Osler Library of the History of Medicine – Montreal, Québec - Atlas Obscura

Osler Library of the History of Medicine

McGill University

One of the world's largest collections of rare medical texts and ephemera. 


This library began as the personal collection of one of McGill University’s most famous graduates: Sir William Osler. After his death in 1919, it was bequeathed to McGill. The library and its fittings were disassembled in Oxford, England and shipped to Montreal. After moving several times over the years, it was reconstructed within the modern biomedical library.

Now one of the largest and most valuable collections of rare medical books and ephemera in the world, to step into the Osler Library is to enter the study of a late-Victorian gentleman scholar. Osler’s desk, bookcases, reading tables and other furnishings are all around you. It is a startling contrast to the modern biomedical library around it, rather like stepping into a literary Tardis.

If you visit say hello to Sir William, his ashes are held in his library!

Know Before You Go

After a fire in 2018 parts of the library have been temporarily dispersed pending remediation (the books are fine)

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May 26, 2020

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