[MANUSCRIPTS] [AMERICAN MEDICINE] KERR, JAMES
Medical Day Book 1844-1847 from York, Pennsylvania, Listing Medical Treatments and Pharmaceutical Preparations given by Dr. James W. Kerr
York. January 1844 – April 1847; Daybook; 13 x 8 ¼ inches; half calf and paper-covered boards, 126 ruled leaves plus 2 blank leaves containing 251 manuscript pages written in ink and with partially indistinct ink titling on upper board. Boards and first leaf detached; leather on spine worn away at head and tail and worn along spine and at both joints; some staining to boards; detached leaf with old folds, closed tears and wear along edges. Provenance: three manuscripts receipts dated 1864-1866 and naming James M. Kern as creditor, affixed to front endpapers. Pennsylvania physician James W. Kerr’s medical daybook provides a capsule view of his mid-19th century medical practice in York County. Dr. Kerr’s entries on any particular page in his daybook are brief—month or exact date, name of patient, medicine prescribed and fee charged. The medical preparations he prescribes, written out in Latin, are concise and specific. Sometimes he describes a particular treatment or procedure: “Removing placenta $5.00,” “Wife in abortion $2.50,” “Fracture of son’s arm $5.00,” “Attendance to wife in labour; presenting at four hours $10.00.” Some of the York County place names mentioned include Dover, Strinestown, Bottstown, and Frystown. The surnames of Kerr’s patients amply reflect the Pennsylvania-German population living in those places. James W. Kerr (1813-?) a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, descended from Scotch-Irish immigrants. Kerr was schooled at West Nottingham Academy in Maryland and matriculated from Jefferson College in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1834, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for medical lectures until matriculating from the last institution 1840 Gibson, Biographical History of York County, Pennsylvania (2001 reprint 1886 ed.) p.27.