Our Historical Collection contains around 3,000 books and journals published before 1900. They cover all aspects of the art and science of veterinary medicine and other works of general interest relating to animal health and country matters.
Most of the collection was given to the Library by eminent members of the veterinary profession including around 600 items given by George Fleming in 1900 and Henry Gray’s collection of lavishly illustrated books on birds.
Highlights of the Collection include
- Our earliest work by Cato, Varro, Columella & Palladius’ Libri de re rustica, published in Venice by the Aldine Press in 1514.
- The earliest work of purely veterinary interest Vegetius’ Artis veterinariae, sive mulomedicinae libri quatuor, published in Basle in 1528.
- Two copies of the first significant book on the management and treatment of horses. Thomas Blundeville’s The fower chiefyst offices belonging to horsemanshippe, that is to saye, he office of the Breeder, of the Rider, of the Keper, and of the Ferrer.
- A scarce copy, complete with the original frontispiece wood engraving, of Gervase Markham's Hungers prevention, or the whole art of fowling by water and land from 1655.
- Fourteen copies of Markham’s best known work Markham's Maister-peece ranging in date from 1610-1734, several containing the original folding plate.
- Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal locomotion: an electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movements; 1872-1885.
- Multiple editions of works by popular authors of the 18th and 19th centuries such as John Bartlet, Henry Bracken, Bracy Clark, Francis Clater, William Gibson, William Percivall, William Taplin, and James White which enable researchers to trace the changing trends within the veterinary field.
To learn more about the Historical Collection in the words of Norman Comben, the leading authority of early veterinary literature and Honorary Advisor to the Collection, read Preserving the Profession's Past, Veterinary Times January 12, 2009.
If you would like to use this nationally important resource please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7202 0752 to arrange an appointment.
We continue to welcome donations that will add to the value of the Collection. If you wish to enquire about donating historical material, please contact us at email@example.com
RCVS Vet History
In 2015, we embarked on a five year project to catalogue and digitise priority documents from the historic collection, and make this unique resource widely available online, not just to the veterinary profession, but to the public as well.
You can now access descriptions of archive material via the Archive Catalogue, and view highlights from the archive and library collections via the Digital Collections website. More content is being frequently added to both sites, so to keep up to date, please follow our Historical Collections blog or our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
This project is supported by the Alborada Trust, Vets4Pets & Companion Care.