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Rare books collection at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library

Identifier: KORN001

Along with the Louisville Medical Institute portion of the collection are the Caldwell, Gardner, and Keeney collections. Emmet Field Horine, M.D., willed two collections from his vast personal library to the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library. These include publications by and about Charles Caldwell, M.D., and books and journals on phrenology, Mesmerism, animal magnetism, the water cure, and hypnotism. The Caldwell collection has over two hundred cataloged volumes. The principal focus of the collection is on the subject of anesthesiology with several hundred volumes related to anesthesia. Of special interest is A Treatise on Etherization in Childbirth (1848) by William Channing.

The William E. Gardner collection contains over eight hundred publications on the history of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry. The collection includes classics in psychiatry, beginning with a book on demonology and witchcraft. There is also a copy of Benjamin Rush's first book, Diseases of the Mind , (1812), the first book published in the United States on mental diseases and disorders. Gifts have allowed additional books on child psychiatry to be added to the collection.

A notable recent addition to the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library is the collection of rare ophthalmology books belonging to the late Arthur Keeney, M.D. The total donation numbered about one thousand monographs, of which approximately one to two hundred will be housed in the History Collections. Of note is a bound set of three works by Hieronymi Fabricii ab Aquapendente De Visione Voce Auditu (1600).


  • 17th-20th century


Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers


3000 Volumes

Biographical / Historical

When the Louisville Medical Institute was founded in 1837, $20,000 was set aside for "books, anatomical specimens, and chemical apparatus," and a comprehensive medical library was established. When the institute became the Medical Department of the University of Louisville in 1846, the board of trustees had a catalog of the holdings prepared and printed, listing a collection of over 3,200 books and journals. In December 1856 the medical school burned and although many valuable medical books were lost, two-thirds of the library, approximately two thousand volumes, were saved. These make up the core of the Rare Books Collection at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library.


No online items. Must visit contributing institution.


Rare books collection at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library
Mary K. Marlatt
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Repository Details

Part of the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library Repository

Kornhauser Library
500 S. Preston Street
Louisville KY 40292 United States
(502) 852-5766