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Julian A. Sterling collection related to S. Weir Mitchell

Ms. Coll. 1271

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Sterling, Julian A.
Title:
Julian A. Sterling collection related to S. Weir Mitchell
Date [inclusive]:
1859-1973
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1271
Extent:
0.2 linear foot (1 box)
Language:
English
Abstract:
Julian A. Sterling (1913-1975) was a physician at the Albert Einstein Medical Center and was Chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1961 to 1964. Sterling was influenced by the work of S. Weir Mitchell (1829-1914), an American physician and author. This collection, created by Julian A. Sterling, contains copies or reprints of articles by and about S. Weir Mitchell, a bibliography of S. Weir Mitchell's work, a biography of Mitchell, correspondence to and from Julian A. Sterling concerning matters related to Mitchell, and two plaques which may be maquettes for larger sculptures or reliefs.
Cite as:
Julian A. Sterling collection related to S. Weir Mitchell, 1859-1973, Ms. Coll. 1271, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Julian A. Sterling (1913-1975) was born in Philadelphia to Alexander Sterling and Elsie Walkowitz. Sterling’s parents were of Russian-Jewish descent. Julian A. Sterling had four siblings-- Ada, Alexander, Elsie, and Elizabeth-- and was married in 1942 to Reba M. Shaffer. A physician at the Albert Einstein Medical Center, which was founded in 1865 in Philadelphia, Sterling was Chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1961 to 1964. Sterling published a number of scholarly papers on such subjects as congenital biliary atresia, obstruction to the bile duct, transplant of thyroid gland using vascular anastomoses, chronic perennial asthma, and urachus lesions. Julian A. Sterling was influenced by the work of S. Weir Mitchell, as evidenced by this collection of material he amassed related to Mitchell.

S. (Silas) Weir Mitchell was born in Philadelphia in 1829. In 1844, he entered the University of Pennsylvania, though he did not graduate as a result of health problems. He then studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College, from which he graduated in 1850. He joined his father’s medical practice in Philadelphia in 1851, and was elected a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1853. He became a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1856. During the Civil War, Mitchell served as an acting assistant surgeon for the Union army at Turner’s Lane Hospital in Philadelphia. As a result of this experience, he co-authored two books on neurology and continued to focus on that specialty. In the 1870s, Mitchell’s medical research and writing focused increasingly on rest in the treatment of disease. He also lectured on this topic at the Infirmary for Nervous Diseases of the Orthopedic Hospital in Philadelphia, where he worked for 40 years. In 1875, Mitchell became a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. As a trustee, he worked to raise funds for the medical school, particularly for the department of hygiene, and for a library. He also served on the Seybert Commission, convened by the University and active from 1884 to 1887, which investigated spiritualism. It is believed that Mitchell's work served as inspiration for Sigmund Freud's practices and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper."

In addition to his medical career, Mitchell also wrote fiction. In 1866, Mitchell published his first story anonymously in The Atlantic Monthly. Mitchell’s novelettes and historical novels began to appear in the 1880s, as did his first volume of poetry. Some of his novels first appeared serially in  The Atlantic Monthly and  The Century Magazine. He had also been publishing poems in magazines since the 1860s.

Mitchell married Mary Middleton Elwyn in 1858 and they had two sons, John Kearsley Mitchell, born in 1859, and Langdon Elwyn Mitchell, born in 1862. His wife died of diphtheria that same year. In 1875, Mitchell married his second wife, Mary Cadwalader.

Scope and Contents

This collection, created by Julian A. Sterling, is primarily composed of articles by and about S. Weir Mitchell. The articles in the collection are copies, or re-prints, of published articles. Articles by S. Weir Mitchell cover such subjects as the effects of Anhelonium Lewinii (also known as Anhalonium lewinii), the effects of poisons, Civil War medicine, reflex paralysis, and a patient case study.

Articles concerning S. Weir Mitchell contained here reference his connection to the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Hospital and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases, and the Rittenhouse Club.

Also contained within the collection is a bibliography of S. Weir Mitchell's work by Jacob Blanck, as well as a biography of Mitchell by John Gordon Gray, past president of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia.

There is also correspondence to and from Julian A. Sterling-- with Mrs. L. M. Holloway, Curator, College of Physicians of Philadelphia; and with Samuel X. Radbill-- concerning matters related to S. Weir Mitchell.

Finally, there are two plaques in the collection, which may be maquettes for larger sculptures or reliefs, made in connection with Mitchell’s role as President of Franklin Inn Club from 1902 to 1914.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2017 February 14

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Alexandra M. Wilder

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

At the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Silas Weir Mitchell collection, 1888-1930, MSS 2/0241-04

At the University of Pennsylvania, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, S. Weir Mitchell collection, 1861-1935, Ms. Coll. 413.

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Articles
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
Geographic Name(s)
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Personal Name(s)
  • Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914
Subject(s)
  • Medicine
  • Medicine, Military
  • Physicians as authors
  • Physicians--United States

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Collection Inventory

I. Articles by S. Weir Mitchell, 1859-1971.

Box Folder

"Remarks on the Effects of Anhelonium Lewinii (the Mescal Button)," by S. Weir Mitchell, The British Medical Journal, 1896 December 5.

1 1

"Nerves, Peripheral, and Otherwise," by S. Weir Mitchell, Mayo Clinic Proceedings (two copies), 1971 April.

1 1

"Experimental Researches Relative to Corroval and Vao-- Two New Varieties of Woorara, the South American Arrow Poison," By S. Weir Mitchell and William A. Hammond, The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 1859 July.

1 1

"On the Growth of the Nails as a Prognostic Indication in Cerebral Paralysis," by S. Weir Mitchell, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1870 December 15.

1 1

"The Medical Department in the Civil War," by S. Weir Mitchell, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1914 May 9.

1 1

"Mary Reynolds: A Case of Double Consciousness," by S. Weir Mitchell, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1888 April 4.

1 1

"Some Personal Recollections of the Civil War," by S. Weir Mitchell, Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1905 April 5.

1 1

"Reflex Paralysis, the Result of Shot Wounds," by S. Weir Mitchell, George R. Morehouse, and William W. Keen, Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, Part Third, Surgical Volume, 1864 March 10.

1 1

Letter from Esther E. Rohlader, Army Librarian to Julian A. Sterling regarding "Reflex Paralysis" article, 1971 May 21.

1 1

Notes by Julian A Sterling regarding S. Weir Mitchell's writings, undated.

1 1

II. Articles about S. Weir Mitchell, 1970-1973.

Box Folder

"Osler and Philadelphia," by Fred B. Rogers (pages from a printed book or journal, unidentified), undated.

1 2

"S. Weir Mitchell and the Ghosts," by William K. Beatty, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (two copies), 1972 April 3.

1 2

Letter from William K. Beatty to Julian A. Sterling regarding JAMA article, 1972 May 25.

1 2

Picture and caption of the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Hospital and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases, Philadelphia Medicine, 1971 June 20.

1 2

"Join Any Good Clubs Lately?" by Anne Winkelman, Philadelphia Magazine, 1971.

1 2

Copy of review by Julian A. Sterling of S. Weir Mitchell biography, submitted for publication in International Surgery, 1970 October 19.

1 2

III. Biography and bibliography of S. Weir Mitchell, 1914-1971.

Box Folder

List of texts by Silas Weir Mitchell, 1864-1897, 1971 May 6.

1 3

Silas Weir Mitchell entry in the Bibliography of American Literature, by Jacob Blanck, 1973.

1 3

Biography of S. Weir Mitchell by John Gordon Gray, past president of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia, 1914 February 28.

1 3

IV. Correspondence to and from Julian A. Sterling, 1970-1971.

Box Folder

Letter from Mrs. L. M. Holloway, Curator, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, regarding S. Weir Mitchell books, 1970 July 27.

1 4

Letter from Samuel X. Radbill regarding S. Weir Mitchell, 1971 June 12.

1 4

Letter from Julian A. Sterling to father regarding S. Weir Mitchell auction (reprographic copy), 1971 December .

1 4

V. Plaques of bust of S. Weir Mitchell, president of Franklin Inn Club from 1902-1914 (two plaques), circa 1915.

Box
1
Folder
5-6