Faculty Couple Donate Collection of Rare and Historical Books to Medical Library

Alumni Medical Library Director Mary Blanchard, John Noble, Ewa Kuligowska-Noble, and Dean Karen Antman.
Alumni Medical Library Director Mary Blanchard, John Noble, Ewa Kuligowska-Noble, and Dean Karen Antman.

At a ceremony to honor John Noble, MD, BUSM professor of general internal medicine and  Ewa Kuligowska-Noble, MD, BUSM professor of radiology, they stand in front of the bookcase that houses the collection of rare books assembled by Noble and donated by the couple to the BUSM Alumni Library.

“We are here today to celebrate two leadership careers at Boston University in radiology and medicine,” said Dean Karen Antman, MD. “We thank them for making this collection of rare and important titles available to our medical and graduate students to read from the original texts, realizing their historical context.”

The gift is a collection of unique and historical medical books from the Noble’s personal medical library. John Noble carefully selected these books during 35 years of service at BUSM. The collection includes rare Vesalius volumes, many works by and about William Osler, books on infectious diseases such as smallpox from the 1700s, books published as early as the 1500s, and textbooks edited by John Noble himself.

“The smartest thing we ever did was to come to Boston University, working with such a variety of people and caring for some of the most difficult patients,” said John Noble. “It has been a wonderful place to spend our lives. We are pleased to have this collection here in the Alumni Medical Library to give present and future generations the opportunity to see things from perspectives that are no longer easy to attain.”

It is important to John Noble that the books be placed in a highly visible location in the library, rather than stored in a locked archives room where they would not be seen and enjoyed.  Both he and his wife have expressed hope that their donation might inspire other physicians or faculty to donate additional materials, thus potentially helping to build an even more robust collection of historical medical texts.

“Building such an inspiring collection requires knowledge, passion and commitment,” said Mary Blanchard, director of the Alumni Medical Library. “This valuable collection sets a foundation and brings perspective to the entire BU medical campus community. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Noble and Dr. Kuligowska-Noble.”