Marcus Ahlenfeld papers (1825-1876)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Meg Hixon, October 2011
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Marcus Ahlenfeld papers
Creator: Ahlenfeld, Marcus, d. 1854
Inclusive dates: 1825-1876
Extent: 0.75 linear feet
The Marcus Ahlenfeld papers contain correspondence, documents, notes, and other material related to Ahlenfeld's medical education in Germany and to his medical practice in the United States.
Language: The material is in English, German, Latin and Hebrew
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

1990. M-2579.

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

Marcus Ahlenfeld Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The collection is arranged in the following series:
  • Series I: Correspondence
  • Series II: Documents and Receipts
  • Series III: Manuscript prescriptions
  • Series IV: Medical notes
  • Series V: Notes, fragments, and miscellaneous
  • Series VI: Printed items
  • Series VII: German medical textbooks


Marcus Ahlenfeld was born in Bolkenheim, Silesia, and studied medicine in Germany, and received a medical degree in 1832. Within a year, Ahlenfeld moved to the United States, continuing his medical studies at the University of Maryland, where he earned an MD in 1835. After his naturalization in 1845, Ahlenfeld maintained a successful medical practice in Maryland and northern Virginia. Ahlenfeld died ca. 1854.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Marcus Ahlenfeld papers contain correspondence, documents, notes, and other material related to Ahlenfeld's medical education in Germany and to his medical practice in the United States.

The earliest letters in the Correspondence series date to Ahlenfeld's time in Germany, though the series spans most of his time in the United States. Material in this series is written primarily in German, but also includes items in Hebrew and in English. The correspondence series contains incoming correspondence relating to Ahlenfeld's 1832 journey to America and contains many letters of recommendation from various acquaintances, as well as a letter certifying his graduation from the University of Maryland (April 6, 1835). Later items in the series include several personal letters and a certificate of Ahlenfeld's citizenship (June 13, 1845). Items in the series postdating Ahlenfeld's death are addressed to his wife Esther.

The Documents and Receipts series consists of documents related to Ahlenfeld's education in Germany, as well as several receipts related to his life before emigrating to the United States.

The Manuscript prescriptions series contains 8 undated items.

The Medical notes series includes items in English, German, and Hebrew (much of the German and Hebrew writing is written with Yiddish script). The English language notes consist of 34 pages discussing "...Salubrity, Longevity, Mortality and prevalence of diseases in the principal Countries and cities of the civilized world" (undated).

The Notes, fragments, and miscellaneous series includes material written in both German and Hebrew (again, the German and Hebrew texts are written largely with Yiddish script).

Printed items (7 items):
  • Rules for official medical examinations in Berlin (December 1825)
  • French pamphlet regarding cholera (1831)
  • Two reprinted letters of recommendation for Marcus Ahlenfeld ([1835])
  • Rules for "die Königliche Bibliothek" in Berlin (undated)
  • Pages from a German instructional book, possibly in history (undated)
  • Pages from a German medical text (undated)

The German medical textbooks series has 5 items: two books on human anatomy, a medical dictionary, a chemistry encyclopedia, and a Latin dictionary and grammar.

Subject Terms

  • German Americans.
  • Hebrew language--History.
  • Jews--United States.
  • Medical education.
  • Medicine--Germany.
  • Medicine--United States--History--19th century.
  • Ahlenfeld, Esther.
Genre Terms:
  • Legal documents.
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Notes.
  • Textbooks.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Correspondence [series]
Box   1 Folders   1-8
  April 7, 1831-July 29, 1876, and  undated
Documents and receipts [series]
Folders   9-11  
 [1820]-1872 and  undated
Manuscript prescriptions [series]
Folder   12  
Medical notes [series]
Folders   13-16  
Notes, fragments, and miscellaneous [series]
Folders   17-18  
Printed items [series]
Folders   19-20  
 1825-[1835], and  undated
Folder   : Oversize Manuscripts  
Oversize Materials
German medical textbooks [series]
Box   2  

Additional Descriptive Data

Related Materials

The Clements Library holds two broadsides, apparently by Marcus Ahlenfeld: