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History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

Reference works - encyclopedias, bibliographies, historical dictionaries, atlases, handbooks, etc. - are often a good place to begin the research process.


Oxford Bibliographies - offers exclusive, authoritative research guides across a variety of subject areas. Combining the best features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, this cutting-edge resource directs researchers to the best available scholarship across a wide variety of subjects. eBook

Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450 - comprehensive and provides the historical, geographical and political context needed to understand world roles today; The entries are written by experts in the field and their bibliographies include the most well-known titles on the subject.  International contributors present a global perspective in a clear, focused manner. More than 400 A-Z articles in about 1,500 pages. Article-specific bibliographies suggest additional reading and further research. Topic-specific and general bibliographies point users to recent books and journal articles. eBook

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World - provides information about major world developments from 1750 to the present, with close attention to social, economic, cultural, and political topics. Contains articles on world events; countries; organizations; regions; ethnic groups; and themes such as social history, demography, family life, politics, economics, religion, thought, education, science and technology, and culture. containing over 2,000 A-Z entries, the Encyclopedia benefits from the vast outpouring of work on world history in the modern period and on related area-studies. Informative articles by an array of leading scholars offer an unprecedented breadth of information relating to the modern world. Each article includes an up-to-date bibliography to help interested readers take their research further. eBook

Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures approximately 1000 entries dealing in depth with the history of the scientific, technological and medical accomplishments of cultures outside of the United States and Europe. The entries consist of fully updated articles together with hundreds of entirely new topics. This unique reference work includes intercultural articles on broad topics such as mathematics and astronomy as well as thoughtful philosophical articles on concepts and ideas related to the study of non-Western Science, such as rationality, objectivity, and method. This amazing resource even contains entries on fascinating esoteric topics such as Native American mathematics, Polynesian navigation, and African Metallurgy. There are also biographical articles for those cultures where individual scientists are known to us, such as China and the Islamic world.  eBook

The British Empire: An Encyclopedia of the Crown's Holdings, 1493 through 1995 -  At its height, the British Empire encompassed three-quarters of the world. Hundreds of countries came under the domination of the British Empire at various stages in history. From Aden to Zululand, all the crown's holdings from the beginning of the meaningfulness of the word "holdings," around 1493, through 1995, are included. Each possession is an entry: the date it became a part of the British Empire; the date it gained its independence (when appropriate); a description of its geographic location, and its capital; a history of British rule of the colony is followed by a listing of the British administrators, such as residents, governors, commissioners and ministers. There are extensive see references; a thorough index to alternate geographical or political names completes the work. print

Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism - offers brief descriptive essays on a variety of topics--colonies, prominent individuals, legislation, treaties, conferences, wars, revolutions, and technologies. The individuals included have a historical significance that transcends their own countries. Essays on individual colonies usually end with the winning of independence or formal incorporation into the body politic of the mother country. References at the end of each entry provide sources of additional information for those interested in further research. Cross-references within the text help the reader to find related items. Of lesser value than other titles in this list but includes a descriptive entry and at least one additional bibliographic reference print


Encyclopedia of Africa (Oxford University Press, 2010) - edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the most up-to-date and thorough reference in world history, politics, and culture on this region of ever-growing importance. The articles cover prominent individuals, events, trends, places, political movements, art forms, business and trade, religions, ethnic groups, organizations, and countries throughout Africa. In-depth articles examine contemporary nations of sub-Saharan Africa, ethnic groups from various regions of Africa, and European colonial powers. eBook

Latin America

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary view of Latin American history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. Covers cultural issues and includes numerous biographical profiles of important figures in politics, letters and the arts. More than 5,700 entries have been reviewed for currency of content and bibliography. Newly commissioned master essays synthesize current knowledge on such major regional themes as Democracy in the Americas, Hemispheric Affairs, and the Hispanic Impact on the U.S. Includes full index and table of biographical subjects by profession. eBook

Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Latin American History - provides students and scholars with substantive, peer-reviewed, historiographically-informed and regularly-updated articles in all areas of Latin American history. Articles serve as a foundational source of information on a given topic as well as a jumping-off point for deeper research, and through continuous updating will remain reflective of emerging trends in scholarship.  eBook


Berkshire Encyclopedia of China: Modern and Historic Views...(2009) - provides insight into Chinese history and culture today in nearly a thousand articles that include everything from "Adoption" and "Banking" to "Wound Literature" and the "Zhou Dynasty." eBook


The Cambridge World History of Human Disease (1993) - traces the concept of disease throughout history and in each major world region. It offers the history and geography of each significant human disease--both historical and contemporary--from AIDS to yellow fever, and touches on the variety of approaches that different medical traditions have used to fight disease. Accessible to lay people and specialists alike. eBook

Medical Biography

Journal of Medical Biography (London: Royal Society of Medicine, 1993-2012) - focuses on the lives of people in or associated with medicine, those considered legendary as well as the less well known. The journal includes much original research about figures from history and their afflictions. Vol. 1, no. 1 (Feb. 1993)-1998 in print; 1999 to present in SAGE Complete A-Z List.

Martin, Edward A. A Biographical Encyclopedia of Medical Travel Authors (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010) - six volumes are made up of one-paragraph biographies of medical travel authors drawn from all peoples and regions of the world. The authors are included because they have published a book of travel or have left significant material of book potential. eBook

Subject headings

A keyword search ("Word(s)") in the Washington University Libraries' catalog is similar to a search in any Web-based search engine in that the words you enter could be anywhere in the Web page. For a Web page writ large, this means in the metadata or the text. For a catalog record, your keyword(s) could be in the title, subject, chapter titles, contents, summary, etc.). If you do not know the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) for the topic you are researching, then a keyword search is a good way to start. However, if you want to find EVERYTHING the library owns on a subject, you will want to discover the proper subject headings and peruse the available titles therein. When you see a title and say to yourself: "Hey, that sounds exactly like what I'm looking for!," click on that item record, then click on the LCSH (labelled as "Subject(s)")for all titles in the library under that subject heading.  

The following is a partial list of relevant subject headings:

[Disease name] -- Government policy -- [geographic region or nation-state]
[Disease name] -- [geographic region or nation-state] -- History
Diseases -- Causes and theories of causation -- History -- 1Xth century
Ethnic groups -- Diseases
Healing -- [geographic region] -- History -- 1Xth century
Health and race -- [geographic area] -- History
History of Medicine --[nation-state or geographical region] 
Indigenous women --Medical care --[nation-state or geographical region] --History
Maternal health services -- [nation-state or geographical region] -- History
Medical education --[nation-state or geographical region] –History–1Xth century
Medical geography -- History -- 1Xth century
Medicine -- [geographic region or nation-state] -- History -- 1Xth century
Medicine -- [colonial power] -- Colonies --- 1Xth century
Medicine -- Political aspects -- [geographic region or nation-state]
Medicine in literature -- [geographic region or nation-state] 
Medical policy -- [nation-state] -- History
Public Health -- [nation-state] -- History -- 1Xth century
Science -- [colonial power] -- Colonies --- 1Xth century
Science -- [nation-state or geographical region] – History
Traditional medicine -- [geographic region] -- History -- 1Xth century
Women -- Health and hygiene – [nation-state or geographical region] – History
Women's health services – [nation-state or geographical region] -- History
[name of people, e.g. “Bedouins”] --Health and hygiene
[name of people, e.g. “Indian”] physicians

Peer-Reviewed, Academic Journal Articles


Historical Abstracts (1955- )  contents include world history journals from 1450 to the present

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (1975-) describes journal articles, conference proceedings, books, book reviews, and dissertations in the history of science, technology, and medicine and allied historical fields


JSTOR - multidisciplinary, a lot of full text articles, but subject headings are too broad
Google Scholar - articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web. While Google Scholar itself is free on the web, many of the citations it references are not. Accessing Google Scholar via the proxied link will enable you to get full text for all articles for which to WashU community has access  
Primo - is the Washington University Libraries' new search tool. It provides one-stop access to the Libraries’ collections by searching across hundreds of catalogs, indexes, and databases. Primo is a great place to begin your research because it searches multiple library resources through one interface.

History of Medicine journals

Medicine -- History -- Periodicals

Primary Source Databases

WU Libraries has access to a wide variety of primary source databases. The following may prove useful to you:

Historical Periodicals

Caribbean Newspapers 1718-1876 the largest online collection of 18th- and 19th-century newspapers published in this region—will provide a comprehensive primary resource for studying the development of Western society and international relations within this important group of islands. This unique resource will prove essential for researching colonial history, the Atlantic slave trade, international commerce, New World slavery and U.S. relations with the region as far back as the early 18th century.

Latin American Newspapers (1822-1922) over 80 fully searchable newspapers published in the 19th and 20th centuries from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers - predominantly in Arabic, but also includes key titles in English and French. The collection comprises mostly out-of-copyright, orphaned content.

Liberation (Johannesburg, 1953-1959) - a magazine of quality, focusing on issues of concern to Blacks and non-establishment Whites in South Africa. It was subtitled " a journal of democratic discussion", and was aimed at the intellectual elite. 

United States 

Nineteenth Century U. S. Newspapers (1800 - 1900) digital facsimile images of both full pages and clipped articles for hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers. For each issue, the newspaper is captured from cover-to-cover, providing access to every article, advertisement and illustration.

Gale NewsVault the definitive cross-searching experience for exploring Gale's range of historical newspaper collections. Users can simultaneously search or browse across newspaper archives from the 17th to 19th centuries

Early American Imprints, Series I: (1639-1800) the definitive resource for researching 17th- and 18th-century America. The digital collection contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America over a 160-year period

Early American Imprints, Series II: (1801-1819) a comprehensive set of American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the early part of the 19th century

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection the AAS Historical Periodicals Collection contains more than 6,500 historical periodical titles. The collection represents over two centuries of print culture, ranging from early works imported by the colonists to later titles published on American soil on the eve of the Revolution and during the early republic. Subjects covered in the collection reach into every facet of American life, including science, literature, medicine, agriculture, women's fashion, family life, and religion. The five series can be searched simultaneously or individually. Series 1 covers 1691 through 1820.

American Periodicals (1740 - 1940) full-text periodicals published between 1740 and 1940, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically-significant periodicals

American Denominational Newspapers historical newspapers covering religious news, and the role religion played in American life and society. Supports research of early American history, religious history, ethnic studies, abolitionism, Civil War, and gender studies. Contains more than 320 rare newspapers from over 30 states published between 1799 and 1900.


Mercure de France, 1672-1810 published from 1672, this influential periodical promised in its first issue to chronicle the activities of luminaries in metropolitan Paris, in the French provinces, and abroad, and to offer good literature to lovers of novels and stories. After 1724, the periodical was split into a literary and a political section.

L'Esprit (11/01/1940 through 2016) - is a French literary magazine that also deals with current events

L'Europe (1923-2000) was a French literary magazine 

Le Monde Illustré (1857 to 1940) - a leading illustrated news magazine in France was in many ways similar to its contemporary English-language newsmagazine The Illustrated London News and should not be confused with the French newspaper Le Monde.


International Women's Periodicals, 1786-1933 historical women’s periodicals provide an important resource to scholars interested in the lives of women, the role of women in society and, in particular, the development of the public lives of women as the push for women’s rights—woman suffrage, fair pay, better working conditions, for example—grew in the United States and England. Some of the titles in this collection were conceived and published by men, for women; others, conceived and published by male editors with strong input from female assistant editors or managers; others were conceived and published by women, for women. The strongest suffrage and anti-suffrage writing was done by women for women’s periodicals. Thus a variety of viewpoints are here presented for study.

United Kingdom

The Times Digital Archive (1785-1985) The Times of London.

Sunday Times Digital Archive (1822-2006)

Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive (1902 - 2007)

Economist Historical Archive, 1842-2012

Illustrated London News, 1842-2003

Guardian (1821-2003) and the Observer (1791-2003)

Irish Times (1859-2011) and the Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958)

Punch Historical Archive (1841-1992) a British illustrated weekly comic periodical known for its satire

Eighteenth Century Journals II rare British newspapers and periodicals from 1699-1812

Medieval and Early Modern Sources Online (MEMSO) a resource for the study of Britain and its place in the world during the medieval and early modern period (c. 1100-1800). Combines the key printed sources for English, Irish, Scottish and Colonial history with original manuscripts and the latest web technologies.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) (1475-1700) contains over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640), Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700), and the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661).

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) books and other materials published between 1701 and 1800 in the United Kingdom and the Americas.


Trade & Economic Development
Indian Trade in the Southeastern Spanish Borderlands comprising the papers of the Panton, Leslie & Co., a trading firm, established in British East Florida during the American Revolution. When Spain won title to both East and West Florida in 1783, the company was granted a virtual monopoly. For many years Panton, Leslie & Company dominated trade with the Creeks and Seminoles. They eventually captured much of the trade with the Choctaws and Chickasaws, and were important in the trade with the Cherokees.

Virginia Company Archives documents the founding and economic development of Virginia as seen through the papers of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624.

The Making of the Modern World Presents more than 61,000 books from the period 1460-1850, and 466 pre-1906 serials.

Law & Governance
Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative and International Law, 1600-1926 the Making of Modern Law provides historical resources previously found in repositories. It gives libraries online access to foreign and international legal literature. FCIL includes pre-1926 treatises and similar monographs, sourced from the collections of the Yale, George Washington University, and Columbia law libraries, in the following areas: International Law; Comparative Law; Foreign Law and others.

Making of Modern Law: Trials, 1600-1926 based on holdings of the law libraries of Harvard and Yale, and the Library of the Bar of the City of New York, the product offers online access to these important collections.

U. K. Parliamentary Papers includes Bills and Acts, Command Papers, Commons and Lords Papers, Journals, and Debates from the 18th century through 2005.

Actes Royaux Francais, 1256 – 1794 approximately 16,000 pamphlets covering this important period in French history are available in this collection. One of the largest collections of its kind, it offers a wealth of information on the legislative history and governance of France, as well as other aspects of French life.

Empire Online digital collection of manuscripts and printed material, 1492-1962. The main document types in the resource are: exploration journals and logs; letter books and correspondence; periodicals; official government papers; missionary papers; travel writing; slave papers; memoirs; fiction; children’s adventure stories; traditional folk tales; exhibition catalogues and guides; maps, and marketing posters.

India, Raj and Empire sourced from the Manuscript Collections of the National Library of Scotland, and documenting the history of South Asia from the foundation of the East India Company in 1615 to the granting of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947.

Sabin Americana works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more. Over 6 million pages from 29,000 works.
Governing Africa this electronic archive includes 13 collections, 131 volumes, 2,680 documents and 1,105,477 pages in the form of reports to the British government by their governors in the African colonies. The statistical reports cover 13 colonies, with some data that pre-dates the abolition of the slave trade. These reports reveal how colonial laws were used to control citizens during wars, uprisings, and everyday life, and notices of land sales reveal how land changed hands between 1808 and 1966. The colonial reports for each colony explain how the statistics in the Blue Books were intended to be interpreted by colonial readers.

South Asia Open Archives includes more than 350,000 pages of content, and will continue to grow. It includes important Colonial-era administrative and trade reports and newspapers dealing with themes of caste and social structure, social and economic history, women and gender, and more. 

Medical Journals and publications

The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries, promotes free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine. 

The State Medical Journals Collection encompasses nearly 50 U.S. state medical journals collectively held and digitized by the following members of the Medical Heritage Library

Et cetera

European Views of the Americas, 1493-1750 an authoritative bibliography to over 32,000 entries on printed works about the Americas.

Electronic Enlightenment the most wide-ranging online collection of edited correspondence of the early modern period, linking people across Europe, the Americas and Asia from the early 17th to the mid-19th century — reconstructing one of the world's great historical "conversations."

Brazilian and Portuguese History and Culture: The Oliveira Lima Library contains the rare and unique pamphlets from the personal library of the Brazilian diplomat, historian, and journalist Manoel de Oliveira Lima. Database allows users to visualize results and term frequencies over time and to limit their search by dates, illustration types, and languages.

Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture (1790-1920) contains over 2 million pages from manuscripts, books, broadsheets, and periodicals, reflecting the widespread impact of the changes in crime and its policing during the long nineteenth century. The archive unites a number of geographic areas and disciplines, from law, criminology, and history to studies of popular culture and fiction.

International Historical Statistics - a collection of statistical data from around the world, collected between 1750-2010 and covering a wide range of socio-economic topics. The collection includes data on the Americas and Europe, but also hard-to-find data on Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive scholarly study and understanding of slavery from a multinational perspective.

Biodiversity Heritage Library - A consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 - 79 document projects with more than 2,400 documents, 32,000 pages of additional full-text documents, and 1,700 primary authors. It includes as well book, film and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools.

Witchcraft in Europe and America - the earliest texts in this comprehensive collection on witchcraft date from the 15th century and the latest are from the early 20th century. The majority of the material concerns the 16th to 18th centuries, the so-called "classic period." In addition to these classic texts, the collection includes anti-persecution writings, works by penologists, legal and church documents, exposés of persecutions, and philosophical writings and transcripts of trials and exorcisms.

Latin American Travelogues The goal of this project is to create a digital collection of Latin American travel accounts written in the 16th-19th centuries at Brown University. Digitized books are linked to essays written by undergraduate students. Select a book chapter of interest as a primary source.

Hathi Trust -  is a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries including content digitized via Google Books and the Internet Archive digitization initiatives, as well as content digitized locally by libraries. Most books published by US publishers before 1923 are copyright protected, so their full contents can be accessed if they have been digitized and are hosted here.

Open Access Online Archives