News Release

August 25, 2009

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Hartford Medical Society to Introduce ‘New’ Library

Grand Opening at New Location, UConn Health Center, Sept. 10

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The address is new, but some of the artifacts go back centuries.

An open house Thursday, Sept. 10, will formally unveil the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library at its new location, at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The collection includes medical journals from their first volumes, manuscripts going back to the 17th century, and artifacts such as old vial cases and medicine chests, instruments and surgical tools, and a physician’s saddlebag from an era when doctors made house calls on horseback.

“The collection adds gravitas to our library for the UConn Health Center’s relatively young schools of medicine and dental medicine,” says Evelyn Morgen, director of the Health Center’s Lyman Maynard Stowe Library. “It’s also fascinating to browse these resources and discover some object or pamphlet that was once owned or written by such well-known people as Horace Wells or Samuel Clemens. We look forward to showing you some of these items and helping you discover your own favorites.”

Wells, a dentist in Hartford in the mid-1800s, is credited with being the first to use nitrous oxide as a surgical anesthetic. A copy of his daybook and literature on the history of anesthesia are also part of the collection.

The open house starts at 3 p.m. in front of the Stowe Library with tours and a scavenger hunt. At 4 p.m. in the Low Learning Center, Lynn Laskowski and Francis Coan from Tunxis Community College present “Mark Twain and the ‘Majestic Literary Fossil,’” the story of a particular set of medicinal dictionaries printed in 1743. Refreshments will be served.

The Hartford Medical Society, established in 1846, had been located on Scarborough Street in Hartford’s west end since 1956. It is now occupies about 2,500 square feet of space from the Health Center. The HMS Library is open weekdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

To get to the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library: Entering the UConn Health Center campus from Route 4, at the first stop sign, continue straight. Bear left at the fork and continue up the hill. The main entrance is straight past the next stop sign. Visitor parking is available on the other side of the gate. Enter through the main entrance and follow signs for the HMS Library. Directions to the UConn Health Center are available at

Caption: An 18th-century medicinal dictionary confiscated by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War ended up in Mark Twain’s hands and later as part of the Hartford Medical Society’s collection of artifacts. It will be the subject of a presentation Sept. 10 as part of the grand opening of the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library’s new home, at the UConn Health Center.

Caption: Librarian Jenny Miglus replaces a book at the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library, now located at the UConn Health Center. The Society and the Health Center are holding a grand opening Sept. 10.

Caption: A U.S. Army surgeon’s kit used during the Revolutionary War is among the medical artifacts on display at the UConn Health Center, which now houses the Hartford Medical Society Historical Library. A grand opening at the museum’s new location will be held Sept. 10.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

Note: News professionals are invited to visit the UConn Health Today news page ( for regularly updated news and feature stories, photos and media stories. News releases are archived at UConn Health news and information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.