The Hagströmer Library collections

The Hagströmer Library holds more than 40,000 rare and important books in medicine, anatomy, pharmacy, natural history, biology, chemistry and other topics related to medicine. Most of the books were printed before 1860 but the library also keeps extensive collections of works from later periods.

Part of bookshelf with books from the Hagstromer Library.
The collection of rare books at the Hagtstromer Library is unique in Sweden. Photo: Carrie Greenwood

Visit the Hagströmer Library - online and on site!

Hagströmer Library's catalogue online. 

From Autumn 2020, our catalogue is available via the Hagströmer Library's website, where you will also find our virtual book museum


Digital tours of the Hagströmer Library 

Library tours via video link. From Autumn 2020, we offer library tours via video link (zoom or teams). The price for this is the same as for regular viewings.

All bookings are made via:


Hagstromer Library on Youtube. Go to: and click on the playlist Karolinska Institutet Medical History and Heritage. Or search for ‘Hagströmer Library’ on Youtube.


Love it! It's like a Dogma movie.

Participant of tour for the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, October 5, 2020.

Library tours and viewings in Tingshuset

Hagstromer Library is closed for all visitors until spring 2021. We accept preliminary bookings. Contact us for more information.


Scholars and researchers are welcome to visit the Hagströmer Library and work with our collections on site. The library has a limited number of study places that can be disposed of by agreement. Contact us for more information. Welcome to the Hagströmer Library!

To the Hagströmer Library external website

Anatomic illustration from the 17th century, brown crayon.
Muscle maninkin, Tabulae Anatomicae, by Pietro da Berrettini (1596-1669). Pietro’s anatomic atlas was never published during his lifetime. These forgotten copperplates were discovered over one hundred years later and published in 1741 with a new edition in 1788. From the Hagstromer Library collegions: Photo: Hagströmerbiblioteket

The book collection

Many of the books in the Hagströmer Library collections had an epoch-making significance in the history of medicine and science. Andreas Vesalius’ The Humani Corporis Fabrica, William Harvey’s, De Motu Cordis and Charles Darwin’s, Origin of Species are only a few examples of the library’s treasures. The main collection consists of works from the library of Karolinska Institutet (KIB) and the library of the Swedish Medical Association (Svenska Läkaresällskapet). Smaller collections come from the Pharmaceutical Association (Apotekarsocieteten), the Swedish Dentist Association (Tandläkaresällskapet) and the Medical History Museum Eugenia. The library also includes Carl Benedick's collection of books on alchemy and older chemistry and extensive special collections of books by and about prominent Swedish scientists such as Carl von Linné, Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Jöns Jacob Berzelius.

Manuscript Collections

Karolinska Institutets manuscript collection originated in the archives of Collegium Medicum, of which parts were incorporated into KI's library by A. J. Hagströmer. The collection includes documents linked to the Collegium Medicum and to the Association of Surgeons (Barberarskrået / Kirurgiska Societeten) , Abraham Bäck's archives, and A. J. Hagströmers own extensive manuscript collection. The Hagströmer Library also holds the Swedish Medical Society's manuscript collection and several deposited or donated smaller collections of older and newer material. The main parts of the manuscript collections originate from the 18th and 19th centuries.


The Hagströmer Library has a small number of Swedish and foreign journals, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Royal Swedish Academy’s periodicals and Hygiea . We also hold a smaller number of journals on the history of medicine and science. However, most of the journals available at KI are best accessed through KIB. For those who are looking for newer journal articles, we recommend that you primarily turn to KIB's journal and article databases.

Images, photographs and artefacts

The Hagströmer library's main collection of medical and scientific illustrations can be found in our books, which contain an abundance of images from the 15th century onwards. The anatomical, botanical and zoological illustrated works are particularly detailed and colourful and have been the focus of several exhibitions. In addition, the library keeps a number of specific image- and photo collections on various topics. The library also has an extensive collection of portraits of Swedish doctors (17th century to the 20th century). Mention may also be made of the Wessler collection, which in addition to books and objects also contains a large collection of prints linked to the practise of dentistry.

Emil von Behring, Allgemeine Therapie der Infektionskrankheiten.
Emil von Behring, Nobel Prize laureate 1901. Photo: Johanna Sjöblom

Karolinska Institutet's Nobel Collections

The core of the collections is the Medical Nobel Assembly’s book collection, which was previously available at KIB. It mainly covers scientific publications of Nobel laureates in medicine or physiology as well as chemistry. In addition, the collection includes printed texts, images, manuscripts and objects related to the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology and to international top research at KI.

The History of Karolinska Institutet

The Hagströmer library preserves KIB's older collection of printed documentation about and from KI, including older course catalogues, staff lists, small print and messages from management and institutions. However, the main responsibility for this type of material, as well as collecting and preserving newer material, lies with KI's Archival Unit. The Hagströmer Library holds a large collection of portraits, caricatures and photos of employees, and of course texts (monographs, articles and some manuscripts) by many KI researchers. Mention may be made in particular of our special print collections set up by author names, which provide immediate access to the scientific production of individual researchers or, where appropriate, entire scientific fields for specific periods of time. Photo albums from conferences and anniversaries, photographs that document KI as a physical environment, and a small number of maps and drawings that document its building history are also available at the Hagströmer library. Printed works about KI's history are available in the reference library.

Reference library

The Hagströmer Library has an extensive reference library on the history of medicine and science and adjoining subjects, with a focus on the period before about 1830. The reference library also contains certain English and Swedish journals on the history of science and medicine.