Waring and Rare Materials Collections

The Waring History of Medicine and Health Sciences Collection and the library's rare book collection are housed on the library's third floor in the Special Collections room. This spacious room provides ample seating for reading, study, and research. Food and drink are not allowed.   

James J. Waring, M.D. History of Medicine and Health Sciences Collection

The circulating History of Medicine and Health Sciences collection consists of ca. 6,000 modern works on the history of medicine and works published between 1875 and 1913 that do not require the special handling of rare materials. Circulating materials may be accessed during the hours that the library is open. These items have a location code of HSL History of Medicine in the IMPULSE catalog.

Rare Materials Collection

American Medical Botany: Being a Collection of the Native Medicinal Plants of the United States, Containing Their Botanical History and Chemical Analysis, and Properties and Uses In Medicine, Diet And the Arts, With Coloured Engravings by Jacob Bigelow. Plate 26.

Access to the Rare Materials Collection is restricted. Researchers are not allowed access to the Rare Materials storage areas. All materials must be requested individually.   The Rare Materials Office can only accommodate one individual researcher or a 2-3 people working together at one time. At least a week’s advance notice is required to make arrangements to accommodate larger groups. Wednesday mornings (9-noon) and Thursday afternoons (1-5) have been set aside for appointments.  Appointments can be made outside these hours subject to staff availability.

Most of the rare books and journals are listed in the IMPULSE catalog with a location code of HSL Rare. Rare books, journals, and photographs are available by appointment between the hours of 9 am and noon, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 1 pm - 5 pm, or at other times by special arrangement. To make an appointment, contact Emily Epstein at 303-724-2119.

The Health Sciences Library has a small collection of medical artifacts, consisting of a wide range of objects dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. These items are not in the IMPULSE catalog, but there is a list. The Artifacts Collection is available by appointment between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or at other times by special arrangement.  To ascertain the library’s holdings or to make an appointment, contact Paul Andrews at 303-724-2113.

All rare materials require special handling. Borrowers must fill out a registration card and present some form of photo identification (University of Colorado ID, driver’s license, etc.) before special collections materials are retrieved for their use.

Rare materials may be photocopied, scanned, or photographed. Some restrictions and fees apply.     

Exceptions to policies or procedures must be approved by the Library Director.

Who was Waring?           


James J. Waring, M.D. (1883-1962) was the first full-time Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Waring came to Colorado to recuperate from tuberculosis, which interrupted his medical studies at Johns Hopkins University. When he had recovered, he continued his medical education, graduating with the 1913 class of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Waring, an internist, served as head of the University's Department of Medicine from 1933-1948. He was active in the Colorado Foundation for Research in Tuberculosis, and negotiated the affiliation of the Foundation with the School of Medicine in 1949. The Foundation is now known as the Webb-Waring Institute, located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus .

Dr. Waring donated medical books from his personal collection to Denison Memorial Library, which became the basis of the Waring History of Medicine Collection. Dr. Waring's life has been chronicled in A Medical Gentleman: James J. Waring, M.D. by Patricia Paton (WZ 100 W276P 1993 Waring Collection stacks).