The Josiah C. Trent papers consist mostly of correspondence, photographs, research files, and notes and drafts of published and unpublished research and articles. Many of these materials concern Dr. Trent's activities and publications as a collector and historian of medical practice, particularly surgery and epidemiology. The collection also includes printed materials, photographs, a card file - possibly of his personal library, and lecture notes taken during his medical training, as well as diplomas and certificates of residency. The Writings series reveals his wide interests in surgery, medicine in general, the humanities, and medical history.
There is also material relating to Dr. Trent's death and the subsequent donation of his large rare book, artifact, and manuscript collection to the Duke Medical Center Library. Early dates in the collection refer to the content of reproductions of 16th-19th century medical illustrations rather than their dates of reproduction.
The correspondence, found in the Subject Files folders, dates mostly from the 1940s and 1950s, documenting Dr. Trent's rare book and manuscript collecting, and his involvement with various professional organizations and his association and friendships with prominent figures in various fields: medical history - John Fulton, Henry Sigerist, W. W. Francis; book collecting - Henry Schuman; Duke University - Wilburt Davison, Lenox D. Baker. Some folders contain an index of the contents.
There is also some information concerning Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, Dr. Trent's wife, who was instrumental in facilitating the support of the history of medicine collections at Duke.
The collection also contains several hundred photographic prints and negatives reproducing medical texts and illustrations dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. The earliest dates in the collection refer to the content of the images, rather than their reproduction by Dr. Trent, Duke Medical Library staff, and others, in the mid-20th century.
The files were kept in Dr. Trent's medical office and contain relatively few items which pertain to his private life. Items of a more personal nature may be found in the James H. and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Family Papers in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.