Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Reynolds-Finley Library Remote Access Guide: Online Exhibits

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

Online Exhibits


Narrations of ENT: The Dennis G. Pappas History of Otolaryngology Exhibit

Curated by Dr. Dennis G. Pappas, Sr., this exhibit explores the history of otolaryngology through the many books and instruments he has donated to the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library and the Alabama Museum of the Health Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.This exhibit features videos of Dr. Dennis G. Pappas, Sr., narrating stories of major events in the history of otolaryngology and explaining their connection to overall medicine. Each page includes a video preview and a link to the full video, as well as images and descriptions of the items featured by Dr. Pappas and held within the collections.




Witchcraft, Women and the Healing Arts in the Early Modern Period

Through the ages, the practices that came to be associated with witchcraft provided a connection to both the natural and the supernatural forces of the universe. However, beginning in the 13th century, witches became identified as those possessed by or in allegiance with the Devil or demons. Between the late 1400s and the mid-1700s, circulating guidebooks on how to properly identify witches, as well as growing social discord, often targeted individuals who practiced the healing arts, and particularly female healers, during the well-known witch hunts and trials.

Various topics covered in this exhibit include accusations of witchcraft against midwives and other folk healers, supernatural themes of alchemy and astrology found in academic medicine of the time, as well as the possibility that ergot poisoning contributed to the mass hysteria surrounding the Salem witch trials. Early modern conceptions of witchcraft, its practices and traditions, are also addressed.




Monsters, Marvels, and Mythical Beasts

This exhibit features mythological monsters of the Classical, Germanic and Jewish peoples; supposedly natural creatures such as dragons, merfolk, animal/human hybrids and others that appear in natural history works of the medieval and early modern period; plus later Gothic literary titans such as Frankenstein, Dracula and the nefarious Mr. Hyde; and concludes with modern-day examples from the hit Harry Potter franchise. Monstrous figures continue to captivate today and remain a popular source of wonder and curiosity.




Civil War Medical Figures

This exhibit includes some of the most important medical figures from the Civil War. By understanding the challenges faced by these physicians, nurses and other medical leaders during the war, one can more fully comprehend the medicine of the era. Click on the title and then click on a name for a brief biography and description of one or more of the figure's important works held at the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library.





Medical Greats

This exhibit includes some of the most important figures in the history of medicine. Through the discoveries and innovations of these people, one can trace the advancements in medicine throughout the ages. Click on the title of the exhibit then click on a name to read a short biographical sketch of that individual. Highlighted within the sketches are one or two of the figure's major works held by the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library.



Online Exhibits & Guides to Digital Collections

William Osler Letters Collection Guide

Sir William Osler was a world-renowned physician and medical pioneer, and is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Medicine". He was one of the founding members of the Johns Hopkins Medical School, and perhaps his greatest achievement was his creation of the residency training program for physicians. His compassionate, patient-based approach to medical care shifted turn of the century medicine, and the impact of his contributions are still evident today.

The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library holds 59 handwritten letters by William Osler, to a life-long personal friend, Ned Milburn. These letters range from 1865-1919 and include details of his early and later life. Though the letters covering the early years of his medical career were lost, letters from his later life discuss medical topics such as tuberculosis and the collection reveals details of an important friendship that surely impacted his medical contributions. To view these letters, visit the William Osler Letters Collection.

This guide provides additional information on Sir William Osler's life and medical contributions, additional print resources by or about Osler within the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library, and searching and browsing tips for the digital collection.



Transactions of the Southern Surgical Association

The Southern Surgical & Gynecological Association was founded in 1887 by Birmingham brothers and surgeons, Drs. W.E.B. and J.D.S. Davis. The organization was renamed the Southern Surgical Association (SSA) in 1916. Since the association’s first annual meeting on December 4-6, 1888, the publication of annual transactions has followed. These transactions include proceedings of the meetings as well as a publication of the scientific papers read therein, with transcriptions of subsequent paper discussions.

The archival volumes of the transactions are made available under the auspices of the Southern Surgical Association, and with funding from the Joseph M. Donald Memorial Endowment of the UAB Department of Surgery to support the SSA historical collection.

Learn more about the history of the SSA, trace the development of surgical topics over more than 100 years within the transactions, and discover searching and browsing tips for the digital collection by exploring our Transactions of the Southern Surgical Association Research Guide.



Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

The Reynolds-Finley Historical Library holds seven medieval and Renaissance manuscripts dating from the mid-14th through the 16th centuries, all of which have been digitized and are now available online through the UAB Digital Collections. All of the manuscripts were given as part of the original donation of over 5,000 books from Dr. Lawrence Reynolds to found the library in 1958. With the exception of a two-volume Book of Christian Prayers in Syriac, dated 1589 (Vol. I Vol. II), the works are primarily medical and scientific tracts, reflecting the major trends in medicine and scholarship of the period, and including treatises by leading thinkers of the period such as Arnold of Villanova, Petrus Peregrinus, and al-Razi (Rhazes). The objective of this exhibit is to provide historical context to the digital collection and to further explain the processes that went into making medieval manuscripts. In-depth information regarding a few of the individual manuscripts is also available.



The Life and Letters of Florence Nightingale

This exhibit features the Reynolds-Finley Historical Library's collection of fifty handwritten letters by modern nursing pioneer, Florence Nightingale, spanning from 1853 to 1893. Purchased in 1951 from the Old Hickory bookstore in New York by Lawrence Reynolds M.D., these letters came to the university when Dr. Reynolds donated his collection of approximately 5,000 rare books and manuscripts related to the history of medicine and science to establish the Reynolds Historical Library in 1958. The letters offer a unique perspective into the life of Florence Nightingale, particularly during a period for which little information is currently known. About half of the letters concern sanitation in India, and were primarily written to T. Gillham Hewlett, Health Officer of Bombay. In the remainder, largely addressed to Mme. Julie Salis Schwabe, Nightingale discusses war relief efforts and charitable contributions for the Franco-Prussian and Austro-Hungarian wars. To facilitate research UAB Libraries, in conjunction with the UAB School of Nursing, has digitized the letters and they are now freely available through the UAB Digital Collections. The objective of this website is to highlight and provide context to the digitized letters.



Pellagra in Alabama

In the U.S. the nutritional deficiency disease pellagra, which became a scourge in the South, had its beginning and end in Alabama, being first recognized in epidemic proportions by Alabama physician Dr. George H. Searcy in 1906, and ending with Dr. Tom D. Spies' nutritional treatment clinic at Hillman Hospital in Birmingham, which operated from 1937 to 1960. In 1914, Dr. Carl A. Grote, Walker County public health officer, was the first to conduct fieldwork to determine the etiology of the disease in an actual community setting, prior to and independent of Dr. Joseph Goldberger who is rightly credited for discovering the nature of pellagra but who at Grote's writing had only studied the disease in controlled environments. This web exhibit highlights Alabama's valiant campaign against the devastating disease known as the “red death.



© UAB Libraries ι University of Alabama at Birmingham ι About Us ιContact Us ι Disclaimer