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Joseph Meredith Toner Collection

Publications and papers relating to the history of American medicine, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; early American imprints.

In 1882 Joseph Meredith Toner (1825-1896), Washington physician and medical historian, presented his research collection to the Library of Congress. Counting the many volumes added to the collection in later installments, Dr. Toner donated nearly 50,000 books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and issues of periodicals as well as maps, manuscripts, and innumerable files of newspaper clippings. Aside from the research value of this material, the Toner Collection is historically significant to the Library of Congress as it marks, in the words of the Senate Report of May 16, 1882, "the first instance in the history of this government of the free gift of a large and valuable library to the nation." Dr. Toner described his library in a letter included in the same report:

They are chiefly medical works and general and local American histories; publications relating to our climate and diseases; biographies of medical men...and works on the history of medicine in America from the settlement of the country to the end of the first half century of our national existence...My collection is...measurably rich in the early literature of small-pox, yellow fever, cholera, and the other epidemics, general and local, which have appeared in our country. My special collection of the early contributions to the literature of medicine in American and early American imprints is scarcely second to any in the country.

Aside from the legal works that have been assigned to the Law Library, the printed material from the Toner Collection is kept in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The 30,851 volumes and 7,739 pamphlets include extensive runs of nineteenth century medical journals.

Supporting Resources


Digitized Material Available From the Jospeh Meredith Toner Collection

Harte, Bret, 1836-1902. The Pliocene skull; sketches by E.M. Schaeffer, M.D., Dec. 8, 1870. Washington, D.C.: Photolitho. reproduced by Peters & Rehn, c1871.
Page-Turner, Bibliographic Record
The Lady's Guide to Perfect Gentility The Lady's Guide to Perfect Gentility, in Manners, Dress, and Conversation ...
Page-Turner, Bibliographic Record
Saint Vincent's Orphan Asylum (Washington, D.C.). Laws and regulations for the reception of children into St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum in the District of Columbia and for the protection and welfare of such children until they become of age, according to law. Washington : Printed by John T. Towers, 1849.
Page Turner - PDF (3.8 MB) - Bibliographic Information

Nourse, Gabriel. Narrative of the life, trial, confession, sentence of death, and execution, of Ebenezer W. Cox. Winchester : Samuel H. Davis, printer, 1830.
Page Turner - PDF (16.4 MB) - Bibliographic Information

Pinkney, Ninian, 1811-1877. Lecture Delivered by Surgeon N. Pinkney of the U.S. Navy, in the Hall of the House of Delegates...[Annapolis?:s.n., 1854?]
Page Turner - PDF (4.1 MB) - Bibliographic Information

Also see Toner Excerpts; Joseph Meredith Toner Collection of Newspaper Clippings, (1816-1895) and P-4 Shelflist: a microform of Slavic materials from the Toner Collection.

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  August 10, 2021
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