College of Physicians & Surgeons Library Heritage Collection – Clare Harrison

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The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow was founded in 1599, and remains the only medical college in the UK for both physicians and surgeons, as well as having faculties for dentistry, travel medicine and podiatric medicine. The College library was established around 1698, and currently holds about 30,000 volumes, mostly of medical and surgical works from the 16th to the 21st centuries.

In addition to our medical works, we hold many items you wouldn’t normally expect to find in a medical library, including an original 1616 copy of the collected works of King James VI and I, who granted the College its founding charter in 1599. Also of particular note is the Glasgow Collection, comprising of books about Glasgow and the West of Scotland. We receive support from the Baillie’s Institution to manage this collection, and to keep books about Glasgow available in the local area. The collection includes materials on life in Glasgow and the history of the city, with the oldest book dating back to 1736. The College holds two of the six copies of John McUre’s “View of the City of Glasgow” remaining in the UK, and these volumes provide some excellent contemporary descriptions and illustrations of Glasgow in the early 18th century. The collection also includes two photograph albums by Thomas Annan, one depicting the slums of Glasgow shortly before the 19th century clearances, and another showcasing the country homes and mansion houses of families associated with the old Glasgow establishment.

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