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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the MĂ©tis Nation. More

Neil John Maclean Health Sciences Library: Ross Mitchell Rare Book Room

Special Collections

About the Rare Book Room

The Manitoba Medical College was founded in 1883, and survived the first dozen years of its existence without a library. In 1895 the College of Physicians and Surgeons contributed $750 towards the purchase of books for the library. In 1898 an additional $530 was donated by the Winnipeg Medico-Chirurgical Society. The collection was enhanced when Dr. William Boyd (Boyd's Pathology) visited the New York Academy of Medicine and convinced the Head of the Academy to donate duplicate copies of books to the library. In 1965 the room was named in honour of Dr. Ross Mitchell.

The collection contains approximately 1,300 works that are universally acknowledged as among the great treasures of medical literature. Classics and other books that have made significant contributions to medical knowledge and are considered essential for the study of medical history have added to the collection. Some of these titles are second or later editions or facsimiles, or collections published, in most cases, for the Sydenham Society or the new Sydenham Society. The collected editions are valuable since they often contain the first translation in English of important foreign papers, or works found nowhere else in print.

The collection consists mainly of English-language materials, although Latin, French and German texts are included.

Also on display is a large collection of antique medical instruments once used by country doctors.

Accessing the Collection

Shelved alphabetically, the book collection is catalogued using National Library of Medicine medical subject headings. Holdings can be viewed in the Libraries online catalogue.


Access to the Ross Mitchell Rare Book Room is by special request.

Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

* Closed statutory holidays


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Neil John Maclean
Health Sciences Library
University of Manitoba
727 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, Canada
R3E 3P5

ph. 204-789-3342 
fax.  204-789-3922