Building a body of knowledge: sickle cell and libraries




Medical Libraries, Academic Health Sciences Libraries, Sickle Cell Anemia, Lemuel Whitley Diggs, History of Medicine


Lemuel Whitley Diggs spent his career seeking a cure for sickle cell anemia. As with many successful researchers, his work was informed by the publications that he found in the medical library. This article describes Diggs’s relationship to the library as an integral part of his research methodology.

Author Biography

Richard H. Nollan, Executive Director of the Libraries, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX

Dr. Richard Nollan is the Executive Director of the Libraries of the Health Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. In his professional career, Dr. Nollan has written journal articles, co-authored book chapters, and in 2016 authored a biography titled Blood Work:  L.W. Diggs, Sickle Cell Anemia, and the South’s First Blood Bank.  His research interests include the information seeking behavior of health care professionals, and the history of American medicine. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Memphis, and a Masters in Library Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh.


Diggs LW. The blood picture in sickle cell anemia. Southern Med J. (1932);25:615–20.

Diggs LW. Dr. George Hoyt Whipple. Johns Hopkins Med J. 1976;139(5):196–200.

Sydenstricker VP. Sickle-cell anemia. Med Clinics North Am. 1929;12:1451–7.

The L.W. Diggs, M.D. Sickle cell literature collection: 1910–1970. 64 v. Located at: Health Sciences Historical Collections, Health Sciences Library, University of Tennessee–Memphis.






History Matters