The Medical and Chirurgical Society of London was founded on 22nd May 1805 with the aim of bringing together physicians and surgeons in order to further scientific, professional and social communication. This body eventually became the Royal Society of Medicine.
Between 1907 and 1909 seventeen specialist societies joined who brought with them their varied collections including administrative archives, rare books, art, silverware and medical equipment. Today the Royal Society of Medicine has 60 Sections ranging from Cardiology to the History of Medicine and to Psychiatry.
Integral to the functioning of the Society was the formation of a library which is now one of the largest postgraduate biomedical collections in Europe, totalling 600,000 volumes, including around 45,000 rare books and manuscripts. Highlights of the collection include the Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus by William Harvey published in 1628.
Tours of the RSM and library exhibitions are open to the public and are free.