Collections in the Otis Historical Archives with Finding Aids

The Otis Historical Archives has created finding aids for many of its collections. However, not all of our collections are represented here and the absence of a finding aid does not mean the collection is unavailable. More finding aids will be added as they are completed, and the museum continues to acquire new collections. The Guide to the Collections (PDF 1.34 MB) has the most recent listing of our holdings. Additional information may be requested via email at

Many archival collections include records with personal information. In accordance with standard practice, these records are closed for 75 years from the date of creation in order to protect the privacy of the donor or of third parties. Individual collections or records may be closed for other reasons, or subject to a longer period of restriction. Requests to see portions of restricted collections will be considered, but the decision to allow access to any portion of such a collection will be based on privacy considerations and the ability of the archives to make it available. All such decisions are at the sole discretion of the Otis Historical Archives.

Curatorial Records: includes records that ended before 1946, when the Museum became a division of the Army Institute of Pathology. With this change, the curator no longer headed an independent institution but served under the AIP director.

Museum Records: includes records that were created since, or continued after 1946. Contemporary Museum records are arranged into collections by department and then into series by individual staff members. Current Museum departments include Otis Historical Archives, Anatomical Collections, Historical Collections, Education and Public Programs, Exhibits, and the Administrative Office. Some active records in these collections are closed to researchers.

Photographic Collections: these collections consist almost exclusively of photographic images. Some are artificial collections compiled over time; others are discrete, single accessions. Additional photographs exist across collections in the Collected Material section.

Collected Material: collected material includes personal papers of doctors, nurses, and scientists; records of several organizations; medical ephemera; and a large variety of photographs. Some of the primary subjects of the collections include the Civil War, military medicine, industrial medicine, physical and occupational therapy, nursing, medical illustration, forensic medicine, pathology, and the atomic bomb. Collected material also includes collections transferred from various AFIP divisions, although official AFIP records are deposited in the National Archives. There are also a number of military collections due to the Museum's long association with the U.S. Army.

Subject Guides: these guides are designed to help researchers locate material that can be found across the collections identified above. More guides will be added to this section as they are compiled.

Curatorial Records

Museum Records

Photographic Collections

Collected Material

Subject Guides