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History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

Reference Works for Background Reading

Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology - "The entries in this encyclopedia explore the changing character of science, medicine, and technology in the United States; the key individuals, institutions, and organizations responsible for major developments; and the concepts, practices, and processes underlying these changes...The encyclopedia situates specific events, theories, practices, and institutions in their proper historical context and explores their impact on American society and culture. Entries are written by experts in the field." - publisher's website

Oxford Research Encyclopedias - new comprehensive collections of in-depth, peer-reviewed summaries on an ever-growing range of topics (African History, Economics and Finance, Literature, American History, Education, Natural Hazard Science, Asian History, Social Work, Neuroscience, Business and Management, Environmental Science, Oxford Classical Dictionary, Climate Science, International Studies, Politics, Communication, Latin American History, Psychology, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Linguistics, and Religion).

The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine Fifth ed. (2015) - comprehensive resource for consumers interested in health information. It provides health and medical information on approximately 2,000 topics, including health issues of global importance. Entries do not use technical jargon, making them easier to understand. The encyclopedia is extremely thorough, well organized, and enhanced with color photos and illustrations. Related entries and resource lists give readers suggestions for further research, and organizations listed can provide additional assistance.

Magill's Medical Guide 7th ed. (2014) – provid[es] general readers with the most authoritative yet accessible reference source that helps bridge the gap between medical encyclopedias and dictionaries for professionals and popular self-help guides. A perfect mix of accessibility and depth…” – from the publisher’s website

Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures - as the title suggests, this encyclopedia is inclusive of scientific, technological and medical accomplishments of cultures outside of the United States and Europe. Each entry includes bibliographic reference to assist in further reading and sourcing.

Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Health and Illness in the World's Cultures (2004) - the first reference work to describe the cultural practices relevant to health in the world's cultures and to provide an overview of important topics in medical anthropology. More than 100 experts - anthropologists and other social scientists - have contributed their firsthand experience of medical cultures from around the world. - from the publisher's website

Health and Medicine through History: From Ancient Practices to 21st-Century Innovations (2019) - a comprehensive (1,127 pages) yet concise global exploration of health and medicine from ancient times to the present day, helping readers to trace the development of concepts and practices around the world (eBook)

Oxford Bibliographies - these authoritative research guides combine the best features of an annotated bibliography with a high-level encyclopedia across a variety of subject areas. Subject areas include: African American Studies, American Literature, Anthropology, Art History, Atlantic History, Biblical Studies, British and Irish Literature, Cinema and Media Studies, Classics, Evolutionary Biology, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies, Linguistics, Literary and Critical Theory, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Renaissance and Reformation, Social Work, Sociology, and Victorian Literature.

The Cambridge World History of Human Disease (1993) - title link is of for the eBook; also in print) - 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

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

Books for the Medical Humanities

Brian Dolan, Humanitas: Readings in the Development of the Medical Humanities (2015) - This reader reprints critical essays published over the course of a 100-year history that grapple with the challenges of defining and justifying the presence of humanities instruction in medical education...with a comprehensive historiographical introduction." - - publisher's website 

Thomas R. Cole et al, Medical Humanities: An Introduction (2015) - "Using concepts and methods of the humanities, the book addresses undergraduate and premed students, medical students, and students in other health professions, as well as physicians and other healthcare practitioners. It encourages them to consider the ethical and existential issues related to the experience of disease, care of the dying, health policy, religion and health, and medical technology." - publisher's website

Paul Crawford et al, Health Humanities (2015) - "This is the first manifesto for health humanities worldwide. It sets out the context for this emergent and innovative field which extends beyond medical humanities to advance the inclusion and impact of the arts and humanities in healthcare, health and well-being." - Google Books summary

Sander Gilman, Illness and Image: Case Studies in the Medical Humanities (2015) - case studies include: circumcision, face transplants, posture, obesity, pain, madness, self-harm, race, and death 

Therese Jones et al, Health Humanities Reader (2014) - "consists of nearly 50 chapters, some of which deal with classic medical humanities topics, such as the notions of health and disease and the theory of the body.  The majority of the book centers on more contemporary issues, such as gender and sexuality, disability, and aging.  The depth and rigor of the collection are equally varied as the style and genre of writing (academic essays to short plays, poems, and comics.)  Novices or students may prefer to first develop a solid body of knowledge of the medical humanities to fully appreciate the richness of this collection..." review by P. Rodriguez del Pozo, MD, JD, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College (Qatar), for Choice


Journals for the Medical Humanities

Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1939-present) - As the official publication of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) and the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine, the Bulletin is a leading journal in its field spanning the social, cultural, and scientific aspects of the history of medicine worldwide. WUSTL Libraries owns the full run but it is split between JSTOR and Project MUSE

Journal of Medical Humanities (1979-present) - publishes original interdisciplinary studies on the history, philosophy, and bioethics in the medical and behavioral sciences as well as pedagogical perspectives explaining what and how knowledge is made and valued in medicine, how that knowledge is expressed and transmitted, and the ideological basis of medical education. WashU Libraries' access is spread across Academic Search Complete, Springerlink Contemporary, as well as print editions for years prior to 1997 (starting with v.10 in 1989).

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (1976-) - Published by Oxford University Press, J. Med. Philos. is a flagship, international scholarly journal in bioethics and the philosophy of medicine. WashU Libraries has print editions from v.7-33 (1982-2008) and electronic versions from the first issue through 1995 in Oxford Journals 2018 Humanities Archive and from 1996 to present in Oxford Journals A-Z Collection. If you search Academic Search Complete, you will only find articles from 1997 to one year ago. 

Medical History (1957-present) - is an international journal for the history of medicine and related sciences published by Cambridge University Press. All issues can be found through PubMed Central.

Medical Humanities (2000-present) - Published on behalf of the Institute of Medical Ethics and the British Medical Association. All issues can be found through BMJ Journals and should not be confused with 

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (1957-present) - is an interdisciplinary journal from the Johns Hopkins University Press which publishes essays that place biological and medical topics within broad scientific, social, or humanistic contexts for scientists, physicians, students, and scholars. All issues are available through Project MUSE.

Social History of Medicine (1988- ) - is the journal for the Society for the Social History of Medicine and is published by Oxford University Press. It began publication in 1970 as the Bulletin for the Social History of Medicine and publishes cutting-edge research on the history of all aspects of health, illness and medical treatment in the past, from antiquity to the present. WashU Libraries only has access to issues from 1988 to present. 

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. Part C, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences - (1998-present) is published by Elsevier and is devoted to historical, sociological, philosophical and ethical aspects of the life and environmental sciences, of the sciences of mind and behavior, and of the medical and biomedical sciences and technologies.WashU Libraries has access to all issues through Science Direct Journals

Additional Journal Databases

History of Science, Medicine, and Technology integrates four bibliographies: the Isis Current Bibliography of the History of Science, the Current Bibliography in the History of Technology, the Bibliografia Italiana di Storia della Scienza, and the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. It is updated on a monthly basis and includes bibliographic records for records of journal articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, serials, maps, and other related materials.

History databases
America: History & Life (1964-) contains only journals related history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.

Historical Abstracts (1955- ) covers world history from 1450 to the present

Philosophy databases

PhilPapers is a comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy maintained by the community of philosophers. We monitor all sources of research content in philosophy, including journals, books, open access archives, and personal pages maintained by academics. We also host the largest open access archive in philosophy.

Medical databases

PubMed (1946 - ) - includes over 3,500 journals published internationally, covering all areas of medicine. Includes the entire Medline database (1966+) PLUS PreMedline (recent articles that are not yet fully indexed for Medline) and links to publisher full-text web sites and other databases.


Hein Online - more than 900 searchable full-text law journals and many legal resources, including the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, and U.S. Statutes at Large. Campus-wide access is due to subscription by the WU Law Library.

Classics Resources

Classics Librarian Christie Peters Research Guide to Classics


Multidisciplinary databases

JSTOR - multidisciplinary, a lot of full text articles, but subject headings are too broad

Academic Search Complete (1975-present) - multidisciplinary; subject headings may or may not be LCSH; also made by EBSCO, so overlaps with America: History & Life

JSTOR v. Academic Search Complete


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.

Primo - is a "discovery tool" that searches WUSTL's library catalog as well as a number of newspaper and journal databases at one time, but it doesn't retrieve all of their content nor does it search all databases

Google Scholar v. Primo


Project MUSE - a comprehensive collection of peer reviewed, interdisciplinary journals from leading university presses, not-for-profit publishers and prestigious scholarly societies.

Scopus - The world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Contains over 46 million records, 70% with abstracts, and also includes over 4.6 million conference papers.

Primary Sources

State Medical Society Journals - this collection encompasses nearly 50 state medical journals published between and 1844 annd 2017 and is hosted by the Internet Archive. The older editions could be considered primary sources, as they reflect the historical perspective of the medical profession in their time. 

Making of Modern Law collections include: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926; Trials, 1600-1926; Foreign, Comparative and International Law, 1600-1926; Foreign Primary Sources, 1600-1970; Primary Sources, 1620-1926, and U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978.

Medical Heritage Library is a collection of digitized medical rare books, pamphlets, journals, and films number in the tens of thousands, with representative works from each of the past six centuries, collaboratively curated from among some of the world’s leading medical libraries and made available through the Internet Archive.

Early American Medical Imprints; A guide to works printed in the United States, 1668-1820 - published in 1961 and compiled by the thirty-five year cataloguer at the National Library of Medicine, it contains every medical work, even some material pertaining to veterinary medicine, vital statistics and medical legislation, published in the U.S. for the period described in the title. 

Hathi Trust - a large-scale collaborative repository of digital content from research libraries including content digitized via the Google Books project and Internet Archive digitization initiatives as well as content digitized locally by libraries.