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Bibliophilic Interests

and Book-buying Missions


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.

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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.

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"Dear MacCallum, Here Dr. Welch worked daily for several hours. He now knows my library much better than I do." Arnold C. Klebs