Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
O. N. Bradbury Papers, 1864-1874

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, 1992

Summary Information
Title: O. N. Bradbury papers
Creator: Bradbury, Osgood N., 1828-1897
Inclusive dates: 1864-1874
Extent: 5 items
The collection contains five essays or speeches by Dr. O. N. Bradbury of Springfield, Maine. The essays are about the role of physicians in society, the impact of the American Civil War, and natural healing and spiritualism.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1992. M-2865.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


No copyright restrictions

Preferred Citation:

O. N. Bradbury Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Dr. O. N. Bradbury, a native of Norway, Maine., graduated from the Maine Medical School at Bowdoin College in 1864. Having lived previously in East Machias, Maine, Bradbury worked in the fruit trade in San Francisco, Calif., from 1855-1860, before returning to Maine to settle in Springfield. From June, 1864, to December, 1865, he worked as assistant surgeon at the hospital in Augusta and was then placed in charge of the Cony Hospital until July, 1866, when it was closed. Bradbury was also involved in state politics, having represented Springfield in the Maine legislature, and he served two terms in the state Senate from Penobscot County. He left Springfield in 1873, to return to Norway, where he remained until his death in 1897. After the Civil War, Bradbury developed an interest in veterans' affairs, serving for 13 years as examining surgeon for invalid pensioners.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Bradbury papers contain five manuscript addresses written by Bradbury, all probably dating from the late 1860's and early 1870's. In two very similar essays, Bradbury discusses the importance of physicians in American society and the responsibilities, including continuing education, which accompany that role. Two other speeches, a Fourth of July speech from 1869 and a Decoration Day address, probably from 1874, examined the impact of the Civil War on American society and look forward to the healing that Bradbury anticipated was reuniting the country.

The longest and most significant manuscript in the collection is an untitled, 166 page essay/speech on mesmerism, animal magnetism, spiritualism and "biologism" as used in medicine, with further commentary on clairvoyants, mediums and other practitioners of such techniques. In this essay, Bradbury documents a large number of instances of cures effected by non-traditional medicine, many of which he personally witnessed, and he recorded several accounts of parapsychological activity. Bradbury was willing to admit to the efficacy of mesmerist and spiritualist medicine, but he steadfastly attributed cures to natural causes, not supernatural, and he rejected the existence of spirits as being unnecessary and unproved.

Subject Terms

    • Animal magnetism.
    • Clairvoyance.
    • Medicine--Study and teaching.
    • Physicians--Conduct of life.
    • Spiritualism.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    O. N. Bradbury Papers,  1864-1874 [series]
    Box   3, American Science and Medicine Collection Folder   1
    Essay on the Study of Medicine,  1864
    Folder   2  
    Essay on the Impact of the Civil War,  1869
    Folder   3  
    Essay on the Impact of the Civil War,  1874
    Folder   4  
    Essay on Animal Magnetism,  undated
    Folder   5  
    Essay on the Study of Medicine,  undated
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Animal magnetism
    • undated (Animal magnetism)
    • undated (Animal magnetism)
    • ca.1874?
    Fourth of July orations
    • 1869 July 4
    • ca.1874?
    Great Britain--Foreign relations--United States
    • 1869 July 4
    Medicine in literature
    • 1869 July 4
    Medicine--Study and teaching
    • 1864 May
    • undated (The Study of Medicine)
    • undated (Animal magnetism)
    Memorial Day addresses
    • ca.1874?
    • undated (Animal magnetism)
    Physicians--Conduct of life
    • 1864 May
    • undated (The Study of Medicine)
    Speeches, addresses, etc.
    • ca.1874?
    • undated (Animal magnetism)
    United States--Foreign relations--Great Britain
    • 1869 July 4
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Peace
    • ca.1874?
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Speeches, orations, etc.
    • 1869 July 4
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans
    • ca.1874?