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Galter Library Special Collections

Information on Galter Library's rare books, archives, and historical artifacts.


The primary mission of the archives is to preserve a curated collection of historical materials related to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and its antecedents; health science programs affiliated with Northwestern University that have since closed, most notably the Northwestern University Dental School; and the lives of its students, alumni/ae, faculty, and staff.

To that end the Special Collections Department identifies, collects, preserves, and makes available archival materials documenting these histories. This collection is housed at Galter Library to provide institutional materials and historical reference support primarily to Feinberg School of Medicine students, alumni/ae, faculty, and staff. Users from the general public are also welcome to conduct research in the collection.

Our finding aids are available in the Archives and Manuscript Collections search portal.

Institutional Archives

Feinberg School of Medicine

The collection details the history and culture of the medical school and its antecedents, the work and/or personal lives of students, alumni/ae, faculty, and staff, medical school buildings, and more. The collection is comprised of historical records, personal papers, correspondence, photographs, portraits, artwork, ephemera, memorabilia, publications, and more. Digital resources include:


Northwestern University

University Archives holds many resources useful to the history of the university and the medical school.


Northwestern University Woman's Medical School

Resources include school catalogs and very limited student records. Refer to the NUWMS GalterGuide and the In Pursuit of a Grand Cause exhibition GalterGuide for more information on the school.


School of Pharmacy of Northwestern University

Resources include student and faculty photographs and limited student records. Refer to this article for more information on the school.

Archival and Reference Collections

12th General Hospital Collection

This collection is comprised of the papers of Michael L. Mason, MD and James A. Conner, MD, who served as part of Northwestern University's 12th General Hospital Unit stationed in North Africa and Italy during World War II. The majority of the collection focuses on the recruitment, training, and daily activities of the physicians, nurses, and enlisted men who staffed the 12th General Hospital. The collection includes: correspondence, memos, protocols, reports, publications, meeting minutes and receipts of the Officer's Club, photographs, poetry, uniforms and insignia, and artifacts that provide insight into both the official duties of the medical personnel and some of their pursuits during their leisure time.

Selections of the collection have been digitized and are available here: 12th General Hospital Collection on Prism. The online exhibition is available here: Operation Saving Lives: Northwestern as the 12th General Hospital during WWII.

Northwestern University Archives also holds records of this unit. The finding aid is available here: United States Army Base Hospital Number 12 World War I and II Records, and the digitized collection is available here.


Other Collections

Personal collections – materials belonging to former deans, faculty, students, alumni/ae, and staff, including Nathan Smith Davis, Sr., G.V. Black, Irving S. Cutter, Archibald Church, and more.

Historical portrait collection – engravings, prints, slides, and facsimile images of figures prominent in the history of medicine.

Photographs, original art, and works on paper – caricatures, ephemera, artwork, prints, etc. on the history of medicine.

Reference - biography files on students, alumni/ae, and faculty, reference files on departments, affiliated institutions, and other organizations in the scope of the collection, and limited subject files.

Note: These collections are being currently processed. Please contact us for holdings and availability information.