The collector of medical books, first editions, rare manuscripts, or a series of letters has several ways of establishing contact with society, or he can avoid the public altogether. He can put his treasures up for auction and sell them, thus letting them go back into circulation. He can be a miser who lets no one but himself look at them. He can keep them as his private, personal collection but open it to anyone with a legitimate interest, available to scholars to use as they may wish and deserve. Finally, his collection can become enshrined as a constituent part, but a separate organ, within a medical library, available to all who care to use it.
Many of the great medical libraries of the world have had as a nucleus one or more such collections. They formed a nodal point for development. The Osler Library at McGill, the Clendenning Library