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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.


People have been taking care of one another's health and well-being in myriad ways since prehistory.  Spiritual, religious, and magical practices, as well as applying herbal medicines were all common methods of healing and lead to important modern day medical and scientific discoveries. These aspects of medicine are still prevalent in many cultures and contexts today. This timeline is meant to highlight periods in the history of medicine and science corresponding with items housed at the Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) Library. It is not a comprehensive history, and is primarily Euro-centrist, reflecting the dominant collections at RBSC, though, where possible, we have included materials from other cultures and geographic locations.