Waring Historical Library

1791 –

A department of the main library of the Medical University of South Carolina, the Waring Historical Library is the primary medical history collection in South Carolina. The nucleus of the Waring collections is the library of the Medical Society of South Carolina, which contains books, periodicals, artifacts, manuscripts, and medical art. The Medical Society’s library was created in 1791 to allow physicians to share current medical literature. In 1813 the book committee of the Medical Society was instructed to purchase “all periodical publications now publishing in the U. States, which in their opinion are of value.” Many medical classics were added through the years, and the library prospered. However, between 1860 and 1949 the library was seriously neglected until Joseph I. Waring, M.D., became librarian of the Medical Society of South Carolina. His interest resulted in the Medical Society library moving to the Medical College of South Carolina in 1964. The collections are housed in a building that was once the library of Porter Military Academy and was acquired by the Medical College in 1966. In 1969 the library was named for Dr. Waring. Since then, its collections have expanded to include twelve thousand books, physicians’ papers, biographical files on South Carolina physicians, theses of Medical College students from 1825 to 1860, minutes of the Board of Trustees (1847–1978) and the faculty, minutes of the Medical Society of South Carolina (1789–1986), records of the trustees of the Shirras Dispensary (1813–1931) and Roper Hospital (1856–1868), medical caricatures, oral histories, photographs, and archival materials related to the Medical University of South Carolina. The Waring Library Society is a “Friends of the Library” group founded in 1977 to honor Dr. Waring and perpetuate the library and interest in the history of the health sciences.


Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Waring Historical Library
  • Coverage 1791 –
  • Author
  • Keywords department of the main library of the Medical University of South Carolina, Waring Library Society
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date April 22, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 26, 2022
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