Trunkey Rare Book Collection

Donald Trunkey

When Dr. Donald D. Trunkey was just five years old he was taught to read by his aunt, a teacher at the Southern Oregon College of Education (now Southern Oregon University). He quickly devoured all the works of Zane Grey and other adventure tales—fitting subject matter for a young boy growing up on the Palouse. He remembers first falling in love with history on reading Francis Parkman's classic, The Oregon Trail (1847), and for a time he thought about becoming a history teacher.

But an early experience, combining tackle football and a clothesline pole—which resulted in an epiphyseal fracture and dislocation of the wrist—brought Trunkey into contact with the local general practitioner. Over the course of the several hours it took the physician to set the break, and the weeks of subsequent cast repair, Trunkey got to know the doctor and soon decided that medicine was the direction he wanted to take.

Combining his love of medicine and history, Trunkey began collecting classic medical texts. His first notable purchase was Walter Cannon's Traumatic Shock (1923); books soon followed, many from the book lover's paradise known as the Old Hickory Bookshop. His best find to date is a manuscript letter from Baron D.-J. Larrey, Napoleon's surgeon, describing the relative merits of the climates of London and Florence.

In 2005 Trunkey donated approximately 150 titles from his personal library, many of them titles in the Classics of Surgery series, to the OHSU School of Medicine Department of Surgery. Now housed in the Trunkey Library in Mackenzie Hall, the collection is accessible by department faculty, staff, and students, as well as researchers visiting the OHSU Historical Collections & Archives History of Medicine Room.

For information about the collection, or to make an appointment to access the books, contact the Department of Surgery ( or 503 494-7758 or Maija Anderson, Head of Historical Collections & Archives ( or 503 418-2287).