Archival material relating to the health professions spans the 14th-21st century, and mainly deals with individuals and private organisations active during the 19th century and 20th century. Types of material in the Archives and Manuscripts Collection include:
- accounts of midwifery from the 17th-18th century
- papers of individual nurses and midwives
- records of professional organisations.
Looking for National Health Service records? The Wellcome Library does not hold any records from NHS hospitals; please see our guide to Finding medical records elsewhere for more information about hospital records.
The Royal College of Nursing also has its own archive, and the archives of the Royal College of Midwives are now held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The records of the Royal British Nurses’ Association are held at King’s College London.
Read more about featured collections
International Confederation of Midwives
The Confederation was founded 1919 as the International Federation of Midwives' Unions/Organisations. It is international in scope, with ties to the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. The extensive archive includes material from the 1889-2001. Full catalogue description of the archive, including a brief history.
Happy 156th birthday, Dame Rosalind
Archivist Lesley Hall disusses the life of Dame Rosalind Paget, whose role in the reform of nursing and midwifery, and the improvement in the status of nurses and midwives in the 19th century is often overshadowed by that of her contemporary, Florence Nightingale. From the Wellcome Library blog.
Florence Nightingale digitisation
Rada Vlatkovic from the Library's Digitisation Team unveils a digitised album of letters, press cuttings and drawings from our Florence Nightingale papers. From the Wellcome Library blog.
Health Visitors Association papers
The archive covers the various incarnations of the Association since 1896 and the changing role of members, from sanitary inspectors to health visitors. Full catalogue description of the archive.
Archives sources guide
Our archivists have compiled an extensive list of material relating to health professions. This in-depth sources guide provides access to the detailed information held in the Archives and Manuscripts catalogue. From here you may also request material from closed stores for viewing in the Library.
Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting
How to order material
All of the items in the Library's Archives and Manuscripts Collection must be requested from the closed stores for viewing in the Rare Materials Room. Find out more about request and delivery services.
To contact the Collections team, email email@example.com or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.