Research On Line

Medical Diasporas

Medical Diasporas is a research project directed by David Wright at McGill University and funded by the Canada Research Chairs program, which “examines the transnational history of physician migration in the second half of the twentieth century, looking ‘outward’ from Canada.

Libraries, Museums and Digital Collections

Canadian Museum of History / Musée Canadien De L’Histoire (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization)

The Canadian Museum of History, located across the river from Ottawa in Gatineau, Quebec, features exhibitions related to the history of health in Canada.

The Canadian Nursing History Collection features a collection of artifacts and documents held by the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum, many of which were donated by the Canadian Nurses Association. In the future, materials from the Library and Archives Canada will be incorporated into the online exhibit.

Museum of Health Care at Kingston

The Museum of Health Care at Kingston “shows how Canadians have preserved health and managed disease, pain, and suffering. The Museum strives to connect visitors of all ages with the experiences of people in past times and provide context and perspective on today’s health issues.” The Museum’s website includes a catalogue of their research collections, a blog, and details of their annual summer research fellowship competition.

Osler Library of the History of Medicine 

The Osler Library of the History of Medicine opened in 1929 at McGill University, beginning with a collection of rare medical books donated by Sir William Osler. The library now includes approximately 100,000 works related to the history of health sciences and related areas.

The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto

The Hannah Collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library began with a donation of 3,000 books by Jason A. Hannah of Associated Medical Services in 1974, who had obtained the collection from the Medical Society of London. Since then, the Hannah collection has grown through acquisitions made possible by the Hannah foundation and the collection currently boasts some 11,000 items. The Fisher Library is also home to the Academy of Medical Collections, the Florence Nightingale Collection, the Charles M. Godfrey Collection, and a number of original anatomical drawings. In addition, the library is the home of the Banting Papers, acquired in 1957 and 1976, as well as the Charles Best Papers and the Collip Papers, which include other material related to the discovery of insulin. The library also hosts a virtual collection drawing on the Banting, Best, and associated papers, The Discovery and Early Development of Insulin.

The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC)

The VMC “showcases a rich collection of Canadian heritage online. The VMC celebrates stories and treasures entrusted to Canadian museums and shares them in innovative and dynamic ways.” The VMC hosts exhibits of relevance to the history of health in Canada, including an exhibit called the ‘Healing Power of Plants,’ created by a Coalition of Canadian Healthcare Museums and Archives, and ‘Getting Better,’ created by the University Health Network Artefact Collection.

Veterans Affairs Canada / Anciens Combattants Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada hosts an online tribute to Canadian Nursing Sisters from the Crimean War to after the present.

Woodward Library, The University of British Columbia

The Woodward Library is home to a number of special collections related to the history of medicine and science, including the William C. Gibson History of Medicine and Science Collection, the Harry Hawthorn Collection, the Gerald W. Korn Obstetrics and Gynecology Collection, the Rodger Stanton Memorial Library Collection, as well as manuscripts and collections of letters (including the digitized Charles Darwin Letters) and the Florence Nightingale Letters, along with oral histories taped in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the UBC Medical School.


Historians’ Blogs “is a website that connects the work of historians with the wider public and the importance of the past to current events.” A number of blog posts on the website have considered issues of relevance to the history of health.

Historiens de la santé

Historiens de la santé est le premier pas d’un réseau francophone de chercheurs internationaux en histoire de la santé initié en 2012 par Alexandre Klein et Séverine Parayre. Il rassemble des informations concernant l’histoire de la médecine et des sciences médicales, l’histoire des pratiques de santé et l’histoire du corps pour permettre aux chercheurs un accès unique aux travaux, projets et réalisations à l’œuvre dans le champ de l’histoire de la santé.”

Panacea: Musings on the History of Medicine

Panacea is Samantha Sandassie’s blog, whose mission she describes as “to share the stories of early modern people – how they lived within, and coped with, their changing world – to hopefully make the past a bit less incommensurable than it so often seems.”

The Sloane Letters Blog: Sir Hans Sloane’s Correspondence Online

The Sloane Letter’s blog is part of Dr. Lisa Smith’s project “Reconstructing the Lives of Doctor Sloane and His Patients in Eighteenth-Century England,” which is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Journals where Canuck HMs publish a lot

Canadian Bulletin of the History of Medicine / Bulletin canadien d’histoire de la medicine

The Bulletin is published twice annually by Wilfrid Laurier University Press and the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine.

Canadian Journal of History / Annales canadiennes d’histoire 

The CJH is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes general history in both English and French, and welcomes submissions from all geographic, temporal, and thematic sub-fields.

Social History of Medicine

Published on behalf of The Society for the Social History of Medicine, the journal “is concerned with all aspects of health, illness, and medical treatment in the past.”

Bulletin of the History of Medicine

The official journal of the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine “spans the social, cultural, and scientific aspects of the history of medicine worldwide.”

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences

Established in 1946, the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences emphasizes that, “when possible and appropriate, it focuses on what practitioners of the healing arts did or taught, and how their peers, as well as patients, received and interpreted their efforts.”

Journal of the History of Nursing

Nursing History Review

Nursing History Review is the official publication of the American Association for the History of Nursing. Published annual, this journal is “a showcase for the most significant current research on nursing and health care history.”

Medical History

Medical History is “devoted to all aspects of the history of medicine, health and related sciences, with the goal of broadening and deepening the understanding of the field, in the widest sense, by historical studies of the highest quality.”

Canadian Medical Association Journal

A general medical journal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published 18 print issues annually, as well as maintaining an active online presence.

Societies and Associations

Associated Medical Services

The AMS is a Canadian charitable organization that supports the history of medicine and healthcare, as well as professional education and bioethics. The AMS established the AMS Hannah Chairs in the history of medicine in the 1970s at Ontario’s five faculties of medicine before creating permanent endowments for the chairs (at the University of Western Ontario, Queen’s University, the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and the University of Ottawa). In 2015, the AMS announced the creation of the Hannah Chair in the History of Aboriginal Health at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The AMS also supports the Alberta Medical Foundation/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care at the University of Calgary and the Cotton-Hannah Professorship and Chair at McGill University. In February, 2015, the AMS announced the creation of the AMS History of Medicine and Healthcare Post-Doctoral Fellowships and Grant program hosted by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF).

B.C. History of Nursing Society (BCHNS)

The organization began as the B.C. History of Nursing Professional Practice Group in 1989, before becoming registered as the BCHNS. A member of the Virtual Museum of Canada, the BCHNS hosts a number of online exhibits. In addition, their brick-and-mortar archives are located at the School of Nursing University of British Columbia, which is open by appointment to interested parties who wish to view their collection of documents and oral history interviews related to nurses who worked or were educated in British Columbia.

The Canadian Association for the History of Nursing / Association canadienne pour l’histoire du nursing

The mission of the CAHN / ACHN, which is an affiliate group of the Canadian Nurses Association, is to “promote interest in the history of nursing and to develop scholarship in the field.”

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Located in London, Ontario, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is “the world’s only national Hall of Fame dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of medical heroes.”

Canadian Nurses Association / Association des Infirmieres et Infirmiers du Canada

The Canadian Nurses Association is a national federation of registered nurses in Canada, which “advances the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, non-for-profit health system.” The CNA, together with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian War Museum, and the National Archives of Canada, has established the Canadian Nursing History Collection Online (, which contains materials originally from CNA house.

The Canadian Society for the History of Medicine / La Société canadienne d’histoire de la médecine

The CSHM / SCHM has been promoting “the study, research and communication of the history of health and medicine in all its facets” since 1950.

College of Family Physicians of Canada / Le Collège des médecins de famille du Canada

The College of Family Physicians of Canada is a national medical association “responsible for establishing standards for the training, certification and lifelong education of family physicians and for advocating on behalf of the speciality of family medicine, family physicians and their patients.” Their ‘Family Medicine: A Canadian Heritage’ celebrates 60 years of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the website includes a brief history of the College, as well as a timeline and a number of oral histories.

The Margaret M. Allemang Society for the History of Nursing

An organization, based out of Toronto, that began in 1993 to “increase the visibility of the major role of nurses in our society,” including promoting the history of nursing and preserving relevant archival resources. The society runs an annual History of Nursing Writing Prize for undergraduate and graduate students in Canadian universities and community colleges.

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada / Collège royal des médecins et chirurgiens du Canada

Their mission is “to improve the health and care of Canadians by leading in medical education, professional standards, physician competence and continuous enhancement of the health system.” The Royal College Collection, featuring manuscripts, books, and artefacts, is located in Ottawa, Ontario. In collaboration with the Museum of Health Care at Kingston, the College also hosts an online exhibit about Joseph Lister. To mark the centenary of the First World War, the Royal College, along with the Canadian Medical Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, has produced a resource list for researchers, “Canadian physicians, surgeons and medicine in the First World War,” which is available by email request.

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