Thursday, March 28, 2013

John Nelson Bell Papers

The John Nelson Bell digital collection includes account books, daybooks, and medical treatment notes ranging from 1887-1922 that document the medical training and practice of John Nelson Bell in New Burlington, Indiana.
John Nelson Bell daybook, 1896-1899
John Nelson Bell was born in Morgantown, Virginia on April 21, 1858 to Henry and Louise (Swisher) Bell. He began teaching school at age sixteen and supplemented his education by taking classes at a normal school. He entered Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio in 1884 and left for the Medical College of Ohio two years later. As he neared the end of his studies, Bell learned that Samuel Jump, the practicing physician in Perry Township, Delaware County, Indiana, had received a presidential appointment as the Selma postmaster and would be moving to Liberty Township. After graduating from the Medical College of Ohio in the spring of 1888, Dr. Bell came to Delaware County to fill that vacancy in Perry Township and began his practice in New Burlington. He would continue to practice medicine in the Delaware County community of New Burlington for forty years.

The account books in this digital collection document John Nelson Bell's financial dealings including payment methods of patients and the cost of medical supplies. His daybooks document the schedule of a small town doctor as well as more detailed information such as patient names, general reasons for visits, and charges for services. His medical school and treatment notes document the training of medical doctors and common medical treatments at the turn of the century for a wide variety of maladies including burns, colic, hay fever, laryngitis, tetanus, and typhoid fever.

This online collection includes digital copies of the entirety of the John Nelson Bell papers in Archives and Special Collections.