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Rare Books in Science and Medicine

Highlighting rare science and medicine books at UBC. The History of Science and Medicine guide is also available.


The collection of rare books in medicine and science at UBC has evolved for over a century and continues to grow with purchases from the Molly Kidd-Timbers endowment and by donations of personal collections, such as the recent acquisition of Dr. McLean's dermatology collection.

The collection is housed in Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC).  The Reading Room has been temporarily relocated to Irving K. Barber Learning Centre room 142 due to upgrades. Information about how to access materials is at the RBSC home page.

For more information about the history of science and medicine in general, please see the guide below:

Finding items with the UBC Library Catalogue

Helpful tips for finding rare books in UBC Library Catalogue search results include:

  • filter the results by location (set to Rare Books and Special Collections)
  • sort results by Publication Date (oldest first).


Subject headings describe the main concepts contained in a book. This is different from a keyword search because subject headings are specially selected and applied by a librarian and reflect concepts, while keyword searches return simple word matches. Click on one of the links below to browse books that have been assigned to that subject heading.

Finding items by browsing selected book collections

William C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection 
Search UBC Library catalogue for "William C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection"

Gerald W. Korn Gyneocology and Obstetrics Collection

Search UBC Library catalogue for "Gerald W. Korn Gynecology and Obstetrics Collection"