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About Historical Collections

The Historical Collections Department in the Health Sciences Library of SUNY Upstate Medical University is a special collection of rare books, journals, documents, photographs, medical instruments and other materials for the study of the history of medicine, especially in Central New York, and the history of SUNY Upstate Medical University and its predecessor schools.

The core of the rare book and journal collection is the original Library of Geneva Medical College (1834-1871), the earliest predecessor of SUNY Upstate Medical University. The book collection contains about 5,000 works published from the 16th century to the present; journal holdings number about 7,500 volumes published from the 19th through early 20th centuries.

Primary sources include archival records, photographs, ephemera, and objects documenting the history of SUNY Upstate Medical University and its two predecessor schools, the Syracuse University College of Medicine (1871-1950) and Geneva Medical College (1834-1871). Manuscript collections include papers of former faculty; records of men and women who served in the medical units formed by the College of Medicine to serve during World War I and World War II; information on hospitals and other health service organizations in Syracuse; and the history of medicine, medical education, and the health professions in Central New York.

Photograph and print collections include 19th and 20th century images of people, places, and events in the history of SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse University College of Medicine, Geneva Medical College, hospitals in the region, and other images relating to the history of medicine in Central New York. Also in Historical Collections is the archive of the College of Medicine’s Medical Photography Unit from its inception in 1929 through 1990.



The Historical Collections Department is on the 2nd floor of the SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Health Sciences Library, 766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY. 13210. Directions, maps, and parking information.
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Staff Contact Information
Health Sciences Library
SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210

(315) 464-7091


Visiting and Using the Collections

Visitors to Historical Collections are always welcome. The department’s normal hours are 8:30 to 4:30 Monday through Friday.

Calling ahead to schedule an appointment is recommended to be sure that staff is available to provide research assistance and retrieve collection materials for your use. Most materials are housed in closed stacks and do not circulate. There is a circulating collection of books on the history of medicine, as well as a non-circulating collection of reference books for research in the history of medicine. Those two collections are in open stacks and can be used without library staff assistance anytime the library is open (link to library hours). For additional information about our collections and how to search our holdings, please see Collections (link to Collections).

Because of the rarity and/or uniqueness of the materials, researchers will be asked to observe the procedures listed below. These are designed to preserve the collections for both present and future users.

In addition to onsite use of the collections, many reference inquiries can be answered via email, telephone, or letter.

For reference inquiries or to make an appointment please contact:
Historical Collections
Health Sciences Library
SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210

(315) 464-4581


Copying Services and Fees

Payment may be made by check made out to "Health Sciences Library" and mailed to:

Historical Collections
Health Sciences Library
SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210

 Paper photocopies

1) Journal articles

2) Archival mtls., books

Digital Reproductions

1) 600 dpi tiff; disk and mailing costs included

2) Low-resolution scanning of multiple pages; disk and mailing costs included

Other services

Reproductions from fragile bound volumes or other 3-D objects, and photo-quality prints, are available from the Medical Photography Department according to their fee schedule. Prices provided on request.


Permission to Publish

Please submit a written request including:

Books, periodicals, film, video, CD-ROM, DVD, Internet

Academic and non-profit


Permission is for non-exclusive, world-wide rights for a single edition in a single format and a single language for five years. Fees for reuse, or for use in other editions or media, must be requested separately. Permission is for physical rights; users may have to negotiate copyright separately with the copyright holder.

NOTE: For permission to publish, payment must be received in advance of publication.