May 24, 2022

Medical History: NLM Attains Millionth Page Milestone for the Medical Heritage Library

From the National Library of Medicine:

The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, reached a benchmark at the conclusion of NLM’s 175th anniversary year, 2011, when it scanned its one millionth page for the Medical Heritage Library Project.

NLM is contributing Medicine in the Americas, to the Medical Heritage Library Project, a cooperative venture to digitize historical materials from the collections of the National Library of Medicine, the Countway Library at Harvard, the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Library at Yale, the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University, and the New York Public Library.

The goal of the project, launched in January of 2010, is to digitize books and journals that document the evolution of American medicine from 17th century colonial medicine to 20th century research hospitals.  The whole of NLM’s contribution of over 6,000 books will be available through NLM’s Digital Collections repository, and the entire content of the Medical Heritage Library will be available through the Internet Archive.

Medicine in the Americas titles are selected from the NLM’s History of Medicine Division (HMD), including books and pamphlets from the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. The collection currently features items from 1610 to 1865. Topics covered include anatomy, military medicine, medical education, medical jurisprudence, public health, psychiatry, and nursing among many others of interest to scholars and popular audiences alike.  Future work will encompass titles published through 1920.

[The one millionth scanned page] features the valedictory address delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., to medical graduates at Harvard University’s annual commencement on Wednesday March 10, 1858.

The Medical Heritage Library, a digital curation collaborative is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and administered by the Open Knowledge Commons. The Medicine in the Americas files will reside in NLM’s Digital Collections repository.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.