The first Boston Medical Library (BML) was founded by Doctors John C. Warren and James Jackson in 1805. The Boston Medical Library was formally organized in 1875 by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes who served as its President. In 1960, the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical School Library entered into an agreement to combine their collections and administration in a new building known as The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.     

The first Boston Medical Library (BML) was founded by Doctors John C. Warren and James Jackson in 1805. The Boston Medical Library was reconstituted in 1875 by Dr. James Chadwick with Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes as its President. In 1960, the Boston Medical Library and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard University) entered into an agreement to combine the collections, services and administration of the Boston Medical Library and the Harvard Medical Library in a new building known as The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Each of the two original institutions continues collecting and ownership of its holdings. The combined library ranks as one of the largest medical libraries in the world with one of the richest collections.

The Boston Medical Library is a physician and dentist non-profit organization incorporated in 1877. The BML mission, revised in 2004, is "to be a Library for the dissemination of medical knowledge, the promotion of medical education and scholarship, and the preservation and celebration of medical history, and thereby to advance the quality of health and healthcare of the people." The Boston Medical Library serves as a resource for the lifelong learning of practicing physicians of Massachusetts which has been its founding and continuing mission, besides serving the medical school faculties and students of Harvard Medical School, Boston University Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 1947, the Boston Medical Library formally became the library for the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS).

A Board of Trustees half of which is appointed by the MMS manages the BML. This group meets regularly and has fiduciary responsibility for a significant endowment which provides partial support for the Countway Library as a whole. The Boston Medical Library is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization.

Read more background in a PDF.

Click Here to View the 2016 Presidentís Annual Report

For further reading see McCord, David (ed.) Bibliotheca Medica: Physician for Tomorrow, Boston: Harvard Medical School, 1966.
See the catalog record at Harvard HOLLIS: http://id.lib.harvard.edu/aleph/001230336/catalog.



The Boston Medical Library presents: Spare Parts - Hope, Drama and Dispute: Heart Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart Implant Cases in the 1960s - 13th J. Worth Estes, M.D. History of Medicine Lecture
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The Boston Medical Library presents: Less Medicine, More Health - 41st Annual Garland Lecture
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