University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Department of History is the home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate Program in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology (HSMT), one of the oldest such programs in the country. Fourteen faculty, associates, and affiliates are formally affiliated with the program. The HSMT Graduate Program is just one node in a wider campus network: partners in the UW-Madison membership in the Consortium also include the Department of Medical History and Bioethics in the School of Medicine and Public Health, the Historical Collections of Ebling Health Sciences Library, the Department of Special Collections in Memorial Library, and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (through the School of Pharmacy).


Research university; rare books and special collections including primary and secondary resources in history of science, medicine, technology, and pharmacy, with strengths in physical and life sciences, illustrated natural history, alchemy and chemistry, science and religion, optics and ophthalmology, health sciences, herbal therapeutics, illustrated anatomy, pharmacy, and technology, including archival collections and collections of printed ephemera.


Special library collections relevant to historical study of physical and life sciences, health sciences and medicine, technology, and pharmacy exist in multiple units across the libraries of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • The Department of Special Collections in Memorial Library began with the Thordarson Collection of rare science and illustrated natural history books, and these areas remain a signal strength of the Department. Other history of science highlights in Special Collections include the Duveen and Cole collections of alchemy and chemistry, Schadewald Collection on Pseudo-Science, Science and Religion Collection, Albert Collection on optics and ophthalmology, rare works transferred to Special Collections from other campus science libraries, along with works at the intersection of science and print culture.
  • Within the School of Medicine and Public Health, Ebling Library maintains one of the preeminent collections of rare and older health sciences books in the country in its Historical Collections. Ranging in date from the late 15th century to the early 20th century, the collections encompass the development of western medicine and related disciplines as recorded in books, journals, and pamphlets.
  • The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) was founded in 1941 at the University of Wisconsin to preserve and disseminate the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals to its members and the public, and is supported by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy through its named chair in History of Pharmacy. The Institute has its own collections, archives, and staff.  The historical collections managed and maintained by AIHP and the UWSoP--chiefly housed in the Kremers Reference Files (KRF)--contain a wide range of important primary sources, including correspondence, photographs, pictures, corporate records, organizational records, educational records, periodicals, artifacts, and ephemera.

Please note that the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives are not institutional members of the Consortium.

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Holding Highlights

Information for Researchers

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