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Detail from image of a hospital in Palestine. Lantern slide, Church Missionary Society collections, ref. CMS 33/43

Links to digital images (Cambridge Digital Library) and online catalogues (ArchiveSearch) for some nursing archives within the RCS collections:


These include:


These include:


From the RCS Gallery:




  • There are many individual photographs in the Royal Commonwealth Society collections depicting nurses, hospitals and health care, including many within the Church Missionary Society (CMS) collections. Glass slides in the CMS collection have been digitised. By selecting the Contents tab, you can browse the collection by caption. 
  • You can search across ArchiveSearch as well as Cambridge Digital Library for additional nursing or health-related items in the RCS collections, using search terms such as: nursing; hospital; health; medical.


The Royal Commonwealth Society Library is not actively collecting new archival collections, photographs or manuscripts. However, donations of small collections which complement its existing collections will be considered.

Potential donors should contact the Smuts Librarian with details of their collection including, in the case of photograph collections, approximately how many images, whether or not they are captioned, geographical regions covered, dates, and, where known, the names of photographers or collectors.

Consideration will be given to the size and condition of the collection, as well as its subject content and provenance. If the Library feels unable to accept a collection, advice about alternative repositories will be given.

Contact us

Please address enquiries about RCS holdings to:

RCS Curator
Cambridge University Library
West Road