Spotlight on: Medical History of British India

In this series, I’ll be highlighting a digital resource or collection of primary resource materials in the history of medicine. You can find a lengthy list of these at our history of medicine subject guide and feel free to share any resources you’ve found useful!

Medical History of British India is a fascinating digital collection from the National Library of Scotland. The materials digitized for this collection consist mostly of documents from the India Papers Collection. The India Papers Collection is made up of central British Imperial and British Indian government publications from the mid-19th century until the first decades of the 20th century. The Medical History of British India project has digitized and made available online the many volumes of reports relating to public health, disease, and medical research. It even includes 146 volumes (40,000 pages!) on veterinary medicine. The online collection is divided into 6 primary subject areas: disease, institutions, drugs, veterinary, mental health, and vaccination. You can browse by these sub-collections, or browse by other criteria such as form and genre (includes images, maps, and texts), place, subject, person and organization, and time period. All of the digitized volumes are also fully text searchable, a great research benefit. Another interesting feature is that you can download up to 30 images to create a custom PDF, which brings together only the pages you need.  The About the collection page gives a great introduction to all of the major subjects covered—click on the link to Institutions and you will get lots of good background information about the organization of medical research, hospitals, and healthcare services in British India.