Hartford Medical Library Collection Returns to the
Watkinson; Research Appointments Available

3 min read

Olivia Silvey ’25

Exec. News Editor

Last week, Trinity’s Office of Communications announced the return of 30,000 volumes, 100 archival collections, and 550 medical instruments to the Watkinson Library from the Hartford Medical Society. Some of these artifacts date back to the 1500s and were kept in the Watkinson for a few decades in the late 19th century. They now return to Trinity, previously held at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, CT.

Christina Bleyer, Associate Vice President for Libraries and Distinctive Collections at Trinity College, expressed that Trinity is especially excited to house this collection due to the opportunity to unite Trinity with Hartford history even further.

“It’s another way for Trinity, the Watkinson, and the Hartford community to experience our close-knit relationships with each other,” Bleyer stated in the announcement, “and to be a space where people can come and see materials that are Hartford-based and have had a significant impact on the world.”

One of these potential impacts is with one of Trinity’s first-year programs, the Global Health Humanities Gateway. The Gateway programs such as this one invite certain enrolled firstyears to apply and take the place of the typical firstyear seminar. In the first semester, “Students explore representations of illness, healthcare, and caregiving in art, writing, and music through foundational literature in the discipline and sustained engagement with key readings.” The second semester includes community learning experiences in Hartford, and students complete the gateway by either finishing a semesterlong project or studying abroad at an approved site

broad at an approved site. “The HMS Library collection is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of medicine and the history of Hartford,” Bleyer stated in the announcement. “The collection may be especially interesting to students on a pre-med track or those majoring in biology and neuroscience,” she said.

Specifically, the collection includes rare and historical books, journals, manuscripts, and more than 550 medical instruments, along with their corresponding manuals and pamphlets. Some of these items date back to the Civil War. The collection has grown to its current size from the original 900 books in the Watkinson in the 1890s.

According to the announcement, the Hartford Medical Society (HMS) Library began in the 19th century for medical professionals in Connecticut to conduct training. The library collection gained more donors from the Hopkins Medical Society and then from donations from the disbanded Hartford Medical Library and Journal Association.

The grand opening of the HMS Library collection at the Watkinson is planned for spring 2023. The Watkinson Library is open to the public Monday through Friday, and research appointments can be made by email.

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