Julian A. Sterling collection related to S. Weir Mitchell
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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
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.
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.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Alexandra M. Wilder
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 February 14
- 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.