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The Paul Kligfield Collection


October 18, 2022 – April 8, 2023
Sponsor(s): History of Medicine

Cardiology emerged as a field of study over centuries, focusing on diagnosing and treating diseases related to the heart. Major advances, such as understanding the circulation of blood and the invention of diagnostic tools like the stethoscope and electrocardiogram, have paved the way for greater study and knowledge of the heart and cardiovascular system. Cardiology continues to evolve as a specialty with emerging technologies and furthering diagnostic tools. Work in this area carries on at places like Duke, where clinical research in cardiology focuses on addressing health disparities.

In May 2019, the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library received the cardiology collection of Dr. Paul Kligfield, a recently retired cardiologist from New York. For over forty years, Dr. Kligfield collected over 2,000 printed books ranging from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries. As seen here, the collection includes works authored by figures such as William Harvey, Giovanni M. Lancisi, and Rene Laennec, among other notable physicians. Many of the rare materials in this collection focus on cardiac pathology, anatomy, and early electrocardiogram work.

Dr. Kligfield follows a tradition of physician collectors like Dr. Josiah Charles Trent. This includes an enthusiasm for their library—and an even greater enthusiasm in making it available to others.


This exhibition was sponsored in part by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. 

Artist rendition of a human chest with anatomical heart showing through ribs with cloth drapings.
Illustration from Antonio Scarpa's Tabulae Neurologicae, 1794