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Mission Statement

Irwin Eskind and Annette Eskind at the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library in April, 2004.
Image from EBL Special Collections

Comprising both the History of Medicine Collection and the VUMC Archives, the Eskind Biomedical Library Special Collections supports Vanderbilt University Medical Center's combined missions of patient care, education, and research through the selection, preservation and promotion of books, personal papers, publications, images, and institutional records possessing enduring historical and administrative value.

Collection Development Policy

EBL Special Collections selects, preserves, and provides access to rare publications on the history of medicine and nutrition, as well as unique, rare, and historical records and artifacts created by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, its faculty and alumni, and related individuals or agencies. Subject areas of strength and emphasis include nutrition, medical informatics, pediatrics, nursing, surgery, medical education, and the history of medicine in middle Tennessee and Vanderbilt University. Common examples of collected materials include the personal papers of VUMC faculty and alumni; rare books in the history of nutrition; artifacts; and photographs or other images of notable events, people, and places. VUMC institutional records are collected and maintained according to VUMC policy.

In order to carry out its mission, Special Collections makes careful decisions between those materials of long-term value to the community and those without. These decisions are based on a number of factors, which may include: current VUMC policy; the relevance of the materials to the VUMC community; the presence of unique informational, evidential, or symbolic value; the resources available to organize and provide access to these materials; and the importance of these materials to the historical record.

Materials targeted for selection may include:
  • institutional records with long-term value
  • rare books
  • personal papers
  • photographs
  • published historical or biographical works
  • artifacts
  • multimedia recordings
  • biographical materials
  • electronic records
Materials not targeted for selection may include:
  • institutional records lacking long-term value
  • collections largely consisting of medical records, human subject research data, or other confidential information with limited historical context or application
  • published works not directly relevant to the history of medicine, nutrition, Tennessee, or Vanderbilt University
  • artifacts with limited informational, evidential or symbolic value
  • records, artifacts, and other items unnecessarily duplicating current holdings
  • individual items in a collection that lack long-term historical, informational or evidential value
  • reprint collections

Special Collections welcomes donations from both the Vanderbilt community and the public, based on the policy detailed above. In all cases, Special Collections staff will assist prospective donors in finding permanent homes for their materials.


Although care is taken at the point of donation not to accept material that does not follow the guidelines above, there may be occasions where EBL Special Collections removes items from its collections. Generally speaking, the following kinds of items may be deaccessioned from EBL Special Collections:
  • duplicate materials of value (generally monographs or other published materials), which may be sold to raise money for the Eskind Biomedical Library
  • patient or human subject records lacking permanent historical or administrative value, which are disposed of according to VUMC policy
  • non-records (reprints, duplicates, promotional materials, blank forms, etc.)
  • damaged materials that are not usable, or which present a threat to other material in the collections
  • individual items in a collection that lack long-term historical, informational or evidential value, and which no longer conform to the collection
  • development policy

All deaccessioning takes place according to the terms of the donation documentation, if applicable. Items of historical, personal, or other value may be returned to the donor's family or transferred to a more appropriate repository.