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The Burns Medicine and War Collection documents the wounds and injuries incurred by soldiers and combatants throughout history, showing the development of weaponry as well as the efforts of medical personnel worldwide to treat and doctor war wounds on and off the battlefield. Photographs of physicians in major conflicts from the Crimean War to WWII are represented.


The albums of wounded American Civil War soldiers treated and photographed by surgeon Reed B. Bontecou is both visually stunning and historically significant. Many of the images were on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the Photography and the American Civil War exhibition.Most recently images are being displayed at the Reina Sofía Museum in Spain. The Burns Press book Shooting Soldiers… also contains a large selection of the photographs and a history of Dr. Bontecou.


Other rare albums include those of soldiers wounded at the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898 during the Spanish American War, an album from Pancho Villa’s doctor during the Mexican Revolution, a maxillofacial surgeon’s album of head wound treatments, and an album taken at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center documenting the work of pioneers repairing of disfigured face. Included is a collection of almost eight hundred images from the USS Solace, the only US Navy hospital ship in the Pacific during early WWII.

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