Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Theodore and Wells Beardsley Letters, 1808, 1833

Finding aid created by
Richard C. Bates, August 2004, and Meg Hixon, November 2012

Summary Information
Title: Theodore and Wells Beardsley letters
Creator: Beardsley, Wells
Inclusive dates: 1808, 1833
Extent: 5 items
This collection is made up of 4 letters that Dr. Theodore Beardsley wrote to Dr. Wells Beardsley about his medical practice in North Hero, Vermont, in 1808, and a letter that Wells Beardsley wrote to his son Marcus in 1833.

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:

1996. M-3208.3.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Theodore and Wells Beardsley letters, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged chronologically.


Thomas Beardsley, a physician, moved to North Hero, Vermont, around 1808. He corresponded with Wells Beardsley, a physician in Kent, Connecticut. Wells Beardsley had at least one son, Marcus.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 4 letters that Dr. Theodore Beardsley wrote to Dr. Wells Beardsley about his medical practice in North Hero, Vermont, in 1808, and a letter that Wells Beardsley wrote to his son Marcus in 1833. Theodore Beardsley wrote about illnesses, treatments, pregnancies, commerce, and agriculture in Grand Isle County, Vermont. Wells Beardsley's letter concerns a recent journey to northern New York, Vermont, and Québec (November 1833). See the Detailed Box and Folder Listing for more information about each letter.

Subject Terms

    • Abnormalities, Human.
    • Accidents.
    • Autopsy.
    • Embargo, 1807-1809.
    • Erie Canal (N.Y.)
    • Indians of North America.
    • Medicine--United States--Early works to 1800.
    • Medicine--United States--History--18th century.
    • New York (State)--Description and travel.
    • North Hero (Vt.)
    • Pregnancy.
    • Quakers.
    • Québec--Description and travel.
    • Vermont--Description and travel.
    • Beardsley, Theodore.
    • Beardsley, Wells.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters(correspondence)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   15, Small Collections  
    Theodore and Wells Beardsley letters [series]:
    Folder   29  
      1808 January 10 . Theodore Beardsley ALS to [Wells] Beardsley; North Hero, Vermont. (4 pages)
    Beardsley treated patients throughout Grand Isle County and most outcomes were successful. Recipe for an "ophthalmia" treatment and descriptions of other medical treatments. Account of a pregnant female patient who fell from a horse and description of a child born with no arms and only one leg.
      1808 April 4 . Theodore Beardsley ALS to [Wells Beardsley]; [North Hero, Vermont]. (2 pages)
    Detailed account of Beardsley's treatment of a young girl who died after a brief illness, including his efforts to treat her fever and abdominal pains, and the postmortem examination.
      1808 May 23 . Theodore Beardsley ALS to W[ells] Beardsley; North Hero, Vermont. (4 pages)
    Thoughts about the difficulty of balancing public welfare with private interests, particularly with regard to the Embargo of 1807. Potential effects of an embargo on Lake Champlain and the lumber trade with Canada. Smuggling. Account of a case involving a pregnant woman. Response to arguments that Native Americans and Europeans have similar mental capacities.
      1808 June 16 . Theodore Beardsley ALS to Wells Beardsley; North Hero, Vermont. (3 pages)
    Beardsley discusses his continued affection for a Quaker woman. He recently lost two young patients to dysentery, though others have survived. Description of Grand Isle County and northern Vermont, particularly with regard to commerce and agriculture. Living in Grand Isle is unlikely to result in much profit as most foods, manufactured goods, and skilled laborers must be imported.
      1833 November . Wells Beardsley to [Marcus W. Beardsley]; Kent, Connecticut. (9 pages)
    Beardsley described his travels in New York, Vermont, and Canada by steamboat, stagecoach, and wagon. Visit to Troy, New York, and the Erie Canal. Expressed his belief that canal and railroad expansion will cause more growth in large cities than in small towns. Descriptions of passengers disembarking from a steamboat and of French Canadians. Beardsley's thoughts about the city's cathedral and about the inhabitants and countryside around Montréal, Québec.