History of the Campuses and Buildings of the University of Rochester
United States Hotel Prince Street Campus Eastman School of Music Medical Center River Campus Mid-Campus South Campus Mt. Hope Campus Graduate, Family and Veteran Housing Central Utilities Other Off-Site Buildings
Medical Center Edward G. Miner Medical Library

The reading room of the Medical Library in October 1926

Reading room in 1950 Reference Department in 1966 Current Library Reading Room

Although the Medical Library never had its own building, it occupies a central place in the history of the Medical Center.  The first library was opened in the Research Laboratory in November 1922 and moved into the new building in September 1925.  The library was expanded and renovated in 1962 and 1987.

1936 The First Decade 1926-1936  
Page 18:  Plans were drawn first of all for the two-story Research Laboratory (now known as the Animal House), which was to be built as quickly as possible so that it might serve during the construction of the main building as temporary offices and laboratories. Ground for the building was broken in August, 1922, and the building was occupied in November. It provided temporary quarters not only for Dr. Whipple and Dr. Bloor (representing pathology and biochemistry) but also for the first-arriving members of the departments of anatomy, bacteriology, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, physiology, surgery, and vital economics.
Here Dr. Faxon opened the first administrative offices of Strong Memorial Hospital, with Dr. Thomas A. Devan, Assistant Director, and with his Secretary, Miss Dorothy 0. Widner. The Medical Library also had its first quarters in the building, as did the staff of the School of Nursing, the Dietitian and the Purchasing Department.
The Research Laboratory, as it was called, was not only a temporary home, but a testing place for all items of construction and equipment, and housed a curious assortment of hardware, plumbing fixtures, and furniture, from which the best was selected for the main building.
The building was ultimately to be used solely for the housing of animals. As they arrived, they too were cared for in this building. It is interesting to note that over a ten-year period the following kinds of animals have been housed there from time to time: alligators, bears, calves, cats, chickens, chipmunks, dogs, donkey, ferrets, frogs, geese, goats, gophers, guinea pigs, horse, kangaroo, lizards, mice, monkeys, mule, opossum, owls, pigeons, pigs, rabbits, rats, seal, sheep, skunk, snakes, sparrows, squirrels, starlings, turtles and woodchucks.

1950 The First Quarter Century 1925-1950  
Page 127-130:  The Medical Library, by Karl M. Wilson
THE first Chairman of the Library Committee was Dr. George W. Corner, and under his supervision the development of the Medical Library was begun. The Medical School is under a debt of eternal gratitude to him for the manner in which the library collection was developed in the early years. First housed in two rooms on the second story of the Animal House from 1923 Lo 1925, the library was moved to its present quarters in Lhe Medical Center in 1925. It should be recognized that the library started with literally nothing in the way of books or periodicals and over a twenty-five year period has grown to the truly fine collections of which it is now comprised.
President Rhees secured the services of Mr. J. F. Ballard to assist in purchasing the necessary volumes for a working collection. He was commissioned to purchase complete sets of medical journals, partial sets or single volumes as they appeared on the market, both in this country and abroad. Volumes pertaining to medicine were transferred from the Arts College Library (Sibley Library) as well as some volumes from the library of the Department of Vital Economics. Many gifts were received, notably from the Boston Medical Library, the Grosvenor Library of Buffalo, the New York Academy of Medicine, and Princeton University. Outstanding among these was the gift of 4,000 volumes received in the fall of 1925 from the Reynolds Library through one of its trustees, the late Dr. Charles A. Dewey. This transfer was made with the approval of the Rochester Academy of Medicine, successor to the group of physicians which had originally collected the books. The various departmental heads, the Library Committee, and the University Librarian, the late Mr. Donald B. Gilchrist, supervised the purchase of monographs. In 1927, with the purchase of a part of the library of Dr. Philip Turner of England, an important addition was made to the section in Obstetrics and Gynecology, which is one of the largest and most complete in the library.

1953 "The Edward G. Miner Library," by John A. Benjamin and John R. Russell, University of Rochester Library Bulletin 7(3) (Spring 1953)
On December 19, 1952, the eighty-ninth birthday of Edward G. Miner, the Library of the School of Medicine and Dentistry was named The Edward G. Miner Library. A group of officers of the University visited Mr. Miner at his home on that day and presented him with a replica of the plaque that will be placed in the Library. The use of Mr. Miner's name for the Medical Library is most fitting. For more than 40 years he has been a member of the University's Board of Trustees, and during this long service to the University the Library has been one of his chief interests. He has served as Chairman of the University Library Committee since 1931, greatly aiding in the formulation of library policies, and paying special attention to acquisitions of scholarly books. Many important collections and rare books have come to the University because of Mr. Miner's active promotion of this important part of the Library's work. His own book-collecting activities have enhanced this interest and have resulted in notable collections of books which he has presented to the University Library.
The Library which will henceforth bear Mr. Miner's name had its beginning in 1922, when the School of Medicine and Dentistry was being organized by Dean Whipple. That summer Mr. James F. Ballard of the Boston Medical Library became purchasing agent and adviser for the Medical Library. He prepared a list of sets that would be needed and began purchasing at once. For the first few months the books were stored in boxes in Sibley Hall and Carnegie Hall. In February, 1923, seventy cases of books were moved to the second floor of the animal house on Elmwood Avenue, the books were arranged on shelves, and library service began. By 1925, when permanent quarters in the School of Medicine and Dentistry were ready, about nineteen thousand volumes had been acquired for the use of the first class of students. In the three decades of the Library's existence the collection has steadily grown until it now numbers 58,484 volumes. The regular purchases of journals and texts have been augmented by gifts that have been especially useful in providing material on the history of medicine. Mr. Miner's donations to the library have been chiefly in this field.

1955 "Edward G. Miner," University of Rochester Library Bulletin 9(1) (Autumn 1955)

1957 "Incunabula in the Medical Library," by Virginia Moscrip, University of Rochester Library Bulletin 12(3) (Spring 1957)

1957 Planning and Construction Period of the School and Hospitals 1921-1925. bu George H. Whipple, M.D.| pdf |
Page 24:  Library
Library purchase began in 1921, Dr. Rhees having directed Mr. James F. Ballard of the Boston Medical Library to proceed with the purchase of complete sets of standard medical scientific journals, then available abroad at very reasonable prices. This was a most fortunate arrangement as Mr. Ballard was able to purchase for the medical library various complete sets which were very difficult to obtain in this country. This advantageous association continued through the period of growth of the school library. The first librarian was Miss Hester Hopkins, who began work in early 1923. She was succeeded shortly by Miss Olga Schaeffer, who continued from 1923 to 1929.
The first books purchased by Mr. Ballard were delivered to the Research Laboratory's second floor and unpacked there. They remained there until removal to the School library stacks in 1925.

1958 "Edward G. Miner Medical Library," Rochester Review 20(2):10 (November 1958)

1961 "Medical Center Will Expand Miner Library," Democrat and Chronicle, May 22, 1961, Page 19.

1962 "Two Nobel Winners To Appear at UR," Democrat and Chronicle, October 12, 1962, Page 26.
The renovated and enlarged Edward G. Miner Medical Library at the UR Medical Center will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. today in conjunction with the 18th annual meeting of the UR Medical Alumni Association, which opens tomorrow morning.

1962 "Medical Center," Rochester Review 24(2):17 (November-December 1962)
Dedication of expanded Edward G. Miner Library

1971 "∆sculapius Meets Everard Peck, 150 Years of Medical Books and Learning in Rochester," by Edward C. Atwater, University of Rochester Library Bulletin 27(1) (Winter 1972-1972)

1975 To each his farthest star:  The University of Rochester Medical Center -1925-1975, edited by Edward C. Atwater and John Romano.
Pages 145-161:  Crossroads:  The Story of the Medical Library, by Henry L. Lemkau

1977 History of the University of Rochester, 1850-1962, by Arthur J. May.  Expanded edition with notes
Chapter 20, Shaping the Medical Center
Chapter 28:  Music and Medicine in the 1930's
Chapter 31:  Women, Music and Medicine in Wartime

1994 "Evaluating library renovation at the University of Rochester Medical Center," by Valerie Florance, Computer  Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 44:215-226 (1994)

© 2021 Morris A. Pierce