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About the Collection

The Reinhard S. Speck Cholera Collection

Reinhard Staniford Speck (1921-1993) was a Professor of Microbiology at UCSF and an avid book collector.  Infectious disease was among his research interests, and he contributed the chapter on cholera to the Cambridge World History of Human Disease.

In 1992, Dr. Speck donated his collection of over 600 works related to cholera, epidemics, and public health, to the UCSF Library.  The Speck collection includes books, pamphlets, government reports, letters, and manuscripts, from the 18th to the 20th century.

Among the rarest items in the collection are 265 pamphlets and reports, presented here digitally.  These works show the broad geography of cholera, documenting epidemics throughout Europe, North and South America.  They address a wide range of topics, including the problems and techniques of prevention and therapy, description of the impact on the affected populations, and statistical information on morbidity and mortality.

The digital collection follows Dr. Speck’s original arrangement of the pamphlets by geographic area; as some of the boxes were not marked, these are displayed here as ‘miscellaneous’.


The Reinhard S. Speck Cholera Collection is housed in the UCSF Library’s Archives & Special Collections.  All of the books are listed in the UCSF Library Catalog. Users can search by author, title, subject, keyword, or call number. To see a listing of all of the books in the Speck Collection, search on call number and type in "Speck".

About the Collection
About the Collection