Lister Library Collection

We have recently catalogued a small collection of some seventy books from the library of the surgeon Sir Joseph Lister (1827-1912), famous for his pioneering work in antiseptic surgery.


Lister accumulated a large library of ca. 2,500 books in his lifetime. The bulk of these were given to the Medical Society of London following his death in 1912. The residue (about 500 items) were sold by Sotheran and Co. in 1913. Our collection is a small number of books purchased for the library of Glasgow Royal Infirmary from the Sotheran sale. These books were transferred from the Royal Infirmary to the University of Glasgow’s Special Collections in 2012.


The collection is an interesting mix of medical and other works, including religious and literary texts. Many of them are bookplated as having come from the Sotheran sale. A small number include Lister’s autograph and presentation inscriptions or tipped in letters from friends and admirers of his work. Some also evidently belonged to members of Lister’s family. A small number of related volumes accompany the collection.


You can browse through a list of titles from the collection using our rare books search. They are all now available for consultation in the University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections Reading Room on Level 12 of the Library.


Categories: Archives and Special Collections

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