Lyman Spalding papers
The Lyman Spalding papers, 1798-1912 (inclusive), 1798-circa 1820 (bulk), contain correspondence of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, physician Lyman Spalding (1775-1821) with medical colleagues concerning public health issues, patient case histories, and his appointments and lecturing. Topics covered include smallpox vaccination and requests for cowpox matter, treatment of rabies and other diseases, his medical practice in New Hampshire, establishing a national Pharmacopœia, and exchange of bills of mortality. Also includes manuscripts of addresses on fever, and manuscripts and notes concerning medical and surgical cases, such as midwifery and yellow fever. There is also a small collection of correspondence and manuscripts of Spalding's grandson, James Alfred Spalding (1846-1938), a physician in Portland, Maine.
- 1798-1912 (inclusive),
- Majority of material found within 1798- 1820 .
- Spalding, Lyman, 1775-1821. (Person)
Language of Materials
Papers are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The Boston Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.
Extent0.84 cubic feet (3 flat storage boxes)
The Lyman Spalding papers, 1798-circa 1820 (inclusive), undated, contain correspondence of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, physician Lyman Spalding (1775-1821) with medical colleagues concerning public health issues, patient case histories, and his appointments and lecturing. Topics covered include smallpox vaccination and requests for cowpox matter, treatment of rabies and other diseases, his medical practice in New Hampshire, establishing a national Pharmacopœia, and exchange of bills of mortality. Also includes manuscripts of addresses on fever, and manuscripts and notes concerning medical and surgical cases, such as midwifery and yellow fever. There is also a small collection of correspondence and manuscripts of Spalding's grandson, James Alfred Spalding (1846-1938), a physician in Portland, Maine.
Correspondents in the the collection include Harvard Medical School Professor Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), Dartmouth Medical School founder Nathan Smith (1762-1829), and Thomas Tickell Hewson (1773-1848), president of the College of Physicians in Philadelphia. Topics of letters include use of skullcap in treating rabies bites, obtaining cowpox matter for smallpox vaccination, and activities of the New Hampshire Medical Society. There is also correspondence with local New Hampshire physicians who sought Spalding's opinion on patient cases.
Manuscripts of Spalding include his medical writings on influenza, smallpox vaccination, rabies symptoms, and the efficacy of ergot; case histories of patients suffering from bone necrosis, cataracts, and problematic childbirth; and bills of mortality for Portsmouth.
There is also a small amount of correspondence and manuscripts generated by Lyman Spalding's grandson, James Alfred Spalding (1846-1938), consisting of letters to officials in Trinidad regarding a correspondent of Lyman Spalding named J.O. Champion, and transcriptions of Lyman Spalding's writings and other medical articles.
Papers are entirely in English.
Lyman Spalding (1775-1821), M.B., honorary M.D., Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, practiced medicine in New Hampshire and New York. He was noted by contemporaries for his work in smallpox vaccination, treatment of yellow fever, and study of anatomy. Spalding taught chemistry at Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire and Fairfield Medical College, Fairfield, New York for several years. He also founded the Pharmacopoeia of the United States of America.
Lyman Spalding was born on June 5, 1775, in Cornish, New Hampshire, to Elizabeth (1734-1816) and Dyer Spalding (1732-1814). He was educated at Charlestown Academy in Charlestown, New Hampshire, and thereafter enrolled in medical lectures at Harvard, where he studied under John Warren (1753-1815), Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), and Aaron Dexter (1750-1829). He was the twenty-second graduate of the Harvard Medical School in 1797. Physician Nathan Smith (1762-1829) was a mentor to Spalding in his youth, and after graduating Harvard, Spalding moved back to New Hampshire to help Smith found Dartmouth Medical School in 1797. He was a lecturer there in chemistry, and he also established a medical practice in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
In 1800, Spalding resigned from his full-time lectureship at Dartmouth to focus on his medical practice, although he continued to teach part time until 1802. He received cowpox matter from Harvard Medical School Professor Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), who introduced smallpox vaccination in the United States, and in 1800, Spalding became the first physician in New Hampshire to vaccinate patients against smallpox. He also initiated an annual bill of mortality for the Portsmouth population.
Spalding was elected to the New Hampshire Medical Society in 1801, and in 1811 he served as its vice president. He extended his education in surgery and dissection while attending lectures held by the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the winter of 1809-1810. Spalding moved his practice and his family to New York City in 1816 and began giving lectures at Fairfield Medical College. In 1817, at meeting of the New York County Medical Society, Spalding proposed that a national pharmacopoeia, a collection of national prescription and materia medica (pharmacy) standards, be assembled. The United States Pharmacopoeia was published in 1820.
Spalding married Elizabeth Coues (1779-1838) in 1802, and they had five children: Elizabeth Spalding (1803-1878); Adelaide Spalding Foster (1805-1898); Lyman Dyer (1810-1892); Alfred Peter (1815-1844); and Edward Jenner (1819-1833). Spalding was injured by falling building debris while walking in New York in 1821. He never regained full health, and after traveling to Portsmouth on October 17, 1821, he fell ill and died on October 21, 1821.
James Alfred Spalding (1846-1938), A.B., 1866, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; M.D., 1870, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, was a grandson of Lyman Spalding. He lived and practiced ophthalmology and otology in Portland, Maine, and authored a biography of Lyman Spalding in 1916.
Series in the Collection
- I. Correspondence of Lyman Spalding, 1798-1819, undated
- II. Manuscripts of Lyman Spalding, 1802-circa 1820, undated
- III. Correspondence and manuscripts of James Alfred Spalding, 1911-1912, undated
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Lyman Spalding papers were gifted to the Boston Medical Library by Dorothy Foster Stewart in 1965.
Collections and items have been digitized with the generous support of The Polonsky Foundation.
Resources about Lyman Spalding
- Horrocks, Thomas A. Spalding, Lyman. American National Biography Online, American National Biography Online: 2000.
- Spalding, James Alfred. Dr. Lyman Spalding : The originator of the United States pharmacopoeia. Boston: W.M. Leonard, 1916.
Processed by Brooke McManus, 2016 February.
The collection was previously arranged and cataloged by call numbers in five groupings: Correspondence from Lyman Spalding (B MS c2.1); correspondence to Lyman Spalding (B MS c2.2); correspondence to James Alfred Spalding (B MS c2.3); manuscripts and documents of Lyman Spalding (B MS c2.4); manuscripts of James Alfred Spalding (B MS c2.5).
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, rearranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access in 2016. Processing steps included integrating incoming and outgoing correspondence of Lyman Spalding, and creating series in the collection. Call numbers where extant were eliminated from the finding aid, but the folder titles, as previously devised by staff, were retained.
Please note the following abbreviations have been used in folder titles: "A.D." for autographed document; "A.L." for autographed letter; "A.L.s." for autographed letter signed; "A.M." for autographed manuscript; "A.M.s." for autographed manuscript signed; "MS.D.s." for manuscript document signed; "P.D.s." for printed document signed; "T.MS." for typed manuscript.
- Adams, Daniel, 1773-1864.
- Admission tickets.
- Alibert, Jean-Louis-Marie, 1768-1837.
- Aneurysm -- history.
- Autopsy -- history.
- Bartlett, Levi, 1763-1828.
- Bell, Charles, 1774-1842.
- Brackett, Joseph Warren, 1775-1826.
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District of the State of New-York.
- Dartmouth Medical School -- Faculty.
- Delivery of Healthcare -- history -- New Hampshire.
- Delivery, Obstetric.
- Foster, Samuel, 1789-1826.
- Herbs -- Therapeutic use -- History -- 19th century.
- Hewson, Thomas T.
- History of Medicine.
- Jewett, Luther, 1772-1860.
- Manuscripts (document genre).
- Materia Medica -- history.
- Materia medica.
- Medical Records.
- Medical care -- New Hampshire -- History -- 19th century.
- Medical records.
- Medicine -- Societies, etc.
- Medicine -- Study and teaching -- 19th century.
- Midwifery -- History -- 19th century.
- Mortality -- New Hampshire -- Portsmouth.
- Mortality -- history -- New Hampshire.
- New Hampshire Medical Society.
- New York (N.Y.).
- New York (N.Y.). Board of Health.
- New York County Medical Society.
- Physicians -- New Hampshire -- 19th century.
- Physicians' writings.
- Portsmouth (N.H.).
- Public health -- New Hampshire -- History -- 19th century.
- Rabies -- history.
- Rabies -- therapy.
- Ramsay, Alexander, 1754?-1824.
- Referral and Consultation.
- Schools, Medical -- history -- New Hampshire.
- Smallpox -- Prevention.
- Smallpox -- Vaccination -- History.
- Smallpox -- history.
- Smallpox -- prevention & control.
- Smith, Nathan, 1762-1829.
- Societies, Medical -- history.
- Spalding, James Alfred, 1846-1938.
- Spalding, Lyman, 1775-1821.
- Surgical Procedures, Operative.
- Tenney, Samuel, 1748-1816.
- Thurston, John, 1787-1835.
- United States. War Department.
- Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846.
- Williams, Stephen W. (Stephen West), 1790-1855.
- Yellow Fever -- history.
- Yellow fever -- History -- 19th century.
- Spalding, Lyman, 1775-1821. Papers, 1798-1912 (inclusive), 1798-circa 1820 (bulk): Finding Aid.
- Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
- Language of description
- Preservation and description was supported in part by the Arcadia-funded Colonial North American Project at Harvard University.
- EAD ID
Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository
The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.
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