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Library Begins Bicentennial Celebrations

15 May 2013 No Comment
School of Medicine library, Davidge Hall, circa 1930s (Courtesy of HS/HSL Archives)

School of Medicine library, Davidge Hall, circa 1930s (Courtesy of HS/HSL Archives)


This month marks the 200th anniversary of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL). 

Though the HS/HSL traces its founding to 1813, it wasn’t until 1815 that the collection first became available for use by students. For this reason, the celebration begins in May 2013 and continues through spring 2015.

Festivities kicked off on May 1 with a light lunch and historical talk by Philip

The interior of the School of Medicine library (Courtesy of HS/HSL Archives)

The interior of the School of Medicine library (Courtesy of HS/HSL Archives)

Mackowiak, MD, MBA, professor and vice chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine. Called “Dr. John Crawford, His Life, His Books, and Our Library,” the talk was followed by a procession to Westminster Hall to lay flowers on Crawford’s grave.  

In its earliest years the School of Medicine had no library for students. Crawford, a distinguished member of the School’s faculty, was the owner of an impressive private collection of books. 

Born in Ireland, Crawford completed his medical education at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. His career path led him to several positions in the Caribbean and South America and his collection greatly reflects his interest in and experience with tropical medicine. 

After his death in 1813, his faculty colleagues purchased his private library. As the founding collection for the entire University
of Maryland Library System, Crawford’s books still remain intact as the centerpiece of the HS/HSL’s historical collections. 

Crawford was the first to practice vaccination in Baltimore and held forward-thinking theories about the cause of disease. As an innovator, he laid the groundwork for the dynamic library that evolved from his founding.

During the HS/HSL’s two-year celebration, the library will host special events for faculty, students, and the community, including an exhibit showing the evolution of library information technology through the decades and the library’s role in mobile health care. 

The HS/HSL also will publish an e-book of its history. The celebration will conclude in spring 2015 with a national symposium on the future of health information and access coupled with a final “gala” event. Stay tuned for more library bicentennial announcements.

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