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Reynolds-Finley Library Remote Access Guide: Home

A guide to the resources and services from the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library that are available remotely.

Plague Doctor's Mask

Shown here is the type of mask worn by doctor's treating bubonic plague patients in 17th century Europe, from Thomas Bartholin's Historiarum anatomicarum & medicarum rariorum... (1661).

Proposed Leper Colony in Siberia

Historically, fear of contagion led to the social ostracism of those suffering from leprosy around the world. In 1890-1891 British nurse Kate Marsden made the arduous journey to secluded Siberian leper settlements where she provided relief to sufferers. With the help of doctors in St. Petersburg, she created this plan for a leper colony designed to improve their health and living conditions. Image from: Kate Marsden's On sledge and horseback to outcast Siberian lepers (1892).

Introduction to Remote Access for Reynolds-Finley

While the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library is currently closed in accordance with the limited business operations policy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham to discourage the spread of COVID-19, it is important that our users are aware that we can still be reached by email and will respond to your inquiries in the best virtual manner possible. See our page on research and instruction services for more on how we can assist with online classes and research projects during this time.

Also, we are working behind the scenes to bring more of the collection to you online by increasing our digital presence. This guide provides information on the Reynolds-Finley materials which have already been scanned and are available on the UAB Digital Collections, as well as exhibit content available online through our webpage and Research Guides. Check back to these pages periodically as we continue to develop more digital resources from the Reynolds-Finley collection.

As a collection focusing on the history of medicine and the health sciences, we have abundant documentation of the impact of infectious diseases in history and the valiant public health, preventive and treatment efforts of health care professionals. We are working to bring more of the historical context of disease to our online content during the current pandemic. The relevant images on the sides of this page are a sampling of more to come.


Inquiries concerning the collections and services of the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library can be directed in email to our Curator, Peggy Balch (, or Library Assistant, Anna Kaetz (

Birmingham Cholera Epidemic in 1873


Peggy Balch's picture
Peggy Balch
Reynolds-Finley Historical Library
Lister Hill Library, Room 301
(205) 934-4475

Early Vaccination Technique

In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered the benefits of inoculation with cowpox for the prevention of smallpox. The process came to be known as "vaccination", and it still provides us with the hope of conquering coronavirus today. Shown here is the early method of administration by pricking the skin to insert the vaccine, from Francois Chaussier’s Orígen y descubrimiento de la vaccine (1801).

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