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John Havelock Gunter notebooks

Ms. Coll. 1182

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

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Gunter, John Havelock, 1888-1949
John Havelock Gunter notebooks
1917-1948, undated
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1182
0.2 linear feet
This collection contains five notebooks kept by dentist John Havelock Gunter (1888-1949) as well as some pamphlets relating to dentistry and clippings from medical journals. Gunter’s notebooks, probably created while Gunter was working towards his medical degree at Temple University, contain information on pharmacology, physical diagnosis, organic chemistry and a variety of diseases and disorders.
Cite as:
John Havelock Gunter notebooks, 1917-1948, undated, Ms. Coll. 1182, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
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John Havelock Gunter was born in Ontario, Canada in 1888. At the age of nineteen, he moved to Philadelphia to study Dental Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his degree in 1910. In 1914, Gunter married Lucille Pratt in Detroit; the couple settled in Philadelphia and had two children. Gunter received his M.D. from Temple University in 1917, and, that same year, he began teaching at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, where he served as a professor for many years. Later in his career (by 1942) Gunter was self-employed as a dentist, and in 1949 he passed away at age 61.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains five notebooks kept by dentist John Havelock Gunter as well as some pamphlets relating to dentistry and clippings from medical journals. The journal clippings, which date between 1939 and 1944, relate almost exclusively to the development of new anesthetics and patient responses to pain-relieving medications including morphine, vinyl ether and procaine. Along with these clippings in the first file of the collection is a page-long summary of some research on the effects of fluorinated drinking water. A pamphlet titled Paranasal Sinusitis in Children by Warren B. Davis is also included, along with  Teaching Relationships Between Dental Schools and Hospitals, a booklet by W. Harry Archer, and two copies of the University of Pennsylvania Dental School’s course catalog for the 1945-1946 academic year.

The second file in this collection consists of a book by John H. Gunter titled Notes on Local and General Anesthesia for Dental Students and published by the College Offset Press in 1941. As the preface to this short volume explains, the book was written to accompany a "course in Anesthesia given in the Department of Maxillo-Facial Surgery in the Dental School of the University of Pennsylvania." The preface also informs that the "purpose of these notes is to obviate to a large extent, the necessity of writing routine facts, thereby allowing the student an opportunity of giving his undivided attention to the visual instruction." As its title suggests, the book concerns different types of anesthetics and their administration.

The five notebooks in the collection were probably created while Gunter was attending classes at Temple University, from which he graduated with a M.D. in 1917. Gunter’s pharmacological notes (in two volumes) make up the third file in this collection. On the first page of notebook I, Gunter writes, "Pharmacology is the study of the action of drugs on living tissues." The following notes are neatly organized by drug, listing the substance’s effects on the circulatory, respiratory, digestive and nervous systems, along with its therapeutic uses, dosage and risk of poisoning. The second volume of these notes is smaller, and only partly filled.

The fourth file in this collection is Gunter’s notebook on diseases and disorders. This book methodically lists over eighty medical conditions from hemophilia to endocarditis to malaria, providing information on prophylaxis and treatment (general and symptomatic) for each. About halfway through this notebook, Gunter has written "Senior Year" on the top of the page; subsequent entries deal more with oral and gastrointestinal health, and tend to advise dietary modifications as treatments for these diseases.

The next notebook in the collection is on physical diagnosis, a practice described on its first page as "the art of distinguishing health from disease, and one disease from another, by means of the physical signs presented in each case." The notebook focuses primarily on thoracic inspection, palpitation, percussion and auscultation, and notes how several respiratory problems can be diagnosed by use of these techniques.

The final notebook in the collection contains notes on organic chemistry with molecular diagrams. The date 1/8/17 is written at the top of a page in this notebook and has been used to approximately date three other notebooks in this collection which are uniform in their size and format. However, this date is ambiguous, and it is possible (especially considering their tidy organization) that all these notes were based on lecture material but re-written at some later date.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2016 March 21

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Rive Cadwallader

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.

Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, 2015.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Temple University. School of Medicine.
  • University of Pennsylvania. School of Dental Medicine.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Notebooks
  • Anesthesiology--Study and teaching
  • Chemistry, Organic
  • Dentistry--Study and teaching
  • Pharmacology--United States

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Pamphlets and journal clippings on dentistry, 1925-1948.

1 1

Notes on Local and General Anesthesia for Dental Students, 1941.

1 2

Notebooks on pharmacology (2 volumes), undated.

1 3-4

Notebook on diseases and disorders, circa 1917.

1 4

Notebook on physical diagnosis, circa 1917.

1 5

Notebook on organic chemistry, circa 1917.

1 5