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Quarterly Bulletin of the Northwestern University Medical School Available Online


By: Ramune K. Kubilius, Collection Development/Special Projects Librarian

The Galter Health Sciences Library is pleased to announce the availability of the digitized Quarterly Bulletin of the Northwestern University Medical School in PubMed Central (PMC), made possible by an Illinois State Library “Digital Imaging” grant.

The Quarterly Bulletin / Northwestern University Medical School, known by variant titles, and for a short while, as Bulletin of the Northwestern University Medical School, was first published in June 1899. Publication was suspended from May 1912 through Spring 1940. The journal ceased publication altogether with volume 36, number 4 (Winter 1962).

Perusal of the journal’s issues provides insights into medical practice and medical advances (in scientific articles), a view of medical publishing  (in book reviews and lists of recent publications), and news as well as articles specific to Northwestern University’s medical school (faculty hires, retirements, tributes, and for a time, a supplement listing graduates). Medical school and University authors were the predominant contributors, though submissions were also accepted from alumni.  Readership, however, often extended beyond the university and subscriptions were available. Some articles continued to provide foundations for later research conducted well after the Quarterly Bulletin ceased publication. For example, the reference list of a 1999 Journal of Anatomy [1] article includes a 1956 Quarterly Bulletin article [2].

Quarterly Bulletin articles are interesting for the historical snapshots they provide about the medical school. One series of articles encapsulates the histories of various medical school departments (e.g. surgery, dermatology). Another noteworthy series, “Historical notes on the Twelfth General Hospital (U.S.),” highlights the contributions of Northwestern University’s medical school in providing medical support during World War II in northern Africa and Italy.

The chapter on “The Library and Publications” in Leslie B. Arey’s Northwestern University Medical School, 1859-1979 offers interesting insights into why medical school administration undertook publication of a scientific journal, its “entombment” for 27 years, and its re-establishment in Spring 1940 at the instigation of then Medical School Dean Irving S. Cutter. In his editorial, the Dean outlined the plan for formalized organization of content, and acknowledged the support and encouragement of medical alumni [3]. In each issue, it was clearly stated that the Quarterly Bulletin was “published by Northwestern University Medical School in the interest of the advancement of medical science” and as Dean Cutter wrote in his editorial, contents were to consist essentially of “original scientific articles not published elsewhere.” Each quarter, a short section was to be devoted to medical history, “for which the source of material will be the valuable collection of the Archibald Church Library” (the predecessor title of the Galter Health Sciences Library). The high publication standards during this second period of publication did not remain unnoticed. In 1960, shortly before it ceased, the Quarterly Bulletin received the “Honor Award for Distinguished Services in Medical Journalism” from the American Medical Writers Association.

Another journal, Northwestern University Medical School Magazine, continued some of the traditions of the Quarterly Bulletin, although its focus no longer was scholarly research. Ward Rounds then continued as a publication for alumni until March 2014 when it was renamed Northwestern Medicine Magazine and expanded its focus.

Even though the Quarterly Bulletin ceased publication some years ago, it continues to have value in scholarship for librarians and researchers at Northwestern University, and for scholars at other institutions. This is evidenced by inquiries, document delivery, and interlibrary loan requests for specific articles that have been filled through the years. The availability of the Quarterly Bulletin in PMC will allow anyone in the world to view articles full-text online and link to full-text from PubMed/MEDLINE. Access to the material in PMC is free, but use of the material is subject to copyright and/or related license terms.

The Quarterly Bulletin digitization project is one of several initiatives of Northwestern University libraries to make valuable historical information resources available online and accessible to a wider audience.

Access the Quarterly Bulletin of the Northwestern University Medical School on PubMed Central now. The journal is browseable by year/issue. To search the journal, use the query box at the top of the search page. Type in: "Q Bull Northwest Univ Med Sch"[ta] AND; then add a keyword, name, or anything you think might be part of the journal's content. It can also be searched in the PubMed database.


  1. K. Ishizeki, H. Saito, T. Shinigawa, N. Fujiwara, and T. Nawa (1999). Histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis of the mechanism of calcification of Meckel's cartilage during mandible development in rodents. Journal of Anatomy (1999) 194(Pt.2):265-277.
  2. Richany S.F., Bast T.H., Anson B.J. (1956).The development of the first branchial arch in man and the fate of Meckel's cartilage. Quarterly Bulletin of the Northwestern University Medical School 30(4):331-355.
  3. Editorials, “Re-Establishment of Bulletin” by Irving S. Cutter, Dean, Northwestern University Medical School, Quarterly Bulletin 14(1): 53, Spring, 1940.



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Updated: March 5, 2020