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Pennsylvania Hospital's Historic Library, the first medical library in the United States, was begun in 1762 as a teaching and reference library for the hospital's managers, physicians and medical students. In addition to thousands of medical and scientific volumes, the library contains many books on natural history and botany. Also present are several rare incunabula, books printed before 1501 during the infancy of printing press technology.

The richness of Pennsylvania Hospital's Historic Library is complemented by the scope of our other historic collections, which include archival materials, paintings, photographs and memorabilia. Historic materials are used regularly for research and educational exhibits.

State law 50 P.S. 7111 prohibits the use of all patient mental health records.

The Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections is currently revising it's patient record access policy for all medical patient records held in the Archives. As of right now, ALL patient records are closed to the public. Our new policy will be posted here as soon as possible. We truly regret the inconvenience this causes. All non-patient related material is closed for 75 years from its creation. Certain restrictions might still apply on specific records.

Attention Researchers and Visitors:
A new visitor management system is in effect as of October 1, 2008. All visitors will be required to check in at the welcome desk upon arrival and receive a visitor badge. You will be required to enter the Hospital via the main entrance on 8th Street (between Spruce and Pine streets).


Preserving the hospital's historic artifacts and memorials, and ensuring access to them for both scholars and the public, has always been an important subsidiary mission of Pennsylvania Hospital. Support for the Historic Collections Fund at Pennsylvania Hospital allows us to actively collect, organize, catalog, and promote the historical legacy of our nation's first hospital while safeguarding its physical security and integrity.

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