Collections : [David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library]

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David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

The holdings of the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library range from ancient papyri to records of modern advertising. There are over 10,000 manuscript collections containing more than 20 million individual manuscript items. Only a portion of these collections and items are discoverable on this site. Others may be found in the library catalog.

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Collection
Fourteen single-sheet printed documents issued by officials in northern Italian ports or inland trade centers, declaring that ships, cargoes, and crews have been inspected and are free of contagion, chiefly meaning bubonic plague. Cities include Venice, Brindisi, Milano, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio, San Giovanni in Persiceto, and Trieste. Almost all bear small woodcuts chiefly of patron saints and coats of arms, and official seals and stamps. Handwritten annotations include dates, itineraries, and, in the case of maritime shipping, the names of ships and owners. Some note the type of cargo and a few list the names of crew members, with age, stature, and other details. Most are in Italian but several also include some Latin. Forms part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Fourteen single-sheet printed documents, issued from 1630 to 1818 by officials in northern Italian ports or inland trade centers, declaring that ships, cargo, and crews have been inspected and are free of contagion, chiefly meaning plague. Most are in Italian, but several also include some Latin.

Nine of these bills of health originated in Venice, with others from Brindisi, Guastalla, Milano, Piacenza, Ravenna, Reggio, San Giovanni in Persiceto, Segna, San Martino, and Trieste. They range in size from 6 x 8 1/4 to 12 x 16 1/2 inches. Almost all bear one or more small woodcuts such as patron saints and coats of arms; blindstamps and seals are also often present.

Typical handwritten content on the front and sometimes back of the sheet gives the name of the ship's owner and his ship, the ship's itinerary, number of containers ("Colli"), and type of cargo. A few of the documents also include lists of crew members, with names, ages, and stature. A few terms of interest that appear include "lazzeretto," indicating a place of quarantine, and "epizootico," a medical term for a non-human epidemic or agent. Forms part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Collection
The sixty-three manuscript volumes in this collection range from 10 to 154 pages, and were created in Japan from about 1810 to 1849, chiefly by medical students. The notebooks usually take one of two forms: transcriptions of lectures and demonstrations, and bodies of knowledge written up as manuals by well-known Japanese physicians of the time, especially Hanaoka Seishū and Takenaka Bunpō. Topics covered include herbal medicines and other prescriptions; treatments for diseases of the eyes and other parts of the head; surgery, particularly for cancers, tumors, and fistulas; breast cancer; smallpox; scurvy; osteopathy; treatment of wounds; suturing; hematology; gynecology and obstetrics; and pediatric medicine. Some notebooks contain black-and-white and color hand-drawn illustrations - many full-page - of surgeries, close-ups of suturing, bandages and wrappings, osteopathic manipulations, and medicinal plants. In most cases, the author or copyist recorded details such the place and time of the lecture and the name of the medical school. There are references in the notes to at least a dozen other contemporary or earlier physicians, and to earlier dates for the work being copied - these range from 1677 to 1796. Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

The sixty-three Japanese manuscript volumes in this collection were created from 1810 to 1849, chiefly by medical students, and document Japanese medical training and practice during the time also known as the Edo period, and the conjoining of Chinese-inspired materia medica with current Western medical practices introduced primarily by the Dutch. The notebooks range in length from 10 to 154 pages, and typically take the form of transcriptions of lectures and demonstrations; in many cases the writer recorded the place and time of the demonstration and the name of the medical school. There are also volumes which represent the collected knowledge of well-known Japanese physicians of the time, especially Hanaoka Seishū but also Takenaka Bunsuke (Nanpō). There are references in the notes to at least a dozen other contemporary or earlier physicians.

The copyists and note-takers signed their names at the end of the volumes; the name Yamanaka Shūsai Hideyuki appears most frequently; also appearing frequently are the names of editors and proofreaders, and corrections and later annotations in red ink are found in a number of the manuscripts. In addition to the contemporary dates, there are many references to the earlier manuscript versions being copied: these dates range from 1677 to 1796.

The topics covered by the volumes range widely, and include: herbal medicine and other prescriptions; treatments for diseases of the eye and other parts of the head; surgery, particularly on cancers, swellings, and fistulas; breast cancer; smallpox; scurvy; osteopathy; the treatment of wounds; hematology; gynecology and obstetrics; and pediatric medicine. There are several volumes containing illustrative drawings, some hand-colored and others are black-and-white; they include detailed images of surgical procedures and close-ups of suturing; examples of bandages and wrappings; osteopathic manipulations; and medicinal plants.

One volume in particular stands out above the rest, consisting of over ninety carefully drawn, full-page, hand-coloured illustrations, nine of which are double-page, displaying patients with dislocated limbs, skin cancer, or requiring sophisticated bandages, as well as illustrations of internal organs and one page with surgical instruments. One of the illustrations is a realistic portrait of Hanaoka Seishū, with a beard and spectacles (probably imported from Holland), showing him excising a cyst from a patient. At the end of the volume, two different explanatory texts in Kanbun (classical Chinese read in the Japanese manner) provide comments in the volume about the diseases and their treatment.

Each codex in the collection is composed of leaves of rice paper, with hand-sewn bindings and soft covers, and calligraphy in black and red ink. Some of the texts are written in Shino Japanese (Chinese reading style) using all Kanji characters, while other texts are in Shino Japanese written in 19th-century characters - the language of the educated class in Japan. At least one volume (Vol. 21) contains Dutch words for medicinal compounds. The script reads back to front; the script is laid out in vertical columns that are read from right to left across the page. In some cases, pages or sections and covers are missing, and some volumes bear traces of insect damage, but for the most part, the volumes are remarkably well-preserved.

All titles are taken when possible from the covers or from section headings; approximate translations in English provided by library staff and are in brackets. In the case of missing titles, a title was supplied from content by library staff. Titles and significant names are also given in Japanese characters, and some older calendar dates are also given in modern Western dates. Illegible or untranslatable text is indicated by blank lines.

Volumes are arranged in this collection guide in two series: sets of notebooks, and single volumes. The items in the sets are linked by common themes or bodies of knowledge, and range from two to eleven volumes. They include collections of works by one physician, as well as sets of manuals and lecture notes on topics such as obstetrics and gynecology, metallurgy, opthalmology, pox and skin diseases, and others. Single volumes are housed after the sets.

All titles are taken when possible from the covers or from section headings; approximate translations in English provided by library staff and are in brackets. Titles and significant names are also given in Japanese characters.

Each volume has been assigned a unique institutional identifier.

Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Folder

Insurance policies, deeds of trust, and land plats pertaining to Bellevue property and W.R. Abbot's property elsewhere in Virginia and in Kansas City; legal papers of Ellen Abbot's pre-Civil War residence in Georgetown; records of W.R. Abbot's partnership with J.P. Holcombe and his assumption of Bellevue subsequent to Holcombe's death; affidavits of family members recording receipt of inheritance; and original deeds of trust recording land grants made in Virginia to John B. Minor from Sir Thomas Carr of Topping Castle.

Collection

Charles L. Abernethy Sr. papers, 1713-1972, bulk 1907-1959 85 Linear Feet — 160 boxes; 2 oversize folders — Approximately 60,855 items

Charles L. Abernethy, Sr. (1872-1955) was a Democratic Congressman representing eastern North Carolina from 1922-1935. His professional papers consist chiefly of correspondence and records from his law practice and legal cases, with smaller amounts of writings and speeches, financial papers, printed materials, diaries, and some personal papers, including early deeds. There is also a large group of photographs, photo albums, and clippings scrapbooks chiefly documenting Abernethy's political career. One album from 1907 contains postcards of Beaufort, N.C.; another contains photographs of a three-month Congressional trip to Alaska, 1923, and includes images of President and Mrs. Harding and a diary transcript of the trip. Other items include some papers of his son, Charles Laban Abernethy, Jr., also a lawyer, and a volume of his poetry.

The collection principally comprises a large series of correspondence and legal records accumulated by North Carolina lawyer and politician Charles L. Abernethy, Sr. during his tenure as U.S. Congressman. There are papers relating to the senior Abernethy's law practice and business dealings in Beaufort and New Bern, N.C. (including legal papers concerning land development in Carteret County, Cape Lookout, and Horse Island maintained by both father and son).

Other materials include deeds and other early papers, political speeches, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks of Abernethy's political career, a diary, and the Abernethy coat-of-arms. There are also papers assembled by Abernethy's son, Charles L. Abernethy, Jr., a lawyer in his father's firm, and a volume of his poetry.

A lare group of photographs and albums includes a photograph album containing snapshots the elder Abernethy took during a congressional trip to Alaska for three months of 1923 (including photographs of President and Mrs. Harding), as well as a typescript of his diary from the trip; and an album containing postcards of Beaufort, N.C, in 1907, featuring a celebration of either the 200th anniversary of the town's founding or the opening of passenger and rail service to the town (or both).

Folder

Addition (2009-0183) (900 items; 1.2 lin. ft.; dated 1960s-2000s) includes manuscripts of essays and short stories; drafts of plays and accompanying production materials; research files and correspondence from Bingham's investigations into her family's history (1980s); notebooks and journals; and other miscellaneous materials.

Folder

Series contains letters to and from Amy Morris Bradley, related ephemera, notes and receipts, third-party correspondence about Bradley, and one folder of newspaper clippings. The majority of material relates to Bradley's time in Costa Rica, her work as a field nurse and for the U.S. Sanitary Commission during the Civil War, and her time as an educator in Wilmington, N.C.

In addition to family letters, there are several letters with soldiers and their relatives thanking her for her service. Included is a petition from 1865 signed by 320 soldiers recommended to the Secretary of War that Bradley be commissioned to major in the U.S. Army for her service. Clippings relate primarily to the Tileston Normal School, although some are also about Mary Hemenway, a benefactress of Tileston. Later correspondence comes from parents of students in Wilmington and from former students, many of whom maintained a close friendship with Bradley over many years. Ephemera includes programs of events at Tileston.

File
Box 1

Business correspondence concerning the sale of cotton, including commercial problems during the War of 1812, and particularly in Charleston, South Carolina. Includes an 1872 letter from Iredell Jones concerning his trial as a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Also includes some personal correspondence, primarily with the individuals John Dawson, Ladson, H. Cunningham, and B. W. Martin, and an anonymous individual identitified only as I.H.L.

Folder

The papers begin in 1736, when John Hall (ca. 1717-1790) and his brothers Henry and William become actively engaged in tobacco planting. The letters open with a land indenture of 1745 and continue as business correspondence with London, Annapolis, Baltimore, and local merchants and factories. Comment is made on salt as a necessity for plantation life in 1778 and 1782. An overseer's contract in 1764 gives details of plantation management and enslavement.

A letter is signed by John Hall of "Vineyard" on June 11, 1778. As a member of the Maryland Assembly, he discusses the check and balance theory as it was working out in the "young government" of Maryland, he mentions violent contests, the quit rents and state revenue, militia service, and the role of the governor. In 1787 "Publicanus" addresses the people of Anne Arundel Co. on the topic of paper money.

The will of John Hall (made in 1787) gives his estate as "Bachelor's Choice," on West River, and names his children and their families. Enslaved people are listed as part of the estate. Many of the later letters are from the families of Hall sibilings to William Henry Hall, son of John Hall. A series of law suits occurs in the 1790s as William Henry Hall settles his father's estate.

A letter dated Oct. 3, 1796, to William Henry Hall describes the life of an American seaman impressed into the British navy. Samuel Hopkins, a young Maryland plantation overseer, and John Wilson of Cheraw, S. C., comment in letters to Hall from 1810-1813 on cotton planting in S. C. Hopkins describes on July 1, 1810, a plot by enslaved people to rise against enslavers in the Marlboro District of S. C. In 1813 he writes of hiring a substitute for himself if drafted in the War of 1812. Among W. H. Hall's correspondents were William, John, David, and John G. Weems of Anne Arundel Co., relatives of Mason Locke ("Parson") Weems.

Folder

The bills and receipts contain many an "acct. sale" of tobacco, listing custom duties, charges, etc., in tobacco shipping. Estate inventories for Major Henry Hall, 1758, Thos. Lane, 1790-98, John Hall, 1795, and Mrs. Ruth Hall, 1803, include enslaved people and list possessions. Many mercantile and household accounts are included.

There are 7 volumes dated 1765-1902. Six are account books, two that belonged to John Hall and 4 to William Henry Hall. There is one volume that belonged to Harriet Hall.

File
Box 1

One letter from November 13, 1840, recently added to the original collection, was written from John Paup, Spring Hill Plantation, Hempstead county, Arkansas, to Edward Brodnax Hicks, his partner in the plantation and resident of Brunswick County, Virginia. His thee-page letter refers to the economics of enslaved labor and buying enslaved persons; illness and the deaths of enslaved persons on the plantation; the cotton crop, insurance, and prices; and the survey of the border between Arkansas and the Republic of Texas.

Collection

History of Medicine picture file, 1523-2002 and undated 16 Linear Feet — approximately 2400 items

Assembled by the staff of the Duke University Medical Library, the History of Medicine Picture File holds thousands of small and large images organized into series for individuals, places, and subjects related to the history of medicine and medical practice. The great majority portray notable physicians, scientists, naturalists, philosophers, and other individuals with important links to medicine. Places featured include hospitals and other institutions of medicine, and scenes in specific locations related to events in medical history. The subject categories cover many topics, with the largest groups including advertising, anatomy, caricatures, cartoons, pediatrics, physicians, and surgery. Predominant formats are engravings, lithographs, print materials (such as posters, clippings, and postcards), and many modern photographic reproductions of older works; there are also albumen photographs, negatives, slide reproductions, and other image formats found throughout the files. Forms part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Assembled by the staff of the Duke University Medical Library, the History of Medicine Picture File offers thousands of images of individuals, places, and subjects dating from the 1500s to 2002, with the great majority portraying physicians, scientists, nurses, and other individuals related to the history or practice of medicine. Places featured include hospitals and other institutions of medicine, and scenes related to events in medical history. Subject categories include advertising, anatomy, books, caricature, childbirth, embryology, medical instruments, pediatrics, physicians, and surgery, among many others.

Most of the images measure in size under 10x12 inches, but there are approximately 500 larger pieces. The predominant formats are engravings, lithographs, cartoons, clippings from magazines and newspapers, and modern photographic prints, but there are also albumen photographs and other image formats found throughout the files. Items were acquired by the Duke Medical Library from various sources over many decades and functioned as a vertical file for library students and researchers.

The oversize items range in size from 11x15 to 23x30 inches, and offer a varied assemblage of portraits, caricatures, posters, broadsides, and reproductions of artwork, in black-and-white and in color. Items include portraits and scenes with notable physicians; illustrations of various medical practices, procedures, and instruments; anatomical views, some possibly as early as the 17th century; medical advertisements and promotional literature; depictions of events in medical history in Europe and North America; caricatures; 20th century illustrations for book covers; and many other topics.

Images and prints are often accompanied by reproduction negatives and slides created by Medical Center Library staff. Many of the images in this collection were also scanned by Medical Library staff and are available through the Medical Center Library & Archives Duke Medicine Digital Repository database. For more information, please contact the History of Medicine Curator at the Rubenstein Library.

Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.