We recently had the pleasure of digitizing over 300 pages of ‘amusing and instructive anecdotes about many of the outstanding items in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine by Dr. William Willoughby Francis (1878-1959), the first Osler Librarian who ran the library from its opening in 1929 until his death in 1959. This original typescript manuscript (with handwritten annotations) was transcribed from Dr. Francis’ recorded descriptions of choice items from the collection and provides a fascinating piece of library history. The full volume is available for download through our catalogue.
Dr. Francis undoubtedly knew the collection as well as Sir William Osler (1849-1919) himself, being the primary editor of the Bibliotheca Osleriana, the annotated catalogue of Osler’s collection of approximately 8,000 historical medical and scientific works which Sir William donated to McGill in 1919. Dr. Francis also grew up with the collection, for Osler was not only a close relative but a surrogate father to him. If you’d like to learn more about Dr. William Willoughby Francis 185 cm of textual records are held in the the Osler Library of the History of Medicine archives. You can consult the fond guide here http://osler.library.mcgill.ca/media/pdf/p155.pdf
View from the second floor of the Olser Library.