P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

Interior photograph of the Nixon Library


Monday-Friday Saturday Sunday
8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Closed

There is no charge to view the collections. If you have specific research needs, please call or e-mail to make an appointment, as some materials are located remotely.

Address & Contact Information

7703 Floyd Curl Dr.
San Antonio TX, 78248
5th floor, Briscoe Library
(210) 567-2400

The Special Collections of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

San Antonio physician and historian Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon lent his name to what is now a treasure-trove of antiquarian texts, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Ophthalmology, surgery, and anatomy are particular strengths of the Nixon Library. Also contained within the Special Collections are classic European and early American first editions, such as Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing and Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. A number of magnificent anatomical atlases feature illustrations that qualify as works of art in their own right.

Photograph of Dr Charleen Moore and two students during the 2007 elective History of Anatomy

Originally donated to the Health Science Center in the early 1970s by the Bexar County Medical Society, the superb core collection has expanded to contain close to 6000 volumes of treasured medical texts, including important works by Vesalius (De Humani Corporis Fabrica – 1543), Albinus (Tables of the Skeleton and Muscles of the Human Body – 1749), Celsus (De Medicina – 1481), Avicenna (The Canon of Medicine – 1486), Burton (Anatomy of Melancholy – 1632), and Hooke (The Micrographia – 1667).

Policies for the Use of Materials in the Special Collections

The library regularly features holdings in the Treasures of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Blog

Tours of the Nixon Library, including viewings of rare books within subject areas, can be arranged by contacting Lisa Matye Finnie, Special Collections Librarian, at (210) 567-2406 or finnie@uthscsa.edu.

Visit the Digital Archive

Selected materials from the Nixon Library may also be viewed online in the UTHSC Digital Archive / History of Medicine Collection and the Portal to Texas History. The Digital Archive contains a set of collections that are historically unique and significant.

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

The Nixon Library has an active Friends group that meets regularly for lectures and annually for a dinner. Membership is open to all. For more information, visit the Friends page.

Popular Books on the History of Medicine

The Friends of the P.I. Nixon Library have purchased a collection of popular books on the history of medicine. The books highlight significant periods and events in medical history and are located in the library’s general collection. To view a complete list of titles and locations click here.

Library ExhibitsIllustration of a man using a dog to pull out a mandrake

Exhibits on medical historical topics are researched and mounted for the Health Science Center by various library staff. The Library also sometimes mounts exhibits from sources outside the Health Science Center. Contact Jonquil Feldman, Director of Briscoe Library and Outreach Services, at feldman@uthscsa.edu or (210) 567-2430 if you have an exhibit you would like displayed in the library.

University Archives and Local History Materials

Bexar County and South Texas have a rich medical heritage. The University Archives houses historical records of the University and the development of medicine in Bexar County and South Texas. The Archives provides a reference service for the Health Science Center community and a repository for the preservation of historically important University records.

You can find detailed information about many of our archival collections at Texas Archival Resources Online.

Included in the collection are:

  • University publications
  • Correspondence of key officials
  • Minutes
  • Student yearbooks
  • Papers of early San Antonio physicians

The Special Collections staff actively seek to acquire materials related to the history of medicine, including:

  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs of area hospitals and health practitioners
  • Account books of local physicians
  • Records of local medical organizations

Persons owning such materials are encouraged to donate them so that they may be preserved and made available for research. Materials that do not seem valuable today may provide an important historical insight in the future.

For more information about the Archives or to make an appointment to view archival materials, contact Mellisa DeThorne, Special Collections Assistant, at 210-567-2470 or dethorne@uthscsa.edu.