Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Human and Medical Genetics historical library (20th C.)

The Human and Medical Genetics historical library is an international historical collection of published books relevant to human and medical genetics, both as a medical science and in its medical applications. The collection was established in 2003 by Prof. Peter Harper with the support of Cardiff University and the Wellcome Trust, and it mainly consists of donations of books by individuals and institutions across Britain. The collection covers all aspects of human and medical genetics, providing a resource that contributes to the documentation of the historical foundations of human and medical genetics and the development of the field. Particular strengths of the collection are The Treasury of Human Inheritance (1909-1958, an extensive series of documentations on human genetic disorders), monographs from the Tage Kemp Institute of Human Genetics in Copenhagen, and reports from the Moscow Medical Genetics Institute (1933-1936).

Date range: 20th century, plus some books from the 19th century.

Significance: Of international significance.

Size: C. 4,000 printed books.

Languages: Mainly English (but also German, French, Italian etc.).

Keywords: Genetics, medicine, medical genetics, human genetics, history of medicine, history of genetics, biochemical genetics, DNA, genetic diseases.

Notes: Journals, reprints and personal archival records are not included in the collection. Associated with the collection is a set of archive audio interviews conducted by Prof. Harper with nearly 80 eminent geneticists who have made an impact in their field. Some sample interview summaries are on the Genetics and Medicine Historical Network website.