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Cordell Historical Collection



Recollections of Slave Days and War Times
(Serialized in "Old Maryland" between May 1906 and May 1912)

 Historical Collections

Cordell Header
Dr. Cordell was a man of positive convictions, and was inclined to be rather intolerant of those who differed with him, but he always stood for righteousness, and for those things that were true and honest, and just and pure. We have sustained an irreparable loss. We may secure another librarian who shall be able to discharge the duties of the office efficiently; we may appoint another lecturer on the History of Medicine who shall be equally as satisfactory, but we cannot replace the loyalty, the enthusiasm, the altruism and the impelling personality that were combined in Professor Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell. 1

Patriotic citizen, physician, medical historiographer, teacher, public servant, Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell was born June 25, 1843, in Charlestown, West Virginia (then part of Virginia). The son of Rev. Dr. Levi O'Connor Cordell and Christine Turner Cordell, his early education began at Charlestown Academy and continued at the Episcopal High School of Alexandria, Virginia. His studies, however, became relegated to secondary importance due to the emerging drama being played out by a country tragically on the brink of division:

I was at school near Alexandria when the rumors of approaching war reached me. They stirred up a martial spirit in our quiet little community, a meeting was called on the bandy field and a military company was formed for practice in drill and the manual of arms. Two of us had had some experience in tactics in a company of "cadets" that had been formed at Charlestown and had been commanded by Col. Lawson Botts, a lawyer of the town. 2

This growing sentiment, at first a form of play-acting, became a very real and all-consuming fervor, fed by the common mind-set of the populace all around him:

The town was noted during the war for its devotion to the Southern cause and there was practically but one sentiment among the people ... A young man who in those days did not join the army risked his reputation, he became the subject of constant and unfavorable comment, he was pointed out on the street and was even liable to insult by his companions. The girls would scarcely associate with him and he became almost a social outcast. 3

Courtesy of the Virginia Military Institute Archives

The fire of this civic responsibility inflamed the heart of Cordell's spirit. Much to his great disappointment, however, his father disapproved of the boy's intention to enlist in the service of his home state. Enraged by his son's disobedient attempt to enlist, Rev. Cordell arrived first at the camp to which Eugene was enroute, and directed the captain there not to accept his son into the company's muster. But after several subsequent days at home, and a brief stint by Eugene in the "home guard," a non-combatant unit scouting for prowlers, contraband, and such, Cordell's father eventually relented. This consent paved the way for Eugene to enter the Virginia Military Institute. There his name joined those of other "temporary cadets," a class of non-matriculants who completed the basic training program that marked their entrance into the Confederate Army as enlisted soldiers. He went on to serve honorably from 1861 until 1865, working his way up to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in 1863. At Winchester, Virginia, on September 19, 1864 he shed his blood in action:

The sharpshooters were now near enough to make it decidedly unpleasant and it was only a few moments when a ball passed through my left boot, tearing the flesh from the leg. The limb was numbed but it was not very painful and I held my ground. A few minutes more and another ball buried itself in the left side of my abdomen. It must have been fired from a distance, else it would have gone through my body ... I became deathly sick and nauseated, and it was with difficulty that I maintained my position on my horse. I felt that my fighting days were over for that day at least, and most unwillingly rode off the field, clinging to my horse's neck. As I rode to the rear a third ball struck my left thigh, bruising it badly but not penetrating the flesh. 4

Eventually on March 2, 1865, his unit fell and surrendered, routed at the hands of superior Federal cavalry troops in action at Waynesboro. He and the rest of his fellow prisoners journeyed by railroad through Baltimore, where they spent two days at Fort McHenry, and thence by canal steamer to Fort Delaware in Delaware Bay, where they arrived on March 12. He remained imprisoned there for fifteen weeks, finally gaining his post-war release on June 19.


Maryland's unique border location, with its mixed sentiments devoted to each side, meant that its medical population, as well as its general citizenry, had contributed personnel to the ranks of both armies. While it is true that this duality certainly did prevail in the state, it also is interesting to observe from the college catalog of our medical school that in the years shortly after the war, the university considered itself a "Southern Institution," drawing most of its enrollment from the South. The catalog goes on to state that this geographic orientation very neatly correlated to the post-war emergence of Baltimore as a major Southern center, and the university had a right to consider itself the primary locale for Southern medical education. As further testimony, the catalog declares that the faculty all were natives of Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. As a Southern military veteran, then, Cordell would have been considered a most welcome, typical demographic subject when he entered our medical school in 1866. The program at that time was a two-year course of study, and he successfully received his M.D. at the Commencement held on March 5, 1868. His doctoral thesis is entitled "ANEURISM OF ABDOMINAL AORTA."

Following his graduation, Cordell held the position of "Clinical Clerk" in our University Hospital, for the period 1868-69, and subsequently went on to serve as attending physician in the Baltimore General Dispensary from 1869 until 1872. It was during this period that he served his first stint as Librarian at the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, a position he held from 1870-71, and which he later would resume from 1880-87. From our standpoint, that post is significant in that it prefigured the comparable one he later held for us.


While practicing medicine in Baltimore during the 1870's, Cordell became the close friend of Dr. Thomas A. Ashby, a native of Virginia, who also graduated from our medical school in 1873. In the ensuing years, the two became great friends and colleagues, and they eventually engaged in an editorial partnership to produce the Maryland Medical Journal. Ashby started the journal in 1877 in collaboration with Dr. H. E. T. Manning, another Southerner and 1869 graduate. Cordell became very interested in the journal during its infancy, contributing to it often. When Manning decided to retire after the first two years, the heavy editorial and financial responsibilities fell on Ashby's shoulders, and Cordell's aptitude and eagerness to step in as co-editor was indispensable in helping to salvage the journal's viability. Ashby wrote that Cordell:

Brought to the aid of the Maryland Medical Journal an invaluable assistance at that time. His work was painstaking and thorough. He was a ready writer and compiler, and had literary gifts of a high order. He attached the greatest importance to little details, and would worry more over a misplaced comma or small typographical error than over a poor article or indifferent society report. He was a most conscientious worker and always had at heart what he thought was for the best interests of the medical profession. His sole idea was to advance the standards of his profession, and to this end he was ever willing to sacrifice all of his personal interests. 5

This commitment of Cordell to the high standards of the medical profession began with his attention to medical education. His efforts at lengthening the program of medical study from two to three years complemented his work in advocating an examination procedure for testing the preliminary education of entering medical students. Still further, his efforts at organizing meetings among our several local medical colleges to review and improve their programs led to similar regional and national sessions and ultimately, to the founding of the Association of American Medical Colleges in 1876.

In related endeavors, Cordell's sense of responsibility toward the betterment of society found expression in a variety of other professional and benevolent interests. He served as President of the Hospital Relief Association for several years. Additionally, he founded the Home for Incurables, as well as the Home for Widows and Orphans of Physicians. Holding office in many of the local medical societies, he eventually rose to the position of President of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, serving in that post from 1903-04.



However, it is undeniably true that education, writing, and publishing truly were Cordell's most favorite outlets, remaining even more fulfilling pursuits than was his medical practice. In spite of the disruption in the structure of his own early education, he later pursued learning on his own. He acquired proficiency in German and Latin, and nurtured a deep love of the classics. Throughout his professional career, it was never enough for him merely to know his learned subjects just for the sake of the knowing, but to share and foster among the rest of society the same appreciation for the invaluable whole experience of education. In 1882, his commitment to education assumed a new dimension when he co-founded the Woman's Medical College of Baltimore, where for several years he was Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics. In later years, he went on to edit the medical society bulletin at that same institution.



Yet in most things, certainly in publication endeavors, the warmest recesses of his heart cradled his profound love for his alma mater the University of Maryland. Even before his eventual appointment to the faculty of the University, he penned his HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND in 1891. This initial venture into historiography grew into a two-volume expanded version in 1907, his UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, 1807-1907, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the University's founding. These served to document the great importance of our institution, defining its place in the medical history of our state. This portrait was his final brush-stroke to the earlier work that marked his greatest legacy to the University, the state, and the profession at large. His passionate interest in, and aptitude for, painstaking historical research were most profoundly apparent in his magnum opus, the MEDICAL ANNALS OF MARYLAND, published in 1903.


Appearing in conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the MEDICAL ANNALS is a huge, 889-page exhaustive compilation of the history of medicine in Maryland chronicling the period 1799-1899. It is the supreme testament to Cordell's competence as a historical researcher. The work begins with the history of Med-Chi, arranged as an annotated chronology. Included are narrative descriptions of major business transacted at the Society's annual meetings, and reports of official actions taken by their various Boards and Committees. Next comes a complete roster of members with detailed biographical entries including information about place of birth, educational background, professional positions, publications, and date of admission into the Society. This invaluable section affords the ideal snapshot of any given individual physician's professional career. Following this section, Cordell included another extensive chronology, this one featuring developments in Maryland medicine as they emerged parallel to the evolution of Med-Chi itself. Finally, the last principal section is a series of more detailed biographies, or "Memoirs," of selected major figures.

It was at the time of this publication that he formally joined the Faculty of the University of Maryland. Fresh from his accomplishment as Maryland's preeminent medical historiographer, it was all too fitting that he assume the position of Professor of the History of Medicine in 1903. Even more important for us, he simultaneously became Librarian as well. As an impeccable researcher, writer, and lover of the classics, this proved to be an especially poignant vocation:

The Library was the child of his old age and he regarded it with almost parental affection. He nursed and nourished it, treated its ailments and healed its bruises, set its fractures and sutured its wounds. He had an affectionate interest in each book and held many of them as beloved friends and companions. 6

He began with a collection of only a few hundred books, and worked diligently to increase its size and pertinence until the time of his death ten years later. Though not formally trained for the library profession, his appreciation and care for the collection set an unsurpassed standard for all who would follow. In this, as in all aspects of his career, the same determination and zeal for his adopted cause remained with Cordell throughout his life, and punctuated the boundless productivity of his accomplishments.


In all of that productivity, one constant characteristic was Cordell's dedication to the pursuit of the highest ideals. His earlier publishing efforts with T.A. Ashby found a new outlet here on our campus. In 1905, he gave birth to a new publication entitled OLD MARYLAND, a periodical he started as a forum to celebrate the many merits of his home institution. Through this new medium, he sought to elevate the University before his readership, to instill his same sense of pride, respect, and admiration in the hearts of all members of the institutional community. One very basic purpose he intended was for the journal to become a true unifier of the campus, and his commitment was to see to it that the separate schools, with their separate former identities and priorities, finally might evolve into one unified institution. Toward this end, he featured regular side-by-side contributions from members of all the schools, drawing on the themes which brought them together, and not which separated them.

The question of the organization of the Branch Alumni Associations is now engaging the attention of the authorities of the General Alumni Association, and it seems opportune to impress upon all the importance of keeping ever in view, in dealing with it, the University idea. We no longer can consent to be regarded as mere schools of medicine, law, dentistry, etc.; we have passed that period of swaddling clothes, and it is not only expedient that these associations shall be universal in their scope, but we think the alumni have a right to demand it. 7

But certainly, ideals alone cannot guarantee a solvent institution, and Cordell understood that as well. In spite of not being money-driven in his own personal temperament, he still hungered for the financial well-being of the University. As early as the mid-1890's, he joined with a handful of others in the Medical Alumni Association to establish a permanent endowment fund to benefit the School of Medicine. Later, in a 1909 address to the medical alumni, he victoriously congratulated their foresight which had begun as a separate school endeavor, but which by then had defined a new collaboration:

It was in 1893 that you resolved to enter upon this work and selected nine gentlemen to form a board of trustees of the Endowment Fund of the Faculty of Physic of the University of Maryland ... the year 1893 is therefore to be looked upon as the great year of your career -- the year in which you did something -- in which you took the first step towards university life. However, the project met with no immediate success ... We waited four long and anxious years before a cent was contributed. Then in a fit of desperation, you remember, we appealed to you directly, urging every plea that was likely to move your feelings and unlock your pursestrings. We thus succeeded in securing a small amount of cash and a few subscriptions. Insignificant though the results of our efforts were, the work had been started; we had founded the Fund! Five years later the little fund had grown to $2,463. By that time our thoughts had soared aloft and we had begun to think of a university; before that we had thought of ourselves only as a medical school; we were always the "doctors," never the "Varsity." A general alumni association was founded and as the School of Medicine had merged into a University so, by your action, the Board of Trustees became a University Board and obtained a new charter and the Fund became a University Fund. 8

With those words of acknowledgement just two years after the University's great Centennial Celebration, Cordell proclaimed the realization of his own personal and professional dream. As the voice of his beloved alma mater, OLD MARYLAND gave him the venue in which to publicize these jubilant stirrings of his own heart and soul, which he felt not merely for himself, but in the name of the University, a University which he now could applaud as whole and united.

But true to his never-wavering sense of the vital importance of history, he simultaneously enjoyed the chance to use OLD MARYLAND to share the merits of his own life experiences, again, hopefully to the betterment of all. As a nod to the tradition of the "Southern Institution" which the University earlier had declared itself to be, Cordell took advantage of the opportunity to offer a series of his own personal reminiscences, "Recollections of Slave Days and War Times," serialized over several of the volumes. He also included his "The Latin Classics" series, in which he extolled the merits of various ancient poets and playwrights. But while he assumed the leadership in its voice, he managed never to let OLD MARYLAND descend into his own personal self-serving soapbox. Much of its regular content was thanks to consistent input from the various Departments of Medicine, Law, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. Joining these as well were updates from St. John's College Department of Arts and Sciences, the institution which had absorbed those curricula from our University. He shaped the journal with his own particular touch, but in doing so, he made it a universal voice for the entire institution. In truth, the journal was his, because his life was the University's.

While still in service to the University, Cordell surrendered his life on August 27, 1913, when he succumbed to a cerebral embolism.

No man connected with the University of Maryland has done more for its advancement, and no man connected with its work in the past will live longer in its future life. 9
Search for Eugene F. Cordell's military record maintained at the THE VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE ARCHIVES


  1. Randolph Winslow, "Dr. Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell: A Sketch of His Life," Bulletin of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland 6 (1914) : 112.
  2. Eugene F. Cordell, "Recollections of Slave Days and War Times," Old Maryland 2 (1906) : 158.
  3. Eugene F. Cordell, "Recollections of Slave Days and War Times," Old Maryland 2 (1906) : 159.
  4. Eugene F. Cordell, "Recollections of Slave Days and War Times," Old Maryland 7 (1911) : 142.
  5. Thomas A. Ashby, "Personal Reminiscences of Dr. E. F. Cordell," Bulletin of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland 6 (1914) : 113.
  6. Randolph Winslow, "Dr. Eugene Fauntleroy Cordell: A Sketch of His Life," Bulletin of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland 6 (1914) : 111.
  7. Eugene F. Cordell, Old Maryland 4 (1908) : 72.
  8. Eugene F. Cordell, Old Maryland 5 (1909) : 70-71.
  9. Thomas A. Ashby, "Personal Reminiscences of Dr. E. F. Cordell," Bulletin of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland 6 (1914) : 114.

The Cordell Collection, containing 3,885 volumes, is the largest of the Library's several Historical Collections. Its scope covers the full spectrum of the medical sciences, with holdings in a variety of languages and spanning several chronological periods.

Documental histories of the Library relate the fact that campus departmental libraries other than medicine, most especially Dentistry and Pharmacy, underwent a series of merged and separated configurations throughout our institutional history. Through all those changes, the volumes that we now call the Cordell Collection, along with the founding Crawford Collection, remained the core of what continued as the Medical Library. Under our present multi-disciplinary arrangement, with all our various schools represented, the Cordell Collection is the one principally associated with the various branches of medicine.

In the earliest years from 1813 until 1903, the care of the slowly-evolving Medical Library was haphazard, and its housing accommodations were inconsistent. For a time, the volumes were kept in a branch of the hospital, and the hospital druggist functioned as the librarian.

Then in 1903, Eugene Cordell was appointed to the official position of Librarian, and he described the state of the Library as having been "relegated to dust and neglect." 1 Even though he did not hold formal training in the field of librarianship, he assumed the role of librarian. Under his curatorship and especially in light of his own propensity toward scholarship and learning, the Library grew in size and institutional significance. That growth meant that eventually it exceeded the limited bounds of its quarters in the medical college building -- the building we now know as Davidge Hall.


To address the need for more appropriate Library accommodations, the University purchased in 1905 a church building located on the southeast corner of Lombard and Greene Streets. This church originally belonged to the West Baltimore Methodist Protestant Church, who built it in 1843. They later sold it to the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, South, sometime around 1880 or 81. From 1905 up until 1957, the church building was the first University edifice to bear the name of Davidge Hall. Initially the home of the University's various united libraries, the Davidge Hall church building witnessed the subsequent departure of the Dental Library in 1926, and Pharmacy in 1927, as those schools continued to grow and nurture a preference for their own libraries, a move indicative of a trend toward increased specialization and decentralization. But even with that change in its scope, Davidge Hall continued to house the Medical Library in uninterrupted fashion.


However, the move toward an eventual re-integration began in 1938, with the appointment of a Director of Libraries for the entire University of Maryland, with responsibility for all libraries within the system. Nursing entered the Library fold in the 1940's, and the University's Psychiatric Institute emerged in 1953. These additions pointed out the need for re-combined administrative control over separate libraries that were outgrowing their individual spaces scattered across campus. The University recognized its need to raze the church building in 1957, in order to propel the Medical Library, along with its soon-to-be reunited other family members, into the new era of a modern facility. After two years under construction, the new Health Sciences Library opened on July 28, 1960. The Cordell Collection, with its sibling collections alongside, assumed its fitting place in the Historical Collections Room on the second floor.

divider3 Collection Highlights


The collection celebrates much of the University of Maryland's institutional history. The works of many past faculty members are held here, and of particular interest is this source, the University's institutional "birth certificate":


And from those earliest years, the works of John B. Davidge and James Cocke enjoy their rightful place among the Cordell holdings. Both of these men were original faculty members of the College of Medicine of Maryland, the parent institution of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition, Davidge served as its first dean.



Davidge, a native of Annapolis, Maryland, came to Baltimore in 1796, a few years after earning his M.D. from the University of Glasgow. He began offering private lectures for medical students in 1802, and it is those sessions that paved the way for the founding of the College of Medicine. Throughout his career, he earned respect as an upright man of high character, a capable and practiced surgeon, and a most knowledgeable lecturer. Our holdings include his doctoral thesis on the subject of menstruation, printed for publication in Birmingham, England in 1794. In later years, he published his NOSOLOGIA, of which this is the second edition. His classification of diseases contained in this volume received high praise from his peers, who found it superior in several ways to the similar work by the renowned William Cullen, then being taught in many medical school curricula.



James Cocke, a native of Virginia and co-founder of the College of Medicine with Davidge, held the joint Professorship of Anatomy, Surgery, and Physiology along with him. Cocke and Davidge had been practicing and lecturing in partnership during the time leading up to the founding. Cocke's educational background includes study under the renowned Sir Astley Cooper in London, from 1801-02. This is his 1804 doctoral dissertation from the University of Pennsylvania. According to Eugene Cordell's biography of Cocke in AMERICAN MEDICAL BIOGRAPHIES, this work "attracted considerable attention from its bold and original views," 2 and it enjoyed a reprinting in 1806.



Nathaniel Potter, also a co-founder of the College of Medicine, held the position of Chair, Theory and Practice of Medicine. Highly respected as a teacher and writer, Potter was the first historian of the University, through the publication of his SOME ACCOUNT OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND. In this work, he opens with a description of the endeavors of Davidge and the private lecture series that led to the founding of the institution. Potter cites the incident of a local mob that stormed and destroyed Davidge's house when the rumors circulated among the populace about the local physicians who were engaging in the detestable practice of anatomical dissection. That disaster significantly inspired the quest to establish a formal institution guided by a charter and approved by the state. Potter delineates the challenges of the handful of dedicated men who confronted both the need for costly personal financial investment, and the limitations of poor facilities during a time of humble beginnings. Much of Potter's book then proceeds to chronicle the darkest period in the University's history, when the State Legislature in 1825 issued a "Supplement" to the original charter, which nearly destroyed the institution by effectively invalidating all the authority that the original founders had established. This legislation empowered a Board of Trustees, none of whom were physicians or educators, to wrest control and governance of the school away from the original Regents who had financed its birth with their own meager resources, and nurtured its adolescence through the merits of their own scientific credentials. Certainly, their professional and educational reputations suffered great discredit in the process. Finally, after several years of administrative and legal entanglements, during which there were two separate rival medical schools, the courts decreed in 1839 the unconstitutionality of the 1825 legislation, and the Regents successfully reclaimed their authority.




Nathan Ryno Smith, born in 1797 of distinguished New England parentage, was the son of Nathan Smith the Elder, founder of medical schools at both Dartmouth and Yale. The younger Smith earned his M.D. at Yale in 1823, and later ventured southward to Philadelphia, where he accepted an invitation to assume the Chair of Anatomy at the new Jefferson Medical College. But in 1827, a vacancy in the Chair of Surgery at the University of Maryland beckoned him still farther away from his native New England, and he happily remained here for the rest of his life and career. Nathan Ryno Smith, whose commanding presence and gentlemanly manner earned him the nickname "The Emperor," guided the medical school's Department of Surgery for the next fifty years. During that time, he devoted thirty years to the development and perfection of what he considered to be his greatest surgical accomplishment, the invention of his anterior splint. He completed the creation of this instrument in 1860 and published this work in 1867, describing its uses and applications.



Robley Dunglison was born in England in 1798. As was true for many of his peers, his educational background included study at the University of Edinburgh. In a more unique circumstance, however, he received his M.D. from the University of Erlangen in Germany. His American career originated at the University of Virginia, where he was one of seven men invited to comprise the founding faculty of its medical school. At its opening session in 1825, Dunglison held the position of Professor of Anatomy and Medicine. From then until 1833, his curricula expanded to encompass such subjects as Physiology, Materia Medica, Pharmacy & Histology, Medical Jurisprudence, and the History of Medicine. In 1833, Dunglison departed Virginia to become Professor of Materia Medica, Hygiene, and Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Maryland. In addition, he served as the Dean of the medical school from 1834-35. He later moved on to the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where he remained for the rest of his career. An extremely prolific writer, Dunglison wrote extensively on countless topics ranging from the practice of medicine, to more esoteric themes such as road building, Greek and Roman geography, and German poetry. But his medical dictionary is perhaps his most enduring piece, enjoying a long and celebrated history of more than 20 editions.



Horatio Gates Jameson, originally from York, Pennsylvania, was an 1813 graduate of our medical school, who went on to a career as an esteemed surgeon, physician, and author. Among his many surgical accomplishments, two of his best-known achievements are the complete extirpation of the upper jaw (1820), and the removal of a cervix uteri (1824). As editor of the MARYLAND MEDICAL RECORDER, he had a ready forum in which to report his results on various occasions. In addition, he published significant contributions in the AMERICAN MEDICAL RECORDER. The MARYLAND MEDICAL RECORDER began with this issue for September 1829, and ended in November 1832. Several of his peers cited his highly commendable efforts editing the journal, which came to its end chiefly as a result of financial circumstances. In another venture, because he was unable to obtain a faculty position in the medical school during the period of the University's split by the Legislature, he joined with several other physicians in establishing a separate school in Baltimore known as the Washington Medical College. The weakening of the University of Maryland as a result of the division suggested to Jameson and the others an advantageous time in which to pursue the establishment of a rival institution. After being denied a charter by the state of Maryland, the group appealed to Washington College, a small liberal arts college in Washington, Pennsylvania, who authorized them to establish their medical school in Baltimore under its charter. The College opened for the 1827-28 session, with Jameson as Professor of Surgery and Surgical Anatomy. Jameson's other works among the Cordell holdings include his TREATISE ON EPIDEMIC CHOLERA and THE AMERICAN DOMESTICK MEDICINE, OR, MEDICAL ADMONISHER.



As another example of a publication with state and institutional significance, the Cordell Collection also holds the MARYLAND MEDICAL AND SURGICAL JOURNAL. This periodical, an official publication of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, enjoyed only a short life, beginning in October 1839, and ending in June 1843. Several of the editorial board members were both alumni and faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. A few were graduates of the University of Pennsylvania, but their ties with the Washington University School of Medicine place them in conjunction with the University of Maryland -- Washington University became part of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore, which in turn merged with the University of Maryland.



Ephraim McDowell, the great surgeon universally called "The father of ovariotomy," attended medical school lectures at the University of Edinburgh during the sessions 1793-94. However, standard secondary sources give no evidence of any formal degree awarded to McDowell following his tenure at Edinburgh. Eventually, in recognition of his great 1809 achievement in the first full removal of an ovarian tumor, the University of Maryland awarded to him an honorary M.D. in 1825.



John Ruhräh earned his M.D. at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Baltimore in 1894. He later held the position of Clinical Professor of Diseases of Children at that institution, and following its merger with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1916, he became Professor of Pediatrics. A great man, tall in stature, Ruhräh inspired and enjoyed the utmost love and respect of all whom he encountered. A lasting friendship with the revered Sir William Osler fostered his interest in medical history, giving rise to this book and extending also into many of his other endeavors. President of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, as well as such other national organizations as the American Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, his professional reputation truly was widespread. Fittingly, he also was President of the Medical Library Association, and first editor of the BULLETIN OF THE MEDICAL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION.


The following are a few examples of Continental European works:



Historians generally agree that this masterpiece of Caelius Aurelianus represents the pinnacle of medical literature from the Roman era. The author was born in Numidia, on the northern coast of Africa, the area now occupied by modern-day Tunisia and Algeria. He based his work on the earlier writings of Soranus, a leader in the Methodist movement of medicine. While some critics denounced his linguistic style, his systematic description of the diseases of each organ throughout the body, combined with his comprehensive discussion of their etiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment are of the highest caliber. He represents a level of clarity and detail not seen in any other medical writer of antiquity.



Originally published in 1609, the OBSERVATIONS DIVERSES SUR LA STERILITE, PERTE DE FRUICT, FOECONDITE, ACCOUCHEMENTS, ET MALADIES DES FEMMES, & ENFANTS NOUVEAUX NAIZ, by Louise Bourgeois, is the first book on obstetrics written by a midwife. Bourgeois was in service to the French court and attended Marie de Medici during all six of her labors. She was one of the pioneers in the development of the scientific techniques of midwifery, and this work was the core practice handbook for the period. It later appeared in a 1659 English version as THE COMPLEAT MIDWIFE'S PRACTICE.



Extremely prolific, Lorenz Heister was equally renowned as a practitioner, a founding figure in the science of surgery in eighteenth century Germany. His huge catalog of published works appeared in various foreign languages, a true statement of the continental significance he enjoyed. Heister's Anatomy first appeared in 1717, and editions continued well up into the 1760's.




Thomas Willis was one of the most highly respected clinicians of his age. He ranks with other English giants such as Thomas Sydenham and William Heberden as the finest proponents of close and careful clinical observation. In his CEREBRI ANATOME, included in this volume of his collected works, he classified the cerebral nerves, which continued as the definitive description for over a century, and the accessory nerve (nervus accessorius) also carries his name. In DE FEBRIBUS, he first described epidemic typhoid fever, as it was occurring throughout the troops in the English Parliamentary Wars. Still another of his accomplishments is his discovery of the phenomenon known as "paracusis," in which a patient is able to hear only in the presence of loud noise.

Along with our example from Caelius, this book joins many others from the period, with their neoclassical frontispiece illustrations, as outstanding examples of the flavor of the age. Medicine here offers itself as a fitting corollary to the English literary world dominated by Augustan poets such as John Dryden and Alexander Pope.



As one might expect with any reputable historical medical collection, ours includes the writings of the great John Hunter, the most dominant figure in 18th Century surgery, who elevated the field from merely a treatment technique to a full branch of medical science. This is one of his four great signature works. In subsequent years, Philippe Ricord became the foremost authority on venereal diseases after Hunter. Ricord's additional investigations led him to overturn portions of Hunter's work, correcting the former by concluding that syphilis and gonorrhea are separate diseases.



Ricord's "chancre" is the term commonly associated with the initial lesion of syphilis, and Ricord differentiated the disease into its three stages.




Like his older brother John, Charles Bell was an extremely skilled artist, in addition to being an accomplished physician. As an example, this book includes engravings made from his original drawings.

Charles also collaborated on John's volume devoted to the heart and arteries, by contributing all the drawings for that work as well. Knighted under William IV, Charles gained international renown for his study of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system. It is his name that we associate with the facial paralysis known as Bell's palsy.



  1. Eugene F. Cordell, University of Maryland 1807-1907 (New York: Lewis Pub. Co., 1907), 302.
  2. Howard A. Kelly and Walter A. Burrage, American Medical Biographies (Baltimore: Norman, Remington Co., 1920), 233.
Last edited on: Wednesday, February 5, 2020