American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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Personal Leather Pocket Surgical Kit

Owned by Hugh H. Toland, M.D. 


The c. 1850's tooled leather pocket surgical kit was made by Luer of Paris, France.  It is embossed in gold "S. C. E. M.D  to  H. H. Toland M.D."



Dr. Hugh H. Toland has been styled by some to be the great surgeon of the Pacific slope.  He was born on his father's plantation in Guilder's Creek, South Carolina on April 6 1806, the fourth of ten children.  His father John Toland emigrated from the north of Ireland and came to South Carolina after the War of Independence.


Hugh read medicine under Dr. George Ross and helped in the doctor's drug store afterwards going to Transylvania University of Lexington Kentucky and taking his degree while barely of age in 1832 .  In 1829 he settled in Pageville, South Carolina and during this time performed several important operations, which gave him considerable reputation in the neighborhood.  This circumstance gave the young doctor a desire to perfect himself in surgery and being determined to go to Paris to study,  he utilized his time well during the two years at Pageville.  Dr Toland saved about three thousand dollars and in the spring of 1833 he sailed for France and sought quarters in Rue l' Ecole de Medicine Paris where he lived economically for the next two years a half and applied his time in attendance under illustrious surgeons in the hospital clinics.  During the succeeding twelve years, Dr Toland practiced alone. 


In 1844 he married Mary of Columbia, South Carolina, who in 1852  followed him to California.  Early in 1852 the doctor purchased a quartz mill and had it shipped to San Francisco and mining in Calaveras County. , but his mining ventures never succeeded, so he settled in San Francisco to practice medicine.


Until 1860, Dr Toland included obstetrical cases in his practice,  but had to give this up on account of the disturbance of his night's rest.  At that time he married his third wife.  


On the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861, Dr. Toland's annual income was over forty thousand dollars.   He had been appointed to the Marine Hospital in 1855 and that appointment was renewed yearly by the establishment of the City and Hospital where Dr. Toland was visiting surgeon.  Patients from the entire Pacific Coast sought treatment at the Francisco City and County Hospital.  


In 1866 he founded a college of Medicine known for the next six years as Toland Medical College.   He secured a suitable lot on Stockton Chestnut Street.   He alone supplied funds necessary to erect a brick building and to furnish it with adjuncts deemed requisite.  Dr. Toland had for some years previously been publishing the Pacific Journal and in 1872 it was renamed the Western Lancet.  Although Dr Toland was with some sternness of manner when dealing with men patients, his attitude toward women and children was exceedingly gentle and sympathetic.   During the eighteen seventies there was much written about the power of the mind in the cure of later symptoms syphilis.   Dr Toland vigorously combated this idea and insisted that mercury and mercury only was curative in syphilis at any stage.  After the Toland Medical College was assumed by the University of California, he was appointed Professor in Surgery of the Faculty.


Dr. Toland served several terms as member of the San Francisco Board of Health. He was appointed by Governor Haight , and was successively reappointed by Governors Booth and Irwin. To this branch of the public service he gave considerable attention, being absent at but very few meetings of the Board.  His estate was estimated at from $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 consisting of considerable real property in the interior together with a large ranch at Rio Vista where he raised large crops of wheat.


As a surgical operator Dr Toland's expertise was rapid, direct and abundant in the presence of unexpected developments. To the disinterested witness, he perhaps might not appear to be particularly dexterous, but he always exact about what he meant to do and did in the most direct way.  Dr. Toland especially took pleasure in operating for urinary calculus and he always used the lithotome cache double blade of Dupytren.    (Cyclopedia of American Physicians)








University of California, San Francisco traces its history to Dr. Hugh H. Toland, a South Carolina surgeon who found great success and wealth after moving to San Francisco in 1852. A previous school, the Cooper Medical College of the University of Pacific (founded 1858), entered a period of uncertainty in 1862 when its founder, Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper, died. In 1864, Toland founded a new medical school, Toland Medical College, and the faculty of Cooper Medical College chose to suspend operations and join the new school.  The University of California was founded in 1868, and by 1870 Toland Medical School began negotiating an affiliation with the new public university.  Meanwhile, some faculty of Toland Medical School elected to reopen the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, which would later become Stanford University School of Medicine.[8] Negotiations between the Toland and the UC were complicated by Toland's demand that the medical school continue to bear his name, which he finally conceded. In March 1873, the trustees of Toland Medical College deeded it to the Regents of the University of California, and it became "The Medical Department of the University of California."



See a full set of lecture cards for Towland Medical College   &   H. H. Toland, M.D



Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016