About us

Our mission

The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library is the core of Karolinska Institutet´s Unit for Medical History and Heritage, which promotes public and scholarly understanding of the history of health, medicine and science. Through publications, exhibitions, lectures, and demonstrations we hope to spread the interest for the history of medicine and old books to students, teachers and researchers of the Karolinska Institutet and to all interested in our cultural heritage.

About the library

The Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library was established in 1997 in order to take care of the collections of old and rare books that since the early 19th century were kept by the Swedish Society of Medicine, founded in 1807, and the Karolinska Institutet (KI), founded in 1810. The oldest and most valuable parts derive from the Old Collegium Medicum (1663-1812), whose library and manuscript collection were taken over by KI in 1816. Practically all the books derive from donations and gifts from some of the most distinguished Swedish physicians of the 18th and 19th centuries. Since its establishment our library has been enriched by new purchases as well as donations and deposits, major ones including the old and rare books collections from the Swedish Pharmaceutical Society, the Swedish Society of Dentists, and Carl Benedicks.

About the collection

The library holds around 40 000 rare and important books, the majority printed before 1860, the oldest printed during the incunabula period before 1501, as well as a manuscript collection. The majority of the manuscripts derive from the old Collegium Medicum consisting of correspondence and lecture notes written down by pupils of renowned professors including Linnaeus. In addition we also have a useful reference library with over 4000 items.

Anders Johan Hagströmer

When the Swedish Society of Medicine and the Karolinska Institutet decided to gather their old, rare and important collections of books and manuscripts under one roof in a special medico-historical library, they were proud to name this new institution after one of their most prominent early personages, Anders Johan Hagströmer (1753-1830), as a mark of his generous donations.
The decades of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century represented a turning point in Swedish public administration, the medical profession included. After years marked by war and political disarray in the domestic arena, as well as turmoil in foreign policy, the country entered a calmer phase. It was during this period that the foundations were laid for the country's current public administration and new institutions were established.

A number of physicians took an active role in this development by building up an effective health care system and an educational system that responded to the needs of the time through the establishment of the Royal Caroline Medico-Chirurgical Institute (Karolinska Institutet).

Anders Johan Hagström, ennobled Hagströmer in 1812, was a central figure of this period. His short autobiography with its additional supplements (the original manuscripts are preserved in the Hagströmer Library), and in an extensive correspondence (as well as in the portraits of contemporary biographers) describe how this emerged.

Provenances and short biographies

List of provenances, donators, early owners of books as well as some authors and other persons. By a click on the name you will find a short biography and when available accompanied by a portrait from our portrait collection:
  • ACREL olof von (1717-1806)
  • ALMQVIST pehr anders (1775-1817)
  • BERGH anton (1830-1890)
  • BLOM carl magnus (1737-1815)
  • BöTTIGER gustaf (1817-1887)
  • CARLANDER christopher (1778-1848)
  • CEDERHIELM germund carl (1717-1789)
  • CEDERSCHIöLD pehr gustaf (1782-1848)
  • ENGELHARDT carl diedrich (1722-1812)
  • GAHN henric (1747-1816)
  • HAMMER christian (1818-1905)
  • HUSS magnus (1807-1890)
  • LEVERTIN jacob (1810-1887)
  • LILJEWALCH petter olof (1807-1877)
  • LINDESTOLPE johan (1676-1723)
  • LINDHULT johan (1718-1770)
  • NORDENSON erik (1847-1919)
  • RETZIUS anders (1796-1860)
  • RETZIUS magnus (1795-1871)
  • RETZIUS gustaf (1842-1919)
  • ROSéN VON ROSENSTEIN nils (1706-1773)
  • ROSENHANE schering (1609-1663)
  • RöNNOW casten (1700-1787)
  • SACKLéN johan fredrik (1763-1851)
  • SALBERG johan (1741-1810)
  • SANDAHL carl (1818-1889)
  • SANTESSON carl (1819-1886)
  • SCHULTZ VON SCHULZENHEIM david (1732-1823)
  • SCHüTZERCRANTZ herman (1713-1802)
  • SKRAGGE samuel (1660-1718)
  • SONDéN carl m ()
  • STRANDBERG zacharias (1712-1792)
  • TILLAEUS pehr cornelius (1747-1827)
  • WALLNER samuel (1778-1865)
  • WIDMARK johan (1850-1909)
  • WISING per johan (1842-1912)
  • WITTHOFF sven anders (1778-1806)
  • ÖDMANSSON Ernst (1831-1910)