arthur Bernstein presented the Aaron E. Parsonnet Cardiology Collection to UMDNJ in 1982. Dr. Parsonnet (1889-1950) was the first recognized cardiologist in Newark. He was also a skilled bookbinder and restored many of the books in this collection. It is housed in the Peck History of Medicine Room as a discreet collection. Dr. Morris H. Saffron donated letters written to Dr. Parsonnet in the 1920's by leading American physicians also in 1982. They are located in PC/3, NJ Medical History Manuscript Collection.

History of Osteopathy Collection

Steps to establish an Osteopathy History Collection were taken in 1986 when purchases were made in key works in osteopathy as recommended by a faculty member at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. The collection is housed in the Health Sciences Library on the Stratford Campus.

"Classics of Medicine"

Books in the "Classics of Medicine" series are maintained as a separate collection. Other facsimile editions are added to the History Collection.

New Jersey History of the Health Sciences Collections (NJ-HOM)

A special collection of materials related to the history of the health sciences in New Jersey is housed in the Peck History of Medicine Room. The collection includes specialized reference sources, indices, and works about or by physicians, nurses, dentists, and others related to the subject. Histories of pharmaceutical companies in New Jersey and professional organizations are also collected. The NJ-HOM Collection also includes:

  • Books, trade catalogues of medical/dental supplies, biographies, manuals, hospital histories, organizational histories, and all related materials
  • Selected Dissertations
  • Biographies of New Jersey physicians, nurses, and dentists
  • Selected literary works by significant NJ physicians and dentists
  • Pamphlets
  • Special issues of periodicals dealing with the health sciences in NJ (in the NJ-HOM vertical files)
  • Histories of hospitals and health-related institutions/organizations. Annual reports are also collected selectively with a focus on pre-1940 reports.
  • Information and finding aids for topics related to New Jersey's medical history at other repositories, such as the inventory for the Academy of Medicine's records at the New Jersey Historical Society (52 Park Place, Newark).
  • (Periodicals published by NJ medical and dental societies, and by professional associations are shelved in the Smith Library's main periodical collection)

New Jersey Medical History Manuscript Collections

The New Jersey Medical History Manuscript Collections (NJMHM) were established in 1986 for professional and private papers of distinguished individuals, and records of organizations that document the history of the health sciences and health care in New Jersey. Finding aids are prepared for the majority of collections. Data files provide additional information. No manuscript collections are catalogued. and finding aids are being made available to it. The NJMHM Collections include:

  • Account books and other financial records
  • Annual and other reports
  • Diaries
  • Medical stamps
  • Memoirs
  • Minutes and minute books
  • News clippings
  • Notebooks and scrapbooks
  • Personal and professional correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Realia
  • Research records
  • Subject files

New Jersey Medical History Oral Histories

Medicine in New Jersey During the Great Depression

  • A project co-sponsored with the Medical History Society of New Jersey.

The New Jersey AIDS Oral History Project

  • Eight interviews conducted during a grant funded by the New Jersey Historical Commission from July 1994 - June 1995. Other interviews are also available with UMDNJ faculty and staff involved with the University's AIDS programs. Four additional interviews are available with people affiliated with NJ-WAN, New Jersey Women & AIDS Network.

Miscellaneous Interviews

  • Two interviews are with faculty physician-book collectors about their personal libraries and collecting activities; an interview with Dr. Harrison Martland's secretary; and many others.

Transcripts, tapes, and data files are available in Special Collections. Data files contain releases, instructions regarding "closed" portions of interviews, and biographical information. Permission to publish materials in the interviews must be obtained in writing from the UL-Special Collections. Oral histories have not yet been catalogued; researchers can access names and abstracts on the Oral Histories Collection web page.

New Jersey History of Medicine Vertical Files

An important part of the NJ-HOM Collections is the Vertical File consisting of three areas:

  • Biographical Files of historical and contemporary leaders in the health sciences, including UMDNJ
  • UMDNJ Subject files
  • New Jersey Subject File

Materials in the files include photocopies of newspaper and journal articles, bibliographic notes, correspondence, illustrations, cross references, and so forth.

New Jersey History of Medicine Pamphlet File

The NJ-HOM Pamphlet File contains brochures, reprints, occasional photocopies, rare items, selected catalogues, and other materials. At the present time, the pamphlet files are not cataloged. The files are arranged alphabetically by author or title.

New Jersey Medical History Photographs & Iconography

New Jersey Medical History Photographs are arranged in two sections: portraits and subjects. Access is through an index of photocopies of the original images. The Iconography is a card index providing access to New Jersey medical illustrations and photographs in books and other printed materials. The alphabetically arranged index can be searched for people, places, or subjects.

New Jersey Medical History Postcard Collection

The postcard collection documents a variety of medical care facilities, and health-related businesses and institutions in New Jersey throughout the 20th century. The collection of 709 cards contains black and white, color, sepia-toned, and ‘realphoto' postcards. Most of the items date to the early 1900s -- the "golden era" of post card production.

New Jersey Ephemera

Miscellaneous printed ephemera are collected which highlights the state's medical history and health-related companies and organizations. Business cards, trade cards, advertising circulars, blotters, brochures, letterheads, and pharmacy labels are just some of the ephemera collected. These materials often document elusive elements in the state's medical history.

History of Medicine Illustration & Slide Collections

Miscellaneous medical illustrations are collected. The illustrations include prints, lithographs, etchings, broadsides, posters, woodcuts, and drawings, and depict a variety of medical subjects. Wherever possible, New Jersey images are acquired. The collection is uncatalogued. Slides of illustrations from the collections often are produced for lectures and exhibits. The slide collection includes two complete sets of slides from Vesalius' Opera Omnia.

Medical Cartoons Collection

The Medical Cartoons/Medical Illustrations Collection is a discrete collection originally found amongst materials donated by the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey. It is presumed that Academy members or librarians created the unorganized collection years ago.

In 1993, a Rutgers University undergraduate student embarked on a one-semester internship to arrange the collection and provide access. The collection is divided into broad groups -- medical cartoons or medical illustrations. Within each group, images are sorted alphabetically by subjects. Subject headings were devised by analyzing the subject content of the collection. Access is through a photocopy index. Modern medical cartoons continue to be added.

Phrenology Collection

The Phrenology Collection consists of books, pamphlets, serials, and ephemera. Manuscripts (1883-1910) found with the collection were placed in MC/27; these mainly document the careers of practical phrenologists, Sarah C. Turner and her husband, Albert Turner, of Passaic, NJ. The printed materials are inventoried and available in the Peck History of Medicine Room.

History of the Health Sciences Pamphlet File

Non-NJ pamphlet files contain exhibit catalogues, offprints, auction catalogues when related to physician-book collectors, antiquarian book catalogues when designed around a special theme, pamphlet histories of other collections and museums, and so forth. None of the pamphlets are cataloged. The pamphlets are arranged in alphabetical order by author or title.

Medical History Journals

Due to a lack of space in the Peck History of Medicine Room, most historical journals were moved to the open stacks. At the present time, the following journals are retained within Special Collections:

  • Academy Bookman, 1948-1967
  • Annals of the History of Medicine, 1917-1942
  • Bibliography of the History of Medicine, 1964+
  • Bulletin of the History of Dentistry, 1953+
  • Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 1934+
  • The Charaka Club, Vols. I - XII
  • CIBA Symposia, 1939-1951
  • Current Work in the History of Medicine, 1954+
  • Journal of the History of Medicine & Allied Sciences, 1946+
  • Medical Classics
  • Medical History, 1957+
  • Medical Library & Historical Journal, 1903-1907
  • Medical News & Library, 1846-1860
  • Nursing History Review, 1993+
  • Social History of Medicine, 1989+

In addition, copies are retained of numerous (uncatalogued and cataloged) newsletters. Other journals in the history of the health sciences have been moved due to a lack of space. Group One, the older titles, has been placed in the Peck Room. Group Two titles have been added to the main collection.

Group One:

  • Medical Observations and Inquiries, 1762, 1764, 1772
  • Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, 1827
  • New York Journal of Medicine, 1847
  • New York Medical and Physical Journal, 1822, 1824, 1825, 1827
  • Philadelphia Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1824
  • Transactions, Physico-Medical Society NY, 1817
  • Medical Life, 1920, 1922-24, 1926-28
  • The Medico-Chirurgical Review & Journal of Medical Science, First Series, 1820-1847
  • The Medico-Chirurgical Review & Journal of Practical Medicine, New Series, 1824-1847
  • The British & Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review or Quarterly Journal of Practical Medicine & Surgery, 1848-54

Group Two:

  • British Journal for the History of Science, 1962-1999
  • Bulletin of Polish Medical Science & History, 1956-71
  • CLIO-MEDICA, 1967-77
  • History of Childhood Quarterly (continued as Journal of Psychohistory), 1974-1976
  • History of Science, 1962+
  • Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 1990-1991

The Stanley S. Bergen, Jr., MD,  University Archives Introduction

Records documenting the University's historical and current development and those of its antecedent institutions are collected for the Bergen University Archives. These records include all institutional files of enduring administrative, legal, fiscal, and historic value. In addition to official records documenting the University's history, other collections in the Archives include:

  • UMDNJ Faculty Collections
  • UMDNJ Oral Histories
  • UMDNJ Photographs
  • UMDNJ Posters
  • UMDNJ Videotapes

These collections are non-circulating. Arrangements may be made to reproduce selected items. Access may be limited or restricted in some instances. See "Archives: Content and Access," University Policy Manual, Section 00-01-20-75:00, for more information.

University Records

The Archives are arranged and described in finding aids; An outline inventory of the record groups and series descriptions are located on the Internet via Special Collections' homepage. Some finding aids are linked to the homepage.

  • Records relating to the University's antecedent institutions including the records of Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry, and College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey are collected; archival records date from 1954.
  • Records of the University Board of Trustees as well as the records of the University's Central Administration are collected. These records document the offices of the President, Academic Affairs, Administration and Finance, Urban and Community Relations, Government and Public Affairs, Planning and Development, Affirmative Action, and University Libraries, as well as selected departments within these offices.
  • Records of faculty organizations including the American Association of University Professors, UMDNJ Chapter is collected.
  • The former office of the CMDNJ-Executive Vice President is represented, as well as the former Alliance for Women's Advancement, Rights, and Equality (A.W.A.R.E.).
  • A large part of what is collected is records of the eight schools of the University. These records document the history and growth of the schools, and illustrate student life. The schools documented are the New Jersey Medical School, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (formerly Rutgers Medical School),School of Osteopathic Medicine, New Jersey Dental School, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Health Related Professions (formerly School of Allied Health Professions), School of Nursing, and School of Public Health.
  • Records of UMDNJ hospitals, antecedent hospitals, core teaching hospitals, and mental health centers are collected. These institutions include Newark City Hospital including its former School of Nursing, Martland Medical Center, University (formerly College) Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center, Kennedy Hospitals-University Medical Center, and the Community Mental Health Centers at Newark and Piscataway.
  • Other records collected document the Foundation of UMDNJ, University Health Systems of New Jersey, Eye Institute of New Jersey, Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Sciences Health Institute, Coriell Institute for Medical Research, Sammy Davis, Jr. Liver Institute, all publications issued and distributed by UMDNJ, and records documenting employer-employee relations at UMDNJ.
  • Types of records collected include: minutes, agendas and attachments, memoranda, correspondence, reports, subject files, policy and procedure manuals, other manuals, annual budgets, audited financial statements, news releases, clippings, scrapbooks, annual reports, brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, union contracts, faculty and staff handbooks, student organization records, school yearbooks, school catalogs, student handbooks, class schedules, syllabi, curricula materials, alumni association records, invitations and programs, directories, publications, hospital log books, selected laboratory records, fundraising materials, realia, artifacts, photographs, slides, and videotapes.
  • Certain university records are not collected. The Office of the Registrar retains student records. Maps, prints, drawings, space surveys, blueprints, and plans documenting the physical growth of the UMDNJ campuses are retained by Architectural Services, Office of Construction and Design. The office of the dean of each school retains faculty personnel records. The Department of Human Resources retain staff personnel records. The Department of Medical Records retain University Hospital medical records. The Department of Legal Management retains legal contracts and settlement agreements. Trial case files are retained by the New Jersey State Attorney General's Office.
  • Records Management functions are not the responsibility of the Special Collections Department.

Faculty Collections

The papers of distinguished UMDNJ faculty and the faculty of its antecedent institutions are collected and maintained as the Faculty Collections. The collections document the professional careers of faculty members and demonstrate their service to the University.

Faculty Collections contain a variety of material including:

  • Biographical material including curriculum vitae, bibliographies, memoirs, clippings, and biographical sketches
  • Professional and personal correspondence
  • Teaching materials including class lecture notes, syllabi, and bibliographies
  • Research materials including notebooks, annotated reprints, and research files
  • Administrative files, reports, speeches, photographs, slides, diaries, notebooks, artwork, and memorabilia

Faculty Collections are arranged and described, but not catalogued. Finding aids are prepared for the majority of collections. An outline inventory of the Faculty Collections is located on the Internet via Special Collections' homepage. Some finding aids are linked to the homepage.

Oral History Collection

Interviews with presidents, deans, faculty, administrators, and others document the history of UMDNJ. Data files contain releases, instructions regarding "closed" portions of interviews (until a designated date to be opened), and biographical information. Permission to publish materials contained in the interviews must be obtained in writing from Special Collections. Although the oral histories are not cataloged, researchers can access names and abstracts on the Oral Histories Collection web page.

UMDNJ Photo Archives

The Photo Archives are separated into two areas: portraits and subjects. Photocopies of the originals have been compiled into notebooks to serve as an index to the collection. Arrangement in the index and the collection is alphabetical. The Archives contain several thousand images; several thousand others need to be processed and added.

UMDNJ Poster Collection

The Poster Collection graphically depicts advertising for UMDNJ programs and events. Posters and broadsides are accessioned and assigned record group numbers to reflect which aspect of University administrative units they document; they are uncatalogued.

UMDNJ Artifacts

Artifacts representing University history were accessioned in two different ways:

  • Prior to November 1992, they were given a general accession number and placed in the respective record group
  • After November 1992, when artifact collecting was formalized, they were entered into the Artifact Accession Register. They are still physically shelved within the respective record group, with the exception of paintings.

UMDNJ Vertical Files

The UMDNJ Vertical Files contain both subject and biographical files. UMDNJ biographies are interfiled with the New Jersey biographical files. Subject files document the development of UMDNJ, its schools, affiliates, and antecedents. They primarily include photocopies of newspaper articles and miscellaneous University ephemera.

An example of the organization scheme for UMDNJ Vertical Files is as follows:

UMDNJ. Board of Trustees

UMDNJ. Coriell Institute for Medical Research

UMDNJ. Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

UMDNJ. History

  • Pre Seton Hall College of Medicine & Dentistry (SHCMD) SHCMD, 1954-65
  • New Jersey College of Medicine & Dentistry, 1965-70
  • College of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, 1970-81
  • UMDNJ, 1981-

UMDNJ. Kennedy Memorial Hospitals -UMC

UMDNJ. Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

  • Cancer Institute of New Jersey
  • Histories
  • Students

UMDNJ. School of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Academic Center
  • Center for Children's Support
  • Urban Clinical Campus

Videotape Collection

Videotapes produced by or about UMDNJ and its antecedent institutions are collected. The videotapes are accessioned and assigned record group numbers to reflect which aspect of University history they document. Videotapes are not cataloged. Duplicate videotapes may circulate.

Artifact Collection*

A formal Artifact Collection was established November 1992. Prior to this date, the only artifacts collected documented UMDNJ history, and they continue to be added to their respective record groups. The Department now actively seeks out and acquires other artifacts, particularly those documenting New Jersey medical history. Artifacts are primarily used for exhibition purposes.

The Artifact Collection includes, but is not limited to:

  • Artwork
  • Furniture
  • Medical equipment
  • Medical instruments
  • Medical supplies
  • Pharmaceutical containers
  • Textiles

Although uncatalogued, artifacts are accessioned through a separate Artifact Accession Register.

*Note: The University's major artifact collection is housed at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway. [RWJMS Medical Artifact Collection] The collection formerly belonged to the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey, which presented it to Rutgers Medical School (now RWJMS) at the same time the Academy's library was donated to UMDNJ. Part of the collection is on permanent display near the auditorium of the medical school building. Artifacts are borrowed occasionally for exhibits at the Smith Library.

Bibliography on History of Medicine, UMDNJ Archives and its Resources

Densky-Wolff, Lois. "Hospital Postcards: The New Jersey View, Parts I and II." New Jersey Medicine 1994; 91(2,3): 85-89, 160-165.

________________. "Libraries Collect Postcards: Two Case Studies." Popular Culture in Libraries 1995; 3(2): 35-39; published simultaneously in Norman D. Stevens, ed. Postcards in the Library: Invaluable Visual Resources. Binghamton, NY: Harworth Press, 1995.

Irwin, Barbara Smith. "The Legacy of New Jersey Physician Book Collectors." New Jersey Medicine 1992 Nov; 89: 829-32.

_________________. "Medical History: A Letter Written Two Centuries Ago." New Jersey Medicine 1993 Dec; 90: 916-7.

__________________. "The New Jersey AIDS Oral History Project and AIDS Collection." The Watermark 1996 Fall; XIX:4: 115-8.

_________________. "Research Column: The Medical History Collection at UMDNJ Libraries." New Jersey Libraries 1994 Fall: 23 - 24.

_________________. "The Early Years of Radiology in New Jersey: An Interview with C. Richard Weinberg, MD." New Jersey Medicine 1995 Nov; 92:735-7.

For reference service and information contact:
Robert Vietrogoski
Special Collections
FAX 973-972-7474