The Rare Book Room was given to the library by the Department of Surgery and is dedicated to Dr. Donald Silver, Emeritus professor of the University of Missouri, Department of Surgery. Dr. Silver was the Chair of the Department of Surgery from 1975-1998.
The Rare Book Room is located on the third floor of the library. Viewing hours are by appointment only and can be made through the Administrative Office (573) 882-4153. Items circulate and can be copied by special permission of Director of the Library. A guide to Selected Rare Books Available Online shows books in the collection which are available online via the Hathi Trust.
Items are placed in the Rare Book Room if selected by the Director or printed or published before 1900. The oldest book in the collection was published in 1565. Other criteria for selection are the book is an example of fine paper, binding, printing and contains significant illustrations. Also some titles are placed in the Rare Book Room which the library cannot replace without great cost, or are expertly produced facsimiles of manuscripts and early printed books.
An item is given rare book status and retained in our library if the item affords a needed perspective on contemporary studies, or provides the opportunity to learn about early developments in the field of medicine. Other criteria include providing a historical focus on the patient, the medical environment, or medical institutions. Items, which identify a historical person or trends in medicine, or have a historical background to technological breakthroughs, are also given rare book status.
For more about the Rare Book Room:
- Battles, Sean. (2004). University of Missouri Library Touts Rare Medical-Book Collection. Columbia Missourian. May 4, 2004.
- Howell, Margaret. (2001). Directory of Special Collections at the University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries.
- Meadowcroft, Taira. (2019). Rare Books at the Health Sciences Library