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Official Papers for the History of Medicine: Home

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students/researchers studying the history of medicine at the University of Oxford, although students/researchers from any field may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out about parliamentary and government papers from the UK and Ireland relevant to the history of medicine in print and digital format. 

Official Papers guides


 Oxford's collection of official papers material is outstanding. The Bodleian Library as a legal deposit library receives one copy of every item published in the UK. This guide aims to give an overview of the various collections within the Official Papers section and the finding aids relevant to the study of the history of medicine. The Official Papers section is situated in the Bodleian Law Library on the ground floor. All material is on open shelf and accessible to readers. Staff are happy to help.

For all enquiries:

For more general information please see the Oxford Libguide : History of Science, Medicine & Technology - overview

Principal collections

Search SOLO to find useful books, journals and databases for History of Science, Technology and Medicine. Material that is off-site can be requested by using the Hold option in SOLO.

History of Science, Technology and Medicine - overview

The Upper Reading Room, (Old Bodleian Library) houses a significant open shelf collection for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, covering some ancient history, but otherwise medieval to modern periods. It includes both legal deposit as well as purchased materials in English and European languages. Books in this collection cannot be borrowed.

The History of Medicine Library (formerly Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine Library primarily supports the needs of the University's postgraduate students and researchers in the history of medicine. Its holdings comprise around 7,000 monographs, serials and theses on diverse topics, including UK public health administration, hospitals and hospital movements, and tropical medicine.

The History Faculty Library supports teaching and learning in the History of Science. The Library primarily supports undergraduate courses, but some research material can also be found here. Books in this collection can be borrowed by current staff and students of Oxford University.

The Radcliffe Science Library has particular strengths in 19th century holdings, as it focused exclusively on science and medicine from 1810. Since 1883 the RSL has received, via legal deposit, a copy of all British scientific publications. Older and less-used material is kept in remote store (listed as "Offsite"), including scientific doctoral theses submitted for degrees at Oxford University. 

The Department of Special Collections in the Bodleian Library has acquired through purchase and donation scientific books and manuscripts from the medieval period to the present day. For the early modern period the Library holds papers of many individuals of note in science and medicine. Modern collections include papers of contemporary scientists, archives of scientific organisations, and the Marconi archives. See also the Guide to Scientific Papers in the Bodleian Library.

The archives and collections of the Museum of the History of Science Library has strong modern and antiquarian holdings in those sciences most involved with instrumentation, particularly astronomy, geometry, optics, chemistry, and physics.


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Hannah Chandler
Official Papers Section
Bodleian Law Library
Manor Road
01865 (2)71472