American Science and Medicine collection (1702-1897)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Philip Heslip, April 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: American Science and Medicine collection
Creator: William L. Clements Library
Inclusive dates: 1702-1897
Extent: Approximately 150 items (0.5 linear feet)
The American Science and Medicine collection consists of miscellaneous items that document various aspects of science and medicine in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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

M-1898 et al.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation

American Science and Medicine Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is organized chronologically.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The American Science and Medicine collection contains miscellaneous items that document various aspects of science and medicine in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries. Fields covered include anatomy, astrology, astronomy, botany, dentistry, geography, medicine, paleontology, physics, and physiology.

Discussed are:
  • Agriculture, plants, and seeds
  • Communication and travel
  • Collecting specimens for natural history museums
  • Epidemics (influenza, cholera, yellow fever)
  • Higher education and honorary degrees
  • Inoculations
  • Land surveying
  • Mathematics and navigation
  • Medical techniques and treatments for diseases, wounds, and afflictions
  • Medicinal recipes
  • Mental health
  • Quackery
  • Scientific and medical texts and lectures
  • Technological developments and experiments in machinery, and architectural projects
  • Venereal diseases
Below are some highlights from the collection:
  • April 19, 1788: Description of riot set off by alleged body snatching by medical students in New York
  • August 31, 1792: Order for an inoculation
  • June 30, 1796: Request to Charles Wilson Peale from members of a Paris museum to exchange specimens, including mastodon and opossums
  • January 15, 1826: Thomas Nuttall to a bookseller named Mr. Brown concerning 10 boxes of natural history specimens he is sending from Oahu, Hawaii
  • August 7, 1832: Account of the course and spread of Cholera in Albany, and fears that southern slaves will suffer the most from Cholera
  • September 13, 1833: Description of bright flashing lights appearing in the sky
  • August 24, 1835: Recommendation of a physician of the 'new school' of medicine who does not utilize bleeding, blistering, or calomelization (mercury cure)
  • December 15, 1840: Description of eye surgery performed on a patient at the Medical College of Geneva, New York
  • January 12, 1842: Discussion of constructing a microscope to view bacillaria
  • May 8, 1844: Astrological reading that predicts the recipient will marry a man from the north with light brown hair
  • September 19, 1848: Rules and customs of telegraphing
  • [1895]: Request for a list of names of locals with eye problems on letterhead for Narcissa Waterman, Eye Doctress

Subject Terms

  • Anatomy--History.
  • Astrology--History.
  • Astronomy--History.
  • Cholera.
  • Botany--History.
  • Dentistry--History.
  • Epidemics.
  • Geography--History.
  • Influenza.
  • Medicine--History.
  • Mental health.
  • Meteor showers.
  • Oahu (Hawaii)
  • Paleontology--History.
  • Physics--History.
  • Physiology--History.
  • Tuberculosis.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • Solar system.
  • Buckland, William, 1784-1856.
  • Colden, Cadwallader, 1688-1776.
  • Drake, Daniel, 1785-1852.
  • Fauntleroy, Jane Dale, 1807-1867.
  • Harper, Robert Goodloe, 1765-1825.
  • Meigs, Josiah, 1757-1822.
  • Morse, Sidney E., 1794-1871.
  • Nuttall, Thomas, 1786-1859.
  • Otis, Samuel Allyne, 1740-1814.
  • Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813
  • Sedgwick, Adam, 1785-1873.
  • Silliman, Benjamin, 1779-1864.
  • Winthrop, John, 1714-1779.
Genre Terms:
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Programs (documents)
  • Receipts (financial records)

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
American Science and Medicine collection [series]
Box   1  
Box   2  
 1837-1936 and  undated