About this Collection

Sir William Osler (1849-1919) was a Canadian physician often called "the father of modern medicine" for the central role he played in revolutionizing medical education via the internship and residency system at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where medicine was taught "at the bedside." He was equally renowned as a superb diagnostician, a prolific author of medical and historical works (including his landmark textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine), an avid rare book collector, and an advocate for medical libraries.

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, is the primary repository for the William Osler Papers, which range from ca. 1800 to 1994. The collection contains photographs, personal and professional correspondence, case notes, and published articles. The Osler Library also holds the Harvey Cushing Fonds, consisting of material gathered by Cushing to prepare his 1925 biography of Osler, including transcripts of many Osler letters.

The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland is also a repository of Osler materials, contained in the William Osler Collection and in the collections of his Johns Hopkins colleagues such as Lewellys Barker and William Welch. The Osler Collection includes photographs, personal and professional correspondence, published articles, lectures, and research notes used for revisions of The Principles and Practice of Medicine.

As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has made available online, in collaboration with the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, a digitized selection of the William Osler Papers. This website provides access to the portions of the William Osler Papers that are now publicly available. Individuals interested in conducting research using the full collections of William Osler Papers should contact the Osler Library of the History of Medicine and the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives.

This Profile is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Osler's medical career and professional life. Narrative sections available from the navigation bar under "The Story" focus on Osler's life and major contributions to clinical medicine, medical education, and medical libraries.

Researchers can search the digitized items using the Search box or browse all Documents and Visuals in the collection by selecting "Collection Items" from the navigation bar.