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UVA Health Historical Research

Early Medical Education

Early Medical Education at UVA Historical Resource Guide

Exhibits and Online Resources

  • The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Virginia. This online exhibit was created by the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library in 2015-2016 to document the history of the first building designed for medical education at UVA. The exhibit describes the origins of the building, its design, and its role in the early medical education curriculum.

  • Jefferson's University, the Early Life (JUEL) Project, 1819-1870. The JUEL Project was created by UVA's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH). The website houses many resources on the early years of the University, included digitized historical documents, interpretive essays, image galleries, and digital reconstructions of early buildings. Among these resources, you can find information on the Anatomical Theatre; Pavilion X, the home of the first Professor of Medicine; early students and faculty; and more.

Books, Articles, and Presentations

Below is a list of books, articles, and presentations related to the history of medical education at UVA. The list is arranged in chronological order.


History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series

This lecture series sponsored by the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library and dedicated to the history of the health sciences has often included talks related to the history of medical education at UVA. Below is a list of relevant lectures; the list is arranged in chronological order.

Records and Other Archival Materials

Historical Publications

Arranged in chronological order.

Other Records
  • UVA School of Medicine Student Notebook Collection, MS-37, 1839-1954. A collection of student notebooks containing the notes that medical students took in their classes or laboratories at the University of Virginia. This collection is located at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library.

  • UVA School of Medicine Records, RG-17-1. The bulk of the UVA School of Medicine records are from the 20th century; however, the collection also includes some earlier records, such as: syllabi and other course materials (see RG-17-1-20) and early graduation certificates (see RG-17-1-35), as well as relevant history files (see RG-17-1-32).

  • Board of Visitors Minutes, 1817-2007. This guide maintained by UVA Library provides several methods for browsing and searching the University of Virginia Board of Visitors (BOV) Minutes. The BOV Minutes contain information on faculty appointments, admissions procedures, and curriculum changes, among other topics.

  • John Staige Davis Papers: 1839-1885. MSS 3247; and 1840-1888. MSS 1912, 2842. These papers are located at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. They contain correspondence, notebooks, and other records of Dr. John Staige Davis, a faculty member in Anatomy, Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Botany at UVA between 1847-1885.

  • James Lawrence Cabell Papers: 1882-1974. MS-35; and 1829-1863 MSS 1640 & 3894. The first collection of papers is housed at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library; the other materials are located at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Dr. James Lawrence Cabell was a professor of Anatomy, Physiology, and Surgery at the University of Virginia for more than 50 years.

Early Medical Textbooks and Syllabi

Below is a partial list of textbooks used within the medical curriculum at the UVA School of Medicine during the nineteenth century. The list is arranged in chronological order of publication date.

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