Welch made several trips to Europe on book-buying missions for the Welch
Library and the Institute of the History of Medicine. In a letter from Naples he wrote, "I
am in correspondence with half a dozen book dealers to whom I have sent lists of
desiderata. It is a great game and quite fascinating."
Searching not only for rare books but also for useful ones he envisioned a
working library for scholars. He chided his bibliophile friends, "You fellows
want first editions and I prefer last editions."
B. H. Blackwell, Ltd. in Oxford, was an important source for Welch on his
book-buying trips. In his diary of 1928 he notes, "I am in constant danger of
duplicating orders." This list of books from
Blackwell's includes a brief note about a partially lost list from a larger order
placed on May 26, 1928, and reveals some of the pressures of his book-buying tasks.
B. H. Blackwell, Ltd. letterhead.
In his diary Welch disclosed his book collecting strategy for the
Institute of the History of Medicine, "I have included books, which may seem
remotely related to the subject [of medical history] but my idea is that there should be
at least something in the library relating to nearly all branches of history... I hope the
result will be the foundation of a good working, reference library for an institute of
medical history, for which additional endowment will be needed. A
mere"Lehrstuhl" of medical history is like a chair of anatomy, physiology,
pathology, etc. - without laboratory, assistants, staff and budget."
Photo of a pen-and-ink sketch with note from Arnold C. Klebs, sent as a
Christmas card to William G. MacCallum, undated.
"Dear MacCallum, Here Dr. Welch worked daily for several hours. He now knows my
library much better than I do." Arnold C. Klebs