Search our collection of 73,000 print materials from 1430 to 1945, with strengths in anatomy, women’s health, surgery, natural history, and pharmacy.
Wangensteen Historical Library
The Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine collections contain materials and objects that broadly represent health, medicine, and biological sciences from 1430 to 1945.
The digitized collections of the Wangensteen Historical Library are freely available online. They cover a broad range of topics from East Asian History to Clara Barton’s diaries.
Our artifact collection contains 8,000 objects, including pharmaceutical, medical and surgical equipment, instruments, and products.
From our growing collection of books on East Asian health care, Kongaku Ketsuhō (Bunjō Ishizuka, 1835) discusses acupuncture points and therapy. It is printed in an unusual format, as a narrow oblong octavo — shuchin bon — a book small enough to carry in a kimono sleeve.
This handwritten pharmacopeia (1807-1850) is made up of 135 recipes for making various drugs, medicines and domestic remedies, and includes a dosage list.
Reputed to be a witch’s potion in the Middle ages, monkshood or wolfsbane (Acontium Napellus) was sometimes used for sedation, as detailed in Flora Medica (1829). In J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter fictional series, it aids Remus Lupin’s transformation into a werewolf.
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Today’s UCard hours: Closed
- [email protected] (1-2 business days)
Phillips-Wangensteen Building, East Bank
516 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
- All University libraries
Materials from the Wangensteen Historical Library are available by appointment. Initial consultations will be held remotely by phone or online during the phased reopening of the Libraries due to COVID-19.
Meet with curators to locate materials for your research topic.
Collaborate with curators to support student learning and student interactions with texts, historical images, manuscripts, and objects.
Partner with the library to create or enhance conversations about the history of health, medicine, and biological sciences through exhibits, lectures, and material loans.
Learn more about travel grants that support in-depth research drawing on the library’s holdings and staff expertise.
In the 1960s, Dr. Owen H. Wangensteen, distinguished surgeon, became the force behind the creation of the library that bears his name.
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Exhibits & events
This exhibit features works by Geoffroy Tory and Hans Holbein, 16th century artists specializing in typography and the creation of ornate initial capitals showcasing narrative or decorative scenes. Held in conjunction with the UMN Goldstein Gallery exhibit of the same name.
James Ford Bell Lecture
October 29, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This exhibit celebrates the stories of our books — from the stories woven in their bindings to the comments written on their pages by readers.
Our library holdings come together to illuminate the medical themes threaded throughout Masterpiece Theater’s wildly popular Downton Abbey.
This exhibit is centered on a 17th-century apothecary manuscript from Toulouse, France, and a student’s research project involving translating the manuscript and mapping where in the world the ingredients may have been sourced.
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