Selection Criteria

The content in Medical Services and Warfare has been selected in close collaboration with collection staff at participating libraries, archives and museums and specialist academic editorial board members in the fields of conflict and medical history. Attendance at focused conferences also played a large part in ensuring material is relevant and appropriate for students and scholars.

The resource tells the story of medical advances during warfare from the mid-nineteenth century to the outbreak of the influenza epidemic in 1918 and the discovery of penicillin in 1927. The wealth of documents cover multiple conflicts as well as interwar developments from a range of perspectives.

Material has been sourced from across the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada to enable comparisons on key areas of systematic reform, improvements to sanitation and the treatment of disease, rehabilitation, nursing care, surgical techniques and wound treatment.


The three conflicts robustly represented are the Crimean War, the American Civil War and the First World War. Many other conflicts also have relevant documents and can be discovered via keyword searching, including the Boer Wars and the Spanish-American War. No conflicts within the date range were explicity excluded, but material was selected based on its contribution to the thematic scope of the project.

There is a wealth of information on battles, events and personnel from multiple conflicts in the interactive chronology.

You can also explore the experience, treatment, transportation and recovery of soldiers wounded by gunfire in the three key conflicts in the interactive feature Wounded in Action.


Documents are tagged with one or more themes to help users browse to the most useful content. These themes were identified based on the content of the collection. Click below to find out more about thematic groupings and to discover the documents that are categorised under each:Reproduction of a conscription poster for the US Army

A note on exclusions

Medical Services and Warfare is a major resource covering a wide range of conflicts and developments. Although key topics are well-represented, the scale of the period and complexity of the discipline prevents the inclusion of every collection or piece of material that might be relevant.

A lengthy process of discussion between many different archives, libraries and museums across the globe has resulted in the nine partner institutions that contribute to the resource. Where exclusions have been made, this has largely been due to:

• Collections falling outside the defined remit of this resource
• Existing open-access content
• Copyright and permission considerations
• Reasons of privacy and data protection