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John Shaw Billings Papers at New York Public Library [microform] 1854-1913
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Correspondence and papers relating to Billings' work with the United States Army Medical Department, 1861-1895; Johns Hopkins Hospital (especially building plans), 1873-1890; National Board of Health, 1879-1881; the 10th and 11th Census, University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Laboratory of Hygiene, 1890-1895; as first director of the New York Public Library, 1895-1913; Committee of Fifty on the Liquor Problem, 1893-1904; Carnegie Institute, 1902-1913; National Academy of Science, 1875-1911; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Family correspondence, including letters from Billings to his wife regarding his Civil War experiences; texts of lectures and addresses; notes; and miscellaneous papers. Also, scrapbooks about the Civil War, National Board of Health and health issues, 1861-1903; diaries; photographs and travel notebooks; and material about infectious diseases and epidemics. Correspondents include Alexander Agassiz, Alexander G. Bell, John Bigelow, Henry P. Bowditch, Henry C. Burdett, John L. Cadwalader, Andrew Carnegie, Melvil Dewey, Robert Fletcher, Francis Galton, Daniel C. Gilman, Silas W. Mitchell, William Pepper, Stephen Smith, and George Sternberg.

When John Shaw Billings left the Army in 1895 to become first a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter the director of the New York Public Library, he took with him many of his personal and professional papers. These records are now located in the New York Public Library. In 1969 Dr. Peter Olch, Deputy Chief of the History of Medicine Division, had many individual letters in the collection duplicated for the library; these now form MS C 276, "Correspondence in the New York Public Library, 1866-1913."

In 1983 the National Library of Medicine began a project to systematically acquire microfilm copies of almost all the Billings' papers in the New York Public Library. While it is the library's intention to acquire microfilm copies of most of the Billings' papers in the New York Public Library, certain material is of limited researcher value and will probably never be filmed.

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