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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Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index

 

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

2011 - "The sesqui-centennial of the Civil War" -  2015

The 150th Year Celebration

 

 Home page  |   Feedback & Contact Dr. Echols  |  SEARCH this site   |  Article Indexes   |   Medical Faculty & Authors

 Civil War Medical Books  |  Medicine Containers   |   1800's & Civil War Surgery Set Displays

Medical College Index - Lecture Cards  |  Civil War Medical Book Author-Title Index

Wanted to Purchase: Items like those on this website, including Civil War surgeon uniforms, medical books, CDV's, surgeon images, diaries, and related medical items ... Contact

Dr. Echols' partial list of Google books for Civil War Surgeon Research

 

William McClellan Reber, M.D. 

U.S. Navy Assistant Surgeon Application

 

By Norman L. Herman, M.D., Ph.D.

The following is a dictated translation of the hand-written application to the U. S. Navy Examination Board during the Civil War by a civilian physician/surgeon for a position as a medical officer in the Federal Navy or for promotion to Assistant Surgeon by an Acting Assistant Surgeon.  The actual applications are in the possession of the author and presented to enlighten the general public and other researchers as to the education process before and during the Civil War, the personal history of the applicants, as well as to show their personal level of medical knowledge in answering the questions asked by the Navy Board of Examiners.  (Some applicants failed to pass and did not serve or served in the Union Army.)

This written presentation was first of a part of a two-part exam consisting of a written exam and an oral exam.   Many of these applications are rich with highly detailed medical content offering an interesting perspective on the medical knowledge and practices of the period.  A broad sampling of these exams is presented to give you a 'picture' of the type of applicant being examined and admitted to or rejected by the Federal Navy in 1863.   Much more detail on the individuals and their personal and naval history will be presented in a forth-coming book by Dr. Herman.

(The actual written exam photos are available, but not presented on these pages due to the size of the files.  An example of a hand-written exam is on the 'List of all Applicants' page)

If you have additional information or images for any of these doctors, please contact us.

A list with links to all applicants in this survey of U.S. Navy Applicants for 1863

Example of a handwritten exam given by the Navy Examination Board

 


Applicant:  William McClellan Reber, M.D. 

 

 

I was born in the town of Lewisburg, Union county State of Pennsylvania on the 4th day of January in the year 1842.

 

I attended the College at Lewisburg and finished a full course of studies as far as the Junior Year – Studying all the branches Ancient and Modern that are usually given at such an institution.

I have been engaged in the study of Medicine for the past two years and six months.

During the first year I read medicine under Dr. Wm Hayes in Lewisburg, the rest of the time I have been an Office Student of Dr. Pancoast, I am a graduate of the Jefferson Medical College and will receive a Diploma from the institution tomorrow March 10th 1863.

 

During the first year of my medical studies I had a very good chance of studying practical pharmacy in the office of my preceptor, it being the custom for Physicians in the country to keep their own drugs, and I put up nearly all of the medicines – I also had very good advantages of that kind while I was a Medical Cadet in the Military Hospital under Dr. P B Goddard.  My advantages for learning the Art of Surgery have also been quite good – having been with and assisted Prof Pancoast in very many operations.

 

I never studied Natural History to any extent.  I studied Latin and it's Greek to the full extent required for admission to the Junior Class at Lewisburg University.

 

Very Respectfully

William M Reber

1030 Chestnut St.\,  Philad

 


Questions by the Board:

 

Questions to be answered in writing, by Dr Wm M. Reber

1.  What is the composition of the Umbilical Cord?

2.  What affect has a ligature on the coats of an artery?

3.  Write a prescription (Latin) without symbols or abbreviations, for an astringent pill in Dysentery.

4.  Soap, what is it chemically, its modus operandi in the arts?

5.  What is animal heat and how produced? 

6.  Respiration, what is it chemically?

7.  What is the history and what the value of Arnica? [sic]

8.  What are the pathology and treatment of Ascites?

9.  What is Ascaris?  how treated?

 


Answers by Reber:

 

1.  The umbilical cord is composed of blood vessels principally, which are surrounded by a soft pulpy substance.

 

2.   A ligature when tight enough applied divides the internal in middle coats of the artery

 

3.  Recipe

               Acidi Gallici  -      ʓj

               Zinci Sulphatis      ij

               Opii Pulvis            grsX

               Misce Secundam Artem, Fiant pilulam in Numero vigenti.

 

4.  Soap is The Substance formed by the union of the fat and an alkali.  In the arts it usually acts by neutralizing the substance to be removed by it.

 

5.  Animal heat is the heat which is necessary to the life of the individual and whenever it is increased or diminished to any extent the animal dies.  It is produced by the breaking down of the tissues and also by the union of carbon of the blood with the oxygen of the air in respiration

 

6.  Respiration is chemically a union of gases in the lungs.

 

7.  Arnica is a small plant, perennial in its nature called Arnica Montana growing in Europe, the flowers and leaves are used principally in form of a tincture and chiefly as an external application to bruises etc., it is not considered a very efficacious remedy.

 

8.  Ascites is a collection of fluid in the peritoneal sack – is is [sic] produced by want of harmony between the cells for secretion and those for absorption.  The absorbents not being able to take up the fluid as fast as it is secreted.  Treatment, hydragogue Cathartics, diuretics, and in extreme cases paracentesis abdominis.  If the patient be very weak and hydraemical he will need tonics and nutritious food.

 

9.  An Ascaris is a small warm which is found in the lower part of the rectum just above the sphincter ani muscle – they may be treated by some stimulating ointment such as a mercurial ointment or they may be mechanically removed from the rectum.

 

Wm. M. Reber

 

Naval Asylum, 

March 12th 1863

 


Certificate of Physical Capacity

 

I declare on honor that my health is at this time good and robust; and to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am free from any accidental or constitutional defects, and without any predisposition to Epilepsy, Gout, Phthisis, Apoplexy, or chronic disease of any kind.

 

I am not at present affected with varicocele, disease of the Urinary Organs, hernia, or hemorrhoids; nor am I aware that there is anything hereditary in my constitution, which would hereafter be likely, to incapacitate me for the arduous duties of a Medical Officer of the Navy.

                      

All my organs of sense are without imperfection.

 

William McClellan Reber

Candidate for the office of

Asst Surgeon in the Navy

of the United States.

 

U.S. Naval Asylum, Philada

1862. [sic]

 


A list with links to all applicants in this survey of U.S. Navy Applicants for 1863

Example of a handwritten exam given by the Navy Examination Board

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:

INDEX

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

Please request permission before commercial use or publication of any content or photos on this site and credit any use with:  "American Civil War Surgical Antiques"   All content and all original photography on this Web Site is copyrighted 1995 - 2015 and may not be used on any other web site or in commercial print without the expressed e-mail permission from Dr. Arbittier:  Contact   All rights reserved. 

 

Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.

 

Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.

 

 Arbittier Museum of Medical History Tour:   1 | 2 | 3

 

Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016