William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
George and José Bill Papers, 1888-1947
Richard Bates, Erin Platte and Meg Hixon, December 2011
George and José Bill papers
Bill, José Penteado, b. 1884
1 linear foot
The George and José Bill papers contain essays, lectures, notes, prescriptions, and correspondence related to the medical practices of George Bill and his son, José Penteado Bill, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Much of the material relates to unconventional medical practices and to topics in metaphysics. The collection also holds a series of astrological charts and notes.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Access and Use
The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown
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.
George and José Bill Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
- Series I: Correspondence and Documents
- Series II: Essays, Lectures, Notes, and Speeches
- Subseries I: Miss Doubleday Gynecology Notes
- Subseries II: Lectures on Metaphysics
- Subseries III: Notes on Astrology
- Subseries IV: Additional notes, lectures, and speeches
- Series III: Retained Copies of Prescriptions
- Series IV: José Penteado Bill Papers
- Subseries I: Diaries
- Subseries II: Notes and Notebooks
- Series V: Printed Items
- Series VI: Poems and Blank Stationery
Each series is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.
George Edwin Bill was born in Maine in February 1855, received his B. A. from Tufts University in 1877, and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1880. Following his graduation, he began a medical practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he took interest in unconventional medical practices, astrology, and metaphysics, though he specialized in gynecology. He and his wife Sarah had a son, José Penteado Bill (b. December 1884). José attended Harvard Medical School and eventually practiced near Boston, Massachusetts.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The George and José Bill papers contain essays, lectures, notes, prescriptions, and correspondence related to the medical practices of George Bill and his son José Penteado Bill, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Correspondence and Documents series holds material related to George E. Bill's medical practice, including several letters written to his son during the 1920s. In one letter, he encouraged his son to avoid surgery for his granddaughter Audrey, and instead offered a dietary cure (February 1, 1922); in other letters, he discussed a "rhythometer" and the use of electricity as a medical cure.
The Essays, Lectures, Notes, and Speeches series is divided into several subseries. An unknown author compiled the Miss Doubleday gynecology notes while attending a lecture by Miss Doubleday; the notes include diagrams.
The Lectures on metaphysics consist of 13 lectures delivered by George Bill between November 2 and December 16, 1912, predicated upon a Law of Correspondence, "a General Law underlying the behavior of all Matter and the Spirit of Matter" (November 7, 1912). He mentioned magnetism, toxins thought to affect thoughts, and the polarity between elements of life (light, heat, and electricity) and death (darkness, cold, and magnetism), between which existence resides (November 6, 1912).
A series of Astrology charts and notes contains several charts copied from the work of Karl Anderson, as well as manuscript essays and projections.
Additional Essays, Lectures, Notes and Speeches concentrate primarily on medical topics, and most often concern pseudo-scientific conjectures and treatments outside the realm of conventional medicine. The series contains published articles as well as typed and manuscript drafts; some topics are hypnotism, the medical uses of electrical current, the human subconscious and its role in medicine, infrared therapy, and mental toxins and antitoxins.
A large number of Retained copies of prescriptions showcase a variety of medical treatments ordered by the Bills throughout the late-19th and early-20th century, including both conventional and homeopathic treatments.
The José Penteado Bill papers contain an assortment of material, including, but not limited to, scientific and medical notes, as well as a printed roster of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (July 1947). Other items are a traveling journal compiled in 1917 and a document giving Bill's grades from his second year of study at Harvard Medical School (1912). The Diaries subseries includes a partially-filled diary of José P. Bill from 1910, as well as a 1924 diary chronicling medical appointments; the latter was obtained in France and contains supplemental information in French. The Notes and notebooks subseries contains notes on José Penteado's engagements, patients, and prescriptions. Also included is a prescription notebook and pad.
The Printed Items series holds seven items. These are Keeley's Secrets, a publication on theosophy written by Mrs. Bloomfield Moore, with manuscript annotations (July 10, 1888); two medical journals; a scientific article; a pamphlet entitled "The Policy and Purpose of the Harrisburg Republican Club" (1902); a portion of an examination given to doctors at Clark University about "Diseases and Cures in Childhood" (December 1896); and a card on medicines, poisons, and antidotes. George Bill wrote the article, "The Relation of Hypnotism to the Subconscious Mind" (New York Medical Journal, May 1, 1897), an article entitled "Some Considerations Relative to the Therapeutic Application of the Electrical Current" (New York Medical Journal, November 13, 1897), and "The Conductivity of Human Radio-Activity" (Journal of the Allied Medical Associations of America, August 1919).
The Poems and Blank Stationery series contains pieces of blank stationery from Dr. George E. Bill's office in Harrisburg, PA, as well as two poems.
- Alternative medicine.
- Harrisburg (Pa.)
- Lectures and lecturing.
- Medicine and psychology.
- Medicine--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions.
- Medicine--United States--History--19th century.
- Bill, George Edwin, b. 1855.
- Letters (correspondence)