Name and location of repository
Level of description
D. H. Rankin Medical Artifacts Collection
- 1800-2000 (Creation)
18 cubic feet (24 boxes)
Name of creator
Family physician Douglas H. Rankin was born August 23, 1949.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
The D.H. Rankin Medical Artifacts Collection was donated by Dr. Rankin, a family physician in Austin, Texas. Dr. Rankin had a personal interest in hearing related devices and early twentieth century quack medical devices. Dr. Rankin acquired artifacts from online auction sites, auction houses, and catalogs. Receipts and sale information for some items are included in the control folder.
Highlights of the collection include bloodletting tools, vibratory quack medical devices, drug bottles with original medicines, and alcohol prescriptions during the United States prohibition era.
The collections of materials are dated from 1700 through 1950. The bulk of materials are from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. The materials are predominantly from the United States with a few outliers from Great Britain, China, Mexico, and Denmark.
The collection totals 36 cubic feet and 20 boxes. Many objects are oversized and thus not stored in any box. The majorities of artifacts are stored in their original boxes and complete with promotional material where applicable. The condition of objects are, on average, very good. Damage is usually only present on the original boxes. Drugs and liquids have been saved and are stored separately in water tight bags. Care should be taken when unpacking boxes and unwrapping items as some items are sharp and/or have mechanical blades.
Subjects: medical quackery, early medicine, medical realia, rare books
System of arrangement
The collection is arranged within five series with the bulk items belonging to Series I: Deaf Treatments and Series II: Medical Devices. When the collection was obtained an inventory list was provided with an organizational schema present. Dr. Rankin attributed a letter-number classification system to the bulk of the items in the collection. This classification system has been maintained and noted in the detailed description of contents. Some items may have been reorganized though no new letter-numbers assigned.
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Materials are in good condition.
Conditions governing reproduction
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Finding aid is available.
Uploaded finding aid
Acquisition and appraisal elements
The donated materials also included a number of rare books that been separated from the collection and will be added, if deemed appropriate, to the McGovern Rare Books Library.
Immediate source of acquisition
Deed of gift signed by Doug H. Rankin, M.D. 11/6/2012
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
No accruals are expected.
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
- Citation: D. H. Rankin Medical Artifacts Collection; MS 160; John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library. Please cite the box and folder numbers where appropriate.
- Processing information: A large number of items are stored open on the shelves. Some boxes contain sharp objects, liquids, and medication. All electric items are believed to work unless otherwise stated. Caution when handling boxes and/or items. Many items have been located and inventoried in the Garment Artifacts and Framed (GAF) section. Each assigned a GAF ID number.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Processed by Kate Wilson, March 28, 2013.
Place access points
Name access points
- Rankin, Douglas H. (Subject)