top of page

University of Aberdeen Medical Collections


The Sir Duncan Rice Library
Bedford Road
University of Aberdeen 
AB24 3AA

Phone number:

01224 272000

Social Media:


Twitter:  @uoacollections

Instagram: @uoacollections

Opening hours:

Please see websites.


These items are available for use in teaching, research, and public engagement activities. Archives and rare printed books are normally used in the Special Collections Centre (Sir Duncan Rice Library) and museum materials in various museum venues. Please contact for archives and rare books, or for museum items.


Medical items date from Antiquity to the present day. Some of the earliest are papyrus fragments, and a late fourteenth-century compendium of medical receipts. Other resources include the medical case notes of local physicians, and further papers illustrate medical practice in the British colonies, and aboard East India and whaling vessels. Additional materials relate to University teaching and research in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology.

Rare printed books

The University of Aberdeen cares for several individually named collections of rare printed books, and together, these contain thousands of items, many with medical interest: for example a copy of William Harvey, ‘The Motion of the Heart’ (De motu cordis), published in 1628. Relevant titles are scattered throughout the rare book collections, but certain groups are especially relevant for this theme. These include the Liddel Library, the Gregory Collection, the FL Collection, and the SB Collection (KCx sequence).

Human Culture, Zoology and Herbarium

Human Culture, Herbarium and Zoology museum collections all contain material of potential relevance, including many items related to ideas and practices connected in various ways with the natural world, wellbeing, lifecycles, disabilities, disease, death and afterlives. These include items with cosmic or religious significance, as well as scientific instruments, and plant and animal specimens and models. Materials date from prehistory to the twentieth century, and come from all continents.


This restricted-access collection is especially strong in skeletal material, fluid-preserved specimens of human tissues, modern plastic anatomical models, historical anatomical models (of wax, papier-mâché and plaster), and works on paper, including nineteenth-century watercolours and anatomical drawings by Alberto Morrocco. There is also a small collection of associated material, including anti-grave robbing devices used in the north-east of Scotland in the nineteenth century.

Pathology and Forensic Medicine

This restricted-access collection relates to disease and traumatic pathology in twentieth-century northern Scotland, and contains more than 2000 items: mainly specimens of human tissue, many accompanied by anonymous clinical case files. The Pathology collection also includes scientific film material, staff workbooks and notes, and scientific instruments. The Forensic Medicine collection contains examples of traumatic pathology relating to crimes committed in the Aberdeen area, many with linked material, including weapons and photographic evidence. In addition, this collection includes important wax, papier-mâché and ceramic models dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

bottom of page