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History of Science and Medicine

The Charles Woodward Memorial Room at Woodward Library

 The Charles Woodward Memorial Room in the Woodward Library is open for silent study.

The Memorial Room, dedicated to the pioneer physicians of British Columbia, was the gift of Mr. P. A. Woodward in honour of his father Charles Woodward, founder of the former department store which bore his name.  The W.C.Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection was housed here until 2014 when it was moved to Rare Books and Special Collections.  More information about the rare book collections in science and medicine is available at Rare Books in Science and Medicine guide. 

Items of interest in the Memorial Room include:

  • Tapestries depicting the Masters of Spirit (on display) and Masters of Science
  • Plaques listing pioneer physicians of British Columbia
  • Display cases - Provided by a grant from the Mr and Mrs P.A. Woodward's Foundation. These cases currently display surgical instruments and medical artifacts and bring the history of science and medicine to the present.

W.C. Gibson History of Science and Medicine Collection

The W. C. Gibson History of Science & Medicine Collection is named for Dr. William C.Gibson (1913-2009) in recognition of his efforts in creating the historical book collection.  Dr. Gibson joined the Faculty of Medicine at UBC in 1950 as a clinical researcher and associate professor. He was instrumental in the opening of the medical school after which he became Director of the Kinsman Laboratory for Neurological Research. From 1960 to 1978 he served as Professor and Head of the History of Medicine and Science Department. During that time he spearheaded the building of the Woodward Biomedical Library and was particularly involved in the purchases of antiquarian books for the Charles Woodward Memorial Room. The motivation behind creating this collection was to show students "the milestones of science - the first time any new discovery was published". The personal collections of Chauncey Leake, a US pharmacologist and Medical historian, Hugh M. Sinclair, an Oxford lecturer and researcher, and Sir Robert MacIntosh, an Oxford professor of anaesthesiology, were among the purchases that comprise the core of the collection. Additional special collections have since been acquired, in obstetics and gynaecology from Dr, Gerald Korn, and in dermatology from Dr. McLean, and from Claude Dolman and the Vancouver Medical Association.

Dr. Gibson was a student of Sir Charles Sherrington and through this connection UBC Library acquired his fonds. Other archival material in the collection include the Darwin and the Florence Nightingale letters as well as early medical British Columbia history documents. 

Rare books and manuscripts from this collection are housed in UBC Rare Books and Special Collections. For more information about the W.C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection, see the Rare Books in Science and Medicine Guide