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History of Medicine

A guide to The Huntington's collections in the history of medicine.

Medieval & Early-Modern Manuscripts

Below are medieval and early-modern manuscript highlights from our history of medicine collection. Browse additional materials via Summon Discovery.

N.B. Certain items are restricted and only available for use on-site with curatorial approval. Most restricted items in this list include a link to a digital surrogate.

Statutes : [manuscript], [between 1200 and 1350]
Call number: mssHM 923

Medical treatises : [manuscript], [between 1400 and 1425]
Call number: mssHM 19079

Astronomical miscellany : [manuscript], [between 1440 and 1460]
Call number: mssHM 39465

Alchemical, medical and technical compilation : [manuscript], 15th-16th centuries
Call number: mssHU 1051

Astrological and medical compilation : [manuscript], end of 15th century
Call number: mssHM 64

Medical recipes and leaves from a Missal : [manuscript], [between 1390 and 1460]
Call number: mssHM 1336

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Liber Uricrisiarum : [manuscript], [between 1450 and 1475]
Call number: mssHM 505

Medical treatise, between 1450 and 1475
Call number: mssHM 80514

Cosmography; astrological medicine : [manuscript], 1486-1488
Call number: mssHM 83

Agnus castus with additional medical recipes : [manuscript], [between 1485 and 1499]
Call number: mssHM 58

Herbal and medical tracts : [manuscript], [between 1450 and 1499]
Call number: mssHM 26053

Selections from Opera medicinalia : [manuscript], [between 1485 and 1499]
Call number: mssHM 47753

A compendium treatise in medicine, 1650
Call number: mssHM 74828

Medical treatise describing illnesses and remedies, 1652
Call number: mssHM 59539

Physica a R.A. D[omi]no Leonard dictata Anno D[omi]ni, 1684
Call number: mssHM 74482

Booke of receipts: manuscript, 1695
Call number: mssHM 88

Jonathan Bliss notebook, 1723-1724
Call number: mssHM 74094

The ancient phisicians last legacy to his country -- being what he has collected himself in forty nine years practice..., approximately 1742
Call number: mssHM 82864

Kōmō Chayuhō : [manuscript], [approximately 1750]
Call number: mssHM 81220

English cookery receipts and home remedies, 1760-1767
Call number: mssHM 81085

Orderly Book No. 1 For Colo. Durkee, 1777
Call number: mssHM 826

Cookery and Household Hints collection, ca. 1780
Call number: mssHM 58281

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19th & 20th-century Manuscripts

Below are 19th and 20th-century manuscript highlights from our history of medicine collection. Browse additional materials via Summon Discovery.

N.B. Certain items are restricted and only available for use on-site with curatorial approval. Most restricted items in this list include a link to a digital surrogate.

Nathaniel Bright Emerson papers, 1766-1944
Besides having his own medical practice in Honolulu, Emerson held several offices in Hawaii including vaccinating officer for Oahu, president of the Board of Health and prison physician—a position he held until his death. Emerson was a member of several groups including the American Neurologists' Association.
Call number: mssEMR 1-1323

Lyman Augustus Brewer papers, 1783-1885
Letters and a medical journal of a Civil War surgeon who served in the Ohio Infantry, 111th regiment.
Call number: mssHM 74833

Rush and Haller Nutt papers, 1805-1933
Dr. Rush Nutt was a planter, physician and scientist of Jefferson County, Miss. A native of Virginia, he studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Benjamin Rush. He taught and practiced medicine, and was one of the founders of the Agricultural and Mechanical College in Alcorn, Miss.
Call number: mssNU 1-365

William Kidd Journal of a British Naval Surgeon, 1806-1818
Kidd had a medical practice in County Armagh and in November 1817 he read before the Royal Physical Society an important paper dealing with typhus, which was then raging in Ireland. In 1844, he was appointed Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He was also president of the Royal Physical Society of Edinburgh.
Call number: mssHM 46983 (Vol. 1-14)

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Charles Wistar Stevens Papers, 1823-1888
Stevens practiced medicine in Boston and his native New Hampshire throughout much of the 19th century.
Call number: mssStevens papers

Louis Pasteur Collection, 1823-2006
Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist. This collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, printed material, research notes, drawings and photographs.
Call number: mssPasteurcollection

Lewis T. Pim papers, 1838-1888
Pim was a Confederate surgeon and Missouri physician. Having served as chief physician to the Shawnee and Delaware Indians, he accepted the chair of Demonstrator of Anatomy at the University of Missouri and in 1856 became a professor of surgery at the Missouri Medical College.
Call number: mssPim papers

Emma Newman papers, 1845-1921
Newman was a Congregational minister as well as a homeopathic practitioner and a "mental healer."
Call number: mssNewman papers

Bartholomew & Michel Family Papers, c. 1847-1913
Includes material about Dr. James N. Bartholomew, who practiced medicine in rural Los Alamos, Calif.
Call number: mssHM 75393-75636

Medical Documents of Joseph Badger and William Moody Parsons, 1850-1866
Joseph Badger Parsons and William Moody Parsons were physicians and brothers. William joined Joseph's practice in Bennington, N.H. after his time at Dartmouth Medical College.
Call number: mssHM 63608-63619

Leo Newmark diaries and family materials, c. 1850-1938
Newmark received his medical degree from the University of Strasburg and studied neurology in Germany, France and England. He returned to San Francisco in 1890 and was soon licensed to practice medicine in California. He started the first neurology department in the Western United States at San Francisco Polyclinic and served as a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley Medical School.
Call number: mssHM 73060-73068

William B. Rice letterbook, 1852-1856
Rice was an early merchant in Hawaii. In his letters, Rice makes references to various aspects of Hawaiian life, including an outbreak of smallpox.
Call number: mssHM 75981

William Reed Bullard papers, 1852-1895
Bullard practiced medicine for ten years in an Indianapolis, Ind. Union hospital after attending Harvard Medical School. Eventually, Bullard left Indiana and settled in Montana, where he served as State Medical Examiner and was a charter member as well as Secretary of the Territorial Medical Society.
Call number: mssHM 70209-70257

Steele Family correspondence, 1853-1903
The family of Ebenezer Steele and Phebe Steele lived in Ann Arbor, Mich. The correspondence contains detailed descriptions of the failing health and treatment of their children, Julia and Valentine Steele, in the months leading up to their deaths.
Call number: mssHM 73830-73862

James Edward Glazier papers, 1861-1922
In May 1864, Glazier was detailed as a male nurse and assistant to the chaplain in the U.S. General Hospital at Hampton, Va., where he remained until mid-September 1864.
Call number: mssGZ 1-126

J.B. Girard papers, 1861-1918
Girard was a surgeon in the United States Army who emigrated from France in 1861. He served at several different military posts, including Hawaii, during his 43 years with the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Call number: mssGirard papers

Henry I. Colyer correspondence, 1862-1865
Henry Isaac Colyer (also spelled Collier) was a Civil War Union soldier. In late December 1862, Colyer was hospitalized with a heart and lung condition and remained in King St. Hospital in Alexandria, Va. until August 1863.
Call number: mssHM 28943-29056

Edward Anthony Spitzka and Edward Charles Spitzka papers, 1862-1919
Collection of correspondence, papers and ephemera related to the life and professional work of Dr. Edward Anthony Spitzka and his father, Dr. Edward Charles Spitzka. The chief subjects covered are neurology, criminology, psychiatry, behavioral psychology and brain morphology.
Call number: mssSpitzka1

Civil War memoirs of John G. Lemmon, 1866.
Memoirs of the Civil War service that John G. Lemmon wrote in 1866. The memoirs incorporate Lemmon's field diary that covered the period from his enlistment in August 1862, his imprisonment in August 1864, his letters home and some of his official documents.
Call number: mssHM 553

Baron Lucien Corvisart letters to Mr. Colgenson, 1873-1883
This collection contains 83 letters, in French, sent to Mr. Colgenson, dealing with a variety of affairs. Corvisart had been Napoleon III's physicianand was well known as a researcher. Many of the letters are from British addresses. Corvisart's full name is François-Rémy-Lucien, Baron Corvisart. The collection was purchased at auction in Paris in 1973. At some point, the envelopes from the letters were discarded; therefore, it is not possible to verify the recipient's name or trace him.
Call number: mssCorvisart letters

Joseph Pomeroy Widney Papers, 1880-1938
Widney, an American physician, was the second president of the University of Southern California, a founding dean of the university's medical school and a founder of the Los Angeles County Medical Association.
Call number: mssWidney papers

Dorothea Moore letters, 1883-1884
The collection consists of letters from Moore to her first husband, Charles Fletcher Lummis. They describe the life of a woman in medical college in the 1880s and bring out a little-known period in the life of Charles Lummis.
Call number: mssHM 40104-40187

Jean F. McNair correspondence, 1884-1919
McNair studied nursing at Philadelphia General Hospital Training School. She worked as head nurse for the Detroit Copper Mining Company in Arizona and from 1917 to 1920 was employed as a nurse in the Pasadena Hospital and the Pacific Hospital, Los Angeles. In November 1917, she joined the Reserve Army Nurse Corps and was stationed in active duty at the Base Hospital at Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, Texas. From 1920 to 1938, she worked in the nursing division of the Los Angeles City Health Department.
Call number: mssMcNair Box 32, 39

Catton Family papers, 1875-1968
Margaret Mary Louis Catton, the chief figure in this collection, was the first director of the Medical Social Service Association, a new social program she helped found at Queen's Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1932.
Call number: mssHM 68106-68147

Sir William Osler papers, 1893-1957
Born in 1849, Sir William Osler rose through the ranks of professional medicine and eventually became one of the world's most renowned physicians. Among many other endeavors, he helped establish the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1893.
Call number: mssOsler papers

Wills Family papers, 1750-1912
William Le Moyne Wills was one of the pioneer faculty of the Medical Department of the University of Southern California. He was also one of the promoters of cremation in the West and was president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association in 1889, president of the Southern California District Medical Association from 1890 to 1891 and president of the California State Medical Society. He was also one of the founders and chief surgeon of Children's Hospital.
Call number: mssHM 80151-80181

George Dock papers, 1866-2003
Dock, a medical professor who specialized in pathology, served on the California State Medical Board and the National Board of Medical Examiners and was also active in the creation of the Los Angeles County Medical Association Library.
Call number: mssDock papers

Earl F. Nation Collection, 1896-1980
Nation, a prominent physician in the Southern California community, was a president of the American Urological Association in 1978 and helped to preserve urologic history throughout his tenure.
Call number: mssNation collection

W.R. McNair papers, 1897-1935
William Righter McNair was a Los Angeles physician and businessman. McNair specialized in the treatment of pulmonary diseases and built a large medical practice in Glendora and Los Angeles. He served in WWI with the Medical Corps and was stationed at the base hospital at Camp Kearny, near San Diego.
Call number: mssMcNair Boxes 33-38

Emil Bogen Papers, 1910-1962
Dr. Emil Bogen was a doctor and researcher in Los Angeles. He was chief pathologist at Olive View Sanatorium in Sylmar, Calif. and was an internationally known tuberculosis expert. He also studied alcoholism and his research contributed to the invention of the breathalyzer.
Call number: mssBogenpapers

Theodore J. Curphey Papers, 1921-1976
Curphey served as the first Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner for the County of Los Angeles.
Call number: mssCurphey papers

Charles Leroy Lowman Papers, 1925-1937
Lowman, a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles, founded the Los Angeles Orthopedic Hospital in 1911 to treat children and adults with postural and orthopedic disabilities.
Call number: mssLowman papers

William James McDermott papers, 1844-1919
McDermott was a New York physician and served as surgeon in the 66th Regiment of New York Volunteer Infantry from October 1861 to June 1864. He also served as Assistant Surgeon in various hospitals and as a medical inspector for the office of Provost Marshal.
Call number: mssMcDermott papers

Clara Barton correspondence, 1850-1890
Barton organized a relief agency for wounded soldiers while working in the Patent Office in Washington, D.C., in 1861 and served in the later years of the Civil War as a superintendent of nurses with the Army of the James before founding the American Red Cross in 1881.
Call number: mssHM 26914-26956

Augustus G. Holloway papers, 1854-1869
Holloway studied medicine at Western Reserve College and in the late 1850s practiced medicine in Allen County, Ohio. In 1864, he served as assistant surgeon of the 151st Regiment of Ohio National Guard Infantry and later became acting brigade surgeon.
Call number: mssHolloway papers

R. Curtis Edgerton papers, 1861-1862
Edgerton was a Union soldier from Walnut Grove, Ill. who joined the 26th Illinois Volunteer Regiment in the fall of 1861. Although he entered the army as a member of the band, he gradually concentrated on hospital work and eventually became acting assistant surgeon. His regiment was stationed in Hannibal, Pleasant and Commerce, Mo., and saw some service in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Call number: mssEdgerton papers

Alfred C. Brundage letters, 1861-1864
Alfred C. Brundage of Delaware County, Ohio was appointed assistant surgeon of the 32nd Regiment of Ohio Infantry in Sept. 1861. The regiment was assigned to the Dept. of West Virginia.
Call number: mssBrundage letters

Camilla Treadwell Papers, 1912-1948
Camilla Treadwell worked as an American Red Cross nurse during World War I, often near the front lines. She was commended by the commanders of the allied armies, who bestowed highest decorations, among them the cross of the French Legion of Honor.
Call number: mssTreadwell papers

Laura R. Simpson account book, 1921-1930
Nurse's account book kept by Laura R. Simpson, possibly in Portland, Ore. Includes patients' names, details of their ailments, the number of days they were attended to by Simpson and a record of her fees.
Call number: mssHM 73764

Minute Books of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, 1871-1970
The Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) began in 1878 as a professional institution designed to regulate and encourage the development of medicine in Los Angeles.
Call number: mssLACMA minute books

United States Army, 73rd Evacuation Hospital Papers, 1943-1985
The 73rd Evacuation Hospital Unit was formed in 1940 in Los Angeles, California and made up of medical officers on the Attending Staff of the LAC/USC Medical Center.
Call number: mssEvacuationhospitalpapers

Records of the Los Angeles County Medical Association’s Coroner’s Committee Campaign, 1950-1956
This collection traces the 1956 Coroner’s Committee of the Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA), which ran a campaign to hire a new coroner for Los Angeles County and bring in a medical doctor to fill the position.
Call number: mssLACMA coroner committee

Los Angeles County Medical Association Committee on Multiphasic Screening Papers, 1953-1957
The Inter-University Labor Education Committee created the Health Plan Consultants Committee in 1953 in order to research and test viable health care programs for laborers in the Los Angeles region. The Committee on Multiphasic Screening was created to coordinate the physicians' activities regarding the screenings.
Call number: mssLACMA committee screening

Jonas Salk correspondence, 1954-1976, undated
Jonas Salk was an American medical researcher and one of the 20th century's leading scientists. He created the first polio vaccine, which was approved for general use in 1955. In 1963, he founded the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, focusing on diseases that included multiple sclerosis and cancer and major study areas including aging and regenerative medicine, immune system biology, metabolism and diabetes, neuroscience and neurological disorders and plant biology.
Call number: mssHM 83201 (a-t)

Los Angeles Department of Health Documents, 1959-1964
These items, which are copies of bulletins, reports, letters, statements and speeches, all deal with the merger of the Los Angeles city's Department of Health and Los Angeles County's Health Department.
Call number: mssHM 74880-74893

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