Our diverse collections tell the story of life, death, health and disease since the 13th century.
From Arabic manuscripts to rare early printed books, doctors’ diaries and innovations in medical technology – our library, archive and museum collections explore the doctor’s role in looking after our bodies for over 500 years. In our collections, you can find items relating to the lives and experiences of doctors, particularly members and fellows of the RCP as well as the changing attitudes towards the use of smoking and alcohol in medicine and society. The collections also highlight the development of anatomy and medical illustration, the relationship between doctors and patients and the treatment and experience of infection diseases like the plague and tuberculosis. Items relating to hospital history, the places of medicine, early printing techniques and rare book binding are also among the collection items, as well as the evolution of medical education in Britain, artwork depicting physicians in different eras and the architecture of the Royal College of Physician’s building.
The library and archive catalogues and other collection management documents may contain information about living persons, in relation to collection items. The RCP also keeps records on research visitors, to meet access and security requirements. Please view our permanent collections processing statement for further details.