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Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst Papers

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Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst was born on August 21, 1876 in Philadelphia, PA to John Ashhurst Jr. and Sarah Stokes Wayne. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1896, and his medical degree 1900, both from the University of Pennsylvania.

During his career, Ashhurst held numerous hospital positions, including Surgeon to the Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia from 1904 to 1930, Surgeon at the Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital and Infirmary for Nervous Diseases from 1904 to 1930, Surgeon to the Dispensary at the Children’s Hospital from 1906 to 1911, and Chief of Gynecological Dispensary at Pennsylvania Hospital from 1906 to 1911. Ashhurst also held several teaching positions at the University of Pennsylvania, including Prosecutor to the Associate Professor of Applied Anatomy from 1904 to 1911, Instructor in Surgery from 1911 to 1920, and Professor in Clinical Surgery in the Graduate School of Medicine from 1923 to 1930.

Ashhurst served the United States military with distinction. In 1916 he attended the Medical Officers Training Camp, and in December 1917 was sent to France with Base Camp Unit No. 34 to aid in the World War I effort. From January to March of 1918, Ashhurst served as Director of Base Hospital No. 34 with the American Expeditionary Forces in Nantes, France. From April to July 1918, Ashhurst was sent to the Beauvais and Oise areas of France to serve in a medical capacity with the French army; and from July to November 1918, served as Chief of Operating Team at Nieully-sur-Seine, Chierry, and Souilly sous Verdun. Toward the end of the war, Ashhurst served as Consultant in Surgery from November to December 1918 in Savenay, Nantes, St. Nazaire; and the Camp Hospitals at Coetquiden and Neucon. Ashhurst then returned home, and from January to April 1919 served on duty as Chief of the Surgical Service at Walter Reed General Hospital for returning veterans. For his service, Ashhurst received a citation from General Pershing for “Exceptionally Meritorious and Conspicuous Service with Base Hospital 34.”

Ashhurst’s other accomplishments include publishing several monographs on surgical subjects, his Textbook on Surgery, co-written with John B. Deaver, being his best known work. Ashhurst also belonged to several medical societies, and was particularly active with the American Surgical Association, which he joined in 1913. He became a Fellow at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1906.

In May 1930, Ashhurst suffered a cerebral hemorrhage stemming from a car accident, and was forced to retire from the medical profession. Later that year, he wed Anna P. Cambell. In August and September 1932, Ashhurst suffered two more cerebral hemorrhages and passed on September 19th.

Sources:

Mutscheler, Louis H. “Memoir of Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst,” in Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Fourth Series, vols. 1 & 2, pp. xliv-xlvii, 1934.

The Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst Papers collection contains correspondence and writings from Ashhurst’s military service and medical career. The collection encompasses two series: “Military Service,” and “Subject Files,” and dates from 1895, 1904-1933, 1963, and undated. Researchers interested in the career of Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, or in the medical history of World War I will find material of interest in this collection.

The “Military Service” series documents Ashhurst’s military service from World War I to his post-war involvement with the Reserve Officers Corps. The series contains two subseries: “During World War I,” and “After World War I,” arranged chronologically. The series dates from 1916-1929, and undated.

The “During World War I” subseries contains correspondence, notes, and regulation orders from Ashhurst’s service during the war. The correspondence is grouped together, and includes letters exchanged with the American Red Cross and War Department, among others. Other items in the subseries include financial notes, a history of Base Hospital 34, and medical notes on patients. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1916 to 1920, and undated.

The “After World War I” subseries contains correspondence, publications, and regulations from Ashhurst’s involvement in the Officers Reserve Corps. The correspondence is grouped together, and includes letters from the Association of Military Surgeons as well as with the War Department. Several additional letters concern regulations for participation in the Officer Reserve Corps. Other significant items in the subseries include biographical notes for Ashhurst's World War I service, copies of the “Bulletin” publication, and other special orders for officers. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1919 to 1929. The “Subject Files” series contains material from Ashhurst’s medical career and personal life. The series contains six subseries: “Correspondence,” “Writings,” “Trips,” “Exhibits at College of Physicians of Philadelphia,” “Laboratory work,” and “Miscellaneous,” arranged by bulk of material. The series dates from 1895, 1904 to 1933, 1963, and undated.

The “Correspondence” subseries contains letters between Ashhurst and others, largely of a professional nature. Correspondents include the American Surgical Society, L. E. Snodgrass, College of Physicians, and S. Weir Mitchell among others. While the bulk of letters span from 1900 to 1932, one letter from 1963 relates to the transfer of Ashhurst’s letters after his passing. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1895, 1900, 1904 to 1933, 1963, and undated.

The “Writings” subseries contains writings largely by Ashhurst, as well as one article from a colleague. The writings by Ashhurst include biographies of his father John Ashhurst Jr., as well as writings on medical topics such as surgery and fractures. The subseries also includes reviews sent to Ashhurst on his work, including “The Patience of Surgery.” The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1905, 1907, 1910 to 1931, and undated.

The “Trips” subseries contains written accounts by Ashhurst on his trips to Europe, Michigan, and Minnesota. Also included are postcards from Ashhurst’s trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1904, 1907, and 1914.

The “Exhibits at College of Physicians of Philadelphia” subseries contains lists of material for the display of an exhibit on the centenary of Lord Lister, and on bone fractures. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1927, and undated.

The “Laboratory Work” subseries contains an undated list of supplies for Ashhurst’s laboratory.

The “Miscellaneous” subseries contains a folder of unidentified, undated notes from the collection.

Publisher
Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Collection Inventory

Compensation Forms, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
Correspondence: Accounting records, 1918 April, 1918 June.
Box 1 Folder 2
Correspondence: American Red Cross and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1919 June-1919 July.
Box 1 Folder 3
Correspondence: Katharine Brown and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding nurse replacements for Evacuation Hospital 34, 1918 October.
Box 1 Folder 4
Correspondence: John B. Carson to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding hospital activity during combat, 1918 April, 1918 August.
Box 1 Folder 5
Correspondence: Death of soldier inquiries sent to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1919 February, 1919 March.
Box 1 Folder 6
Correspondence: John W. Moore to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding baggage, 1918 April, 1918 June.
Box 1 Folder 7
Correspondence: Parade Planning for Base Hospital Unit 34, 1919 May 12.
Box 1 Folder 8
Correspondence: Supply requests and responses, 1916 June-1918 December, 1919 October.
Box 1 Folder 9
Correspondence: War Department to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding publication of Ashhurst's work, 1919 May, 1919 August.
Box 1 Folder 10
Correspondence: War Department to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding enlistment in the United States Military, 1916 March-1916 June.
Box 1 Folder 11
Correspondence: George Washburn to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding military service, 1919 May 24.
Box 1 Folder 12
Correspondence: Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) Active Service to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, undated.
Box 1 Folder 13
Financial notes, 1918.
Box 1 Folder 14
History of Evacuation Base Hospital 34, 1918 December, 1919-1920.
Box 1 Folder 15
Instructions for guidance of consultants, 1918 November 12.
Box 1 Folder 16
News clippings regarding medical issues during military service, 1917-1919.
Box 1 Folder 17
Notes on medical health of patients at Base Hospital 34, 1918.
Box 1 Folder 18
Physical exam forms (blank), 1917, undated.
Box 1 Folder 19
Train ticket and schedules from France, 1918 April.
Box 1 Folder 20
Biographical notes for Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst's World War I service, after 1919.
Box 1 Folder 21
"Bulletins" for 79th Division, 1924 September, 1924 October.
Box 1 Folder 22
The "Bulletin Board": Base Hospital Unit 34 club publication, 1920 April.
Box 1 Folder 23
Bureau of War Risk Insurance newsletter, 1921 July 23.
Box 1 Folder 24
Correspondence and recommendations for officer reserve positions, 1925-1926.
Box 1 Folder 25
Correspondence: Association of Military Surgeons honoring Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1929 May-1929 June.
Box 1 Folder 26
Correspondence: Change of address forms, 1923, 1924, 1926, undated.
Box 1 Folder 27
Correspondence: Death of reserve officer, 1925 February 6.
Box 1 Folder 28
Correspondence: Mobilization plan for Evacuation Base Hospital 34, 1925-1927, undated.
Box 1 Folder 29
Correspondence: Reenlistment of Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst in Army Reserve Corps, 1923-1924.
Box 1 Folder 30
Correspondence: Reunion and funding plans for Evacuation Base Hospital 34, 1926, 1929.
Box 1 Folder 31
Correspondence: War Department to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding use of gas in World War I, 1921 April 22.
Box 1 Folder 32
Correspondence: War Department to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding officer training, 1921 August-1921 December, 1925, 1926.
Box 1 Folder 33
Correspondence: War Department and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding resignation request and transfer, 1927 March-1927 June.
Box 1 Folder 34
Correspondence: War Department orders for Branch Assignment Group, 1922 January 25, 1926.
Box 1 Folder 35
Correspondence: War Department regarding reorganization of Reserve Corps, 1920 December, 1921.
Box 1 Folder 36
List of Reserve Officers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1927, undated.
Box 1 Folder 37
National Defense Day planning, 1924 August-1924 September.
Box 1 Folder 38
Reserve Officers regulation and guideline pamphlets and memoranda, 1921, 1924, undated.
Box 1 Folder 39
Special orders for reserve officers, 1923, 1925-1926, 1927.
Box 2 Folder 1

Academy of Natural Sciences to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding donated herbarium, 1910 December 23.
Box 2 Folder 2
American Surgical Society matters, 1925-1930.
Box 2 Folder 3
Ann Paston Cooper Ashhurst to L. E. Snodgrass regarding remembrance of Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1933 April 28.
Box 2 Folder 4
Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst to L.E. Snodgrass, 1909, 1930, 1931.
Box 2 Folder 5
P. Blakiston and Company to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding loaned books, 1910 July 28.
Box 2 Folder 6
College of Physicians and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1912, 1917, 1918, 1923, 1930, 1931.
Box 2 Folder 7
Gwilyn George Davis to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1904, 1910.
Box 2 Folder 8
Charles Frazier to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding election results, 1910 November 28.
Box 2 Folder 9
French correspondents, 1918, 1922, 1924.
Box 2 Folder 10
J. Shelton Horsley to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding request for Ashhurst's review of medical book, 1921 September 24.
Box 2 Folder 11
Introductions and social meetings, 1921, 1922, 1929, 1930.
Box 2 Folder 12
Invitations and acceptances, 1895, 1912, 1913, 1923, undated.
Box 2 Folder 13
Howard A. Kelly and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding portrait of John Ashhurst Jr., 1916 May-1916 June.
Box 2 Folder 14
Edward Martin to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding medical course completion, 1912 April 27.
Box 2 Folder 15
Memorial of medical professionals, notes and corrections, 1925, 1926, 1928.
Box 2 Folder 16
S. Weir Mitchell to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1910 November 3, undated.
Box 2 Folder 17
John Murdoch and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1909.
Box 2 Folder 18
C. B. G. de Nancrede regarding the University of Michigan Chair of Surgery availability, 1911, 1916.
Box 2 Folder 19
Sally L. Neubold to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1924.
Box 2 Folder 21
William Pepper to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst regarding John Ashhurst Jr., 1909 January 21.
Box 2 Folder 22
Professional issues and controversies, 1921, 1922.
Box 2 Folder 23
Professional medical association matters, 1900, 1910, 1913, 1920, 1930.
Box 2 Folder 24
Robert Proust and Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1906 November, 1906 December.
Box 2 Folder 25
L. E. Snodgrass to McDaniel regarding letters of Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1963 October 31.
Box 2 Folder 26
Alfred Stengel to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1922 April 10.
Box 2 Folder 27
United Kingdom correspondents to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1905 August.
Box 2 Folder 28
Envelopes, assorted, undated.
Box 2 Folder 29
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: Bibliographies of John Ashhurst Jr., undated.
Box 2 Folder 30
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Centenary of Lister: A Tale of Sepsis and Antisepsis", 1927.
Box 2 Folder 31
General note

Additional work by Ashhurst on the "Centenary of Lord Lister" can be found in the "Exhibits" subseries.

By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Classification and Mechanism of Fractures of the Leg Bones Involving the Ankle," written in conjunction with Ralph Bromer, undated.
Box 2 Folder 32
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Imperforation of the Rectum and Anus," (front cover only), 1907 August.
Box 2 Folder 32
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Memoranda on Gwilyn George Davis", 1931.
Box 2 Folder 33
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Operative Surgery of the Hip Joint" address, 1929 July 21.
Box 2 Folder 34
By Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst: "Outline for Life of My Father, John Ashhurst Jr.", 1905 May 5.
Box 3 Folder 1 Box 2 Folder 35
By Others: Completion of new College of Physicians Hall address, 1909 November 10.
Box 3 Folder 2
Review: Writing reviews sent to Astley Paston Cooper Ashhurst, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1917, 1920-1931.
Box 3 Folder 3
Review: "The Patience of Surgery" reviews, 1910-1911.
Box 3 Folder 4
Belgium trip account, 1914.
Box 3 Folder 5
European trip account, 1904-1905.
Box 3 Folder 6
Mayo Clinic, Minnesota trip account, 1907.
Box 3 Folder 7
Postcards from Ann Arbor, Michigan, trip, 1907.
Box 3 Folder 8
Centenary of Lord Lister exhibit items list, 1927.
Box 3 Folder 9
Historical exhibit on bone fractures: list of books and portraits used for exhibit, undated.
Box 3 Folder 10
Supplies list, undated.
Box 3 Folder 11
Assorted notes, undated.
Box 3 Folder 12

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