W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library

Historic medical books are works of art as well as science.Location:
Plummer Building, 15th floor, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Available to:
Mayo Clinic employees; external researchers and scholars; visiting clinicians

9 am-1 pm Central Time, Monday-Friday; closed on holidays
Tours available by appointment only

Call 507-284-3676 or email lane.hilary@mayo.edu

This specialized library, within the Plummer Library, houses important collections in the history of medicine and allied sciences.  Several thousand volumes of rare medical classics (from 1479) and early journal literature (from 1665) comprise the core collection of primary literature on all aspects of medicine and allied fields.  Early medical imprints (pre-1875) and more recently published histories, biographies, facsimiles and other support material comprise the remainder of the collection.  Special strengths include anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, immunology, ophthalmology and neurology.

Non-book special collections include medical bookplates, Vanity Fair caricatures, Mayo Clinic related cartoons, medical philately and medical heraldry.  Exhibits using titles from the W. Bruce Fye History of Medicine Library collection are curated once a year. 

An approved request and scheduled appointment are required for researchers to use the collection. Staff services include research assistance, identification of historical works, reference verification and other literature research support.

Exhibit on DisplayDr. Henry Plummer is depicted in this bas relief on the exterior of the building that bears his name.

Treasures from the Browsing Collection of Henry S. Plummer, M.D. 

Dr. Henry S. Plummer, Mayo Clinic's own Renaissance man, believed physicians who had completed their medical training were in danger of thinking there was nothing in the world but medicine.  His dream was to establish a special collection of fine editions in art, literature, history, travel and philosophy for Mayo physicians to enjoy at their leisure.  The result was the "Browsing Collection," comprising 865 volumes, many purchased by Dr. Plummer or presented as gifts from his personal library.  

Exhibit curated by Hilary J. Lane, Instructor in History of Medicine

Viewing times:  Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.