Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library – New Haven, Connecticut - Atlas Obscura

Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library

A vast collection of rare books, manuscripts & extraordinary objects illustrating the history of medicine. 


The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library serves the biomedical and health care information needs of the Yale Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and the Yale New Haven Hospital. The medical library provides access to a comprehensive suite of clinical, research, and educational resources as well as expert support for evidence synthesis and literature searching, omics analysis, research data, and scholarly communication. The medical library’s Historical Library comprises one of the world’s finest collections of rare medical books, journals, prints, posters, artifacts, drawings, and photographs. Many have been digitized and made available online.

The medical library opened its doors in 1941 and is located within the Sterling Hall of Medicine. The library’s rotunda honors Yale alumnus Dr. Harvey Cushing, whose extraordinary collection of brain specimens - the study of which led him to be a pioneer of neuroscience - resides in the library’s lower level.

In the late 1980s, Betsey Cushing Whitney, daughter of Harvey Cushing and widow of John Hay Whitney, donated $8 million to enlarge and refurbish the medical library. The medical library was renamed the Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library, honoring Cushing and John Hay Whitney (1904–1982; Yale 1926), editor of the Herald Tribune and patron of the arts.

A second renovation in 2019 introduced a large team-based learning classroom, eight rooms for small-group learning and independent study, an expanded studio for video production of learning materials, and an information commons with workstations, comfortable seating, and an information help desk. The spaces are designed for flexible use and incorporate technologies to support the medical school curriculum and accommodate individual study preferences.

TheMedical Library Associates help ensure the medical library’s continued support for biomedical education and research at Yale. Established in 1948, the group has supported the medical library for over 70 years, helping enable its world-class services to the faculty, staff and students of the Yale Medical Center, today and for generations to come. Membership starts at $50 a year and includes benefits such as access to the library, use of collections, and an annual lecture.

Know Before You Go

The Medical Library is located just off the central rotunda in the Yale School of Medicine (Sterling Hall of Medicine), 333 Cedar Street.

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