Lister Collection

Lister Collection

A small collection of ca. 70 books from the library of the surgeon Sir Joseph Lister (1827-1912), famous for his pioneering work in antiseptic surgery.

Born in Essex, Lister was Professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow from 1860-1869. From 1861, he was also a visiting surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary - it was during this period that he began experimenting with the use of carbolic acid as a barrier against infection in cases of compound fractures.

Lister later worked at the University of Edinburgh and King's College, London. He accumulated a large library of ca. 2,500 books in his lifetime. The bulk of these were given to the Medical Society of London following his death in 1912. The residue (about 500 items) were sold by Sotheran and Co. in 1913. This collection is a small number of books purchased for the library of Glasgow Royal Infirmary from the Sotheran sale. These books were transferred from the Royal Infirmary to the University of Glasgow's Special Collections in 2012. 

The collection is a mix of medical and other works, including religious and literary texts. Many of them are bookplated as having come from the Sotheran sale. A small number include Lister's autograph and presentation inscriptions from friends and admirers of his work. Some also evidently belonged to members of Lister's family. A small number of related volumes accompany the collection.

How to find material in Lister collection