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PACSCL Hidden Collections Processing Project » Blog Archive » Week One of Processing

Week One of Processing

Written by Laurie Rizzo on November 4th, 2009

This past week I worked on two collections for Drexel University College of Medicine! The first one was a collection of scrapbooks by a man named Thomas Lindsley Bradford. Bradford was a homeopathic doctor who served as librarian at the Hahnemann College from 1894 until his death in 1918. The collection consisted of 36 bound volumes of his scrapbooks of biographical information about homeopathic physicians, with entries arranged alphabetically. Although the years have worn many bindings, torn some casings and the paper is wood pulp paper of the early 20th century (Very Brittle!!), the contents of the volumes are actually in excellent condition. On the title page of the volumes Bradford wrote, “They (the volumes) represent much labor, but it has been a labor of love.”

Unknown size: small.

It is clear from leafing through the volumes the great care he took in assembling them. Since the volumes were already in an intelligent order there was no arranging for me to do, description and creating the finding aid was the bulk of my work. For Bradford’s biography, he included an entry on himself in the scrapbooks. His entry had several magazine clippings of biographies about him. There were several photographs, one from his graduation in 1869,

Unknown size: small.

and then several portraits throughout the years and some candids of him outdoors. There was a photograph of his office and other ephemera -including his wedding announcement and change of office location cards. Upon his death, someone kindly included his obituary in the scrapbook, signed and dated the entry.

The second collection was partially processed when I started and was relatively small. Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen was a notable obstetrician and gynecologist, as well as a surgeon. She was active in the creation of the American Medical Women’s Association and was the association’s first President. She also developed a new surgical procedure for appendectomies and wrote an autobiography called “Petticoat Surgeon.” The collection is mostly her correspondence from missionaries, other physicians about the American Medical Association and later the American Women’s Medical Association and the funding of a new Medical Women’s Library. The papers also included many images, however, they were all medical related, so I will not show them here.

While Bradford’s collection was an excellent candidate for minimal processing, I think the Van Hoosen collection would have benefited from a more traditional processing plan. Regardless, these two collections which have valuable information for those interested in either general biographical information about homeopathic physicians or about women in medicine are now available to researchers, whereas these two great collections were previously inaccessible.


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