14 June 2010

U.S. National Library of Medicine Manuscripts

The National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine has an interesting website. One section is devoted to the "History of Medicine." You can browse the finding aids for manuscripts online, check the catalog, view digital images and learn about visiting the library in Bethesda, Maryland. I found the FAQ section quite helpful.

A finding aids entry looks like this:
Title: Zuriel and George Waterman Papers 1774-1817
Abstract: Daybooks, correspondence, ledgers and journals pertaining to medical practice, as well as memorandum books kept on board a privateer during the American Revolution.

The papers of John Shaw Billings include this description:
". . . was in charge of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office. Other items in the collection include genealogy information, diplomas and certificates, draft of History and literature of surgery, copies . . ." [I bolded the word genealogy.]

One set of digital images includes not only medical history of the 19th century, but lots of family history. It is part of "Physicians' Lives in the Shenandoah Valley."

"The Henkel Family Correspondence collection (MS C 291; 1.5 linear feet) consists of 828 letters and is largely the product of Caspar C. Henkel's (1835-1908) life. . . Items dating before 1850 were written by ancestors of both Caspar and his wife, Margaretta . . . Caspar retained letters written to him while he was away at medical school and in the field during the Civil War. Upon returning home from these extended absences, he apparently also collected several letters he himself had written to New Market. He also kept letters written to him from his two brothers during their medical training and afterwards when they lived and practiced away from New Market. Letters written to Margaretta from her sisters during the late 1860s and early 1870s are also included."

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