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The Medical History of British India collection consists of official publications varying from short reports to multi-volume histories related to disease, public health and medical research between circa 1850 to 1920. These documents form invaluable source material for the reconstruction of the history of disease and medicine in British India. Although a large section of it has an all-India scope, the collection is especially rich in documents related to Bombay and the Punjab. The Bombay plague of 1896-1899, one of the severest outbreaks, is particularly well covered.
Many of the documents focus on epidemics in specific presidencies with vivid detail that makes them treasure-trove of regional histories of disease – the narrative discusses the affect of diseases on the social fabric of small villages and towns in detail and the account is illustrated with detailed topographical maps. The extensive statistics accompanying these documents provide important data that would be valuable for regional histories.