History of Science

The history of the biological and physical sciences is strongly represented in landmark editions of works by Newton, Galileo, Darwin, Hooke, Leeuwenhoek, Linnaeus, Jussieu, Gessner, and Audubon, among many others.  The collection also includes anatomical works by Vesalius, Harvey, and Fabricius, as well as Renaissance medical herbals, including, Fuchs’ De Historia Stirpium(1542); Hortus Sanitatis (1517); Mattioli’s De Materia Medica (1583); and numerous other beautifully illustrated botanical works.  Special Collections also holds numerous 18th-century scientific periodicals, including long runs of Memoires of the French Academie des sciences and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

These works complement the University of Missouri’s emphasis on the life sciences, support interdisciplinary research, and provide an important access point for the study of intellectual history and scientific inquiry.

How to Use the Collection

The collection is available to all users in the Special Collections Reading Room (room 401) during regular hours.  Materials do not circulate. Rare books may be used in the Special Collections Reading Room during service hours or by appointment.

With a few exceptions, the collection can be accessed through the MERLIN library catalog.  Advice on using MERLIN to search Special Collections can be found here.

Finding Aids for History of Science

Donald Silver Rare Book Room, J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library


The Rare Book Room was given to the library by the Department of Surgery and is dedicated to Dr. Donald Silver, an Emeritus professor of the…

Gary E. and Janet J. Venable Antiquarian Atlas & Map Collection


The Venable Collection documents the history of cartography, geography, and exploration from the sixteenth through the early twentieth century.…

Historic Textbook Collection


The Education Library of the University Libraries began collecting textbooks in 1968. Donations were solicited and members of the Friends of the…

Rare Book Collection


The Rare Book Collection is the default designation for materials in Special Collections that are acquired as individual items. Like Special…

Related Exhibits

Vesalius at 500


Born in 1514 in modern-day Belgium, Vesalius studied at the Universities of Louvain, Paris, and Padua before becoming a professor...

Selected Items

Symbolorum et emblematum centuriae tres : I. Ex herbis & stirpibus. II. Ex animalibus quadrupedibus. III. Ex volatilibus & insectis.


Edited by the author's son, Ludwig Camerarius, who has supplied a general dedicatory epistle, dated 31 Jan. 1605, a general note to the reader, a note…

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