Presentation and Tribute Surgical Sets

 Page 8

 Dr. Michael Echols, Dr. Douglas Arbittier Collection

Pre- & Post- Civil War: Display 1  |  Display 2  |  Display 3

Civil War:  Display 4  |  Display 5  |  Display 6  |  Display 7  | Presentation & Tribute Sets




Indexed list of all Civil War surgical sets in this collection


Presentation and Tribute Surgical Sets


During and immediately after the Civil War, many surgeons were presented with civilian surgical sets as gifts-in-tribute or to say thank-you from their grateful patients and fellow soldiers whom that doctor/surgeon served during the War.   These ‘Presentation or Tribute’ sets are almost all civilian surgery set versions with engraved brass name plates done by the set maker or by an engraver hired by the presenting militia members.  These sets are hand-engraved.  The name or regiment is not scratched on with the point of a knife.  The quality varies, but not the intention. 


The physical characteristics and instrument forms or maker name-strikes in the surgical sets generally date the time of the gift and as collectors, we, as collectors, know these dates in detail.  Used military-issued sets by the U. S. Army Hospital or Medical Departments would not have been available or used for presentation until possibly after the war, so you don’t see those kinds of sets as ‘Presentation’ sets.   Surgeons didn't 'own' their government issued sets and had to turn them in to the quartermasters at the end of their deployment.  There are unused military surgical sets that existed after the war and a surgeon or individual may have purchased one of those sets at a government auction immediately after the War, but for the most part we would not expect to see government owned and marked military sets used as gifts which were engraved as presentation sets.   


As for the ‘provenance’ of any surgical set, let us be clear that unless you have iron-clad proof of ownership and use, we do not purport or accept that any ‘presentation or attributed’ surgical set was used during the Civil War.  Romanticized stories about your ‘great…granddaddy, who was a surgeon makes for a great story, but without proof, it’s just that…a story.   


There are basically two groups of surgical set provenances: civilian sets and government issued military sets.   U. S. Army military sets have iron-clad ownership and use: they were owned by the government of the U.S. Army or State Volunteer Militias and used during the War by military surgeons, not contract doctors. 


As far as CSA sets are concerned, there are no government military issued sets.  NONE!  Every set attributed to the Confederate States Army use is questionable, no matter how much blood is on the tourniquet or how glorious the romanticized story of its existence and ownership.  It is possible to ‘prove’ a given doctor owned a set since his name may be engraved on the civilian version of a set or there is a chain of custody (family ownership).  If you have a civilian set that has an attribution to a given surgeon or doctor on either side, we are willing to accept proven chain-of-possession or family history and any period relative documentation, but otherwise, there is no way we are going to claim or accept that a set was used during the War or owned by a specific surgeon at such and such battle. 


If a surgeon or his regiment has a wonderful history before, during, or after the War, we love to hear or use that history, but proving chain-of-ownership is essential and that proof must be signed or in someway provable, otherwise, it's just he said/she said, not proof positive.  History of the given military surgeon or contract doctor during the War is wonderful, but will have no bearing on the value of a set unless you can offer iron-clad proof of its ownership, date of manufacture before or during the War, and possession by the owner.  Many of the presentation sets were made after the war and again, these sets were owned by the doctor, but never saw action during the war because they didn't exist during the war.


In light of the above CYA statement(s), what follow are sets we believe merit discussion and possession for this collection.  Enjoy them for the medical history they represent relative to the brave men who used them and served during the Civil War.


1861 Civil War U. S. A. Hosp. Dept. partial surgical set by Hernstein, which is marked as belonging to Dr. Frank Ridgway, of the 73 Infantry Regiment, New York Volunteers, more commonly known as the Second Fire Zouaves.  Bilateral military sliding latches.

See additional details and EXPANDED photos


c. 1860, Hernstein, New York, large surgical set owned by a Confederate doctor and the type of set a contract or Confederate surgeon would have owned and used.  Keyed lock.

See additional details and EXPANDED photos

Hernstein, N.Y., Large Civil War civilian issued surgical set owned by CSA surgeon, c. 1860

c. 1859 S. Maw, London, England, Surgery set captured in Virginia from one of General Lee's head quarters' wagons by E. J. Beverstock, hospital steward, 123 Regiment, O. V. I.


See additional details and EXPANDED photos



c. 1860, Geo. Tiemann, N.Y., partial surgery set presented to John Ordway, M.D.


See additional details and EXPANDED photos



Civil War:  Display 4  |  Display 5  |  Display 6  |  Display 7  | Presentation & Tribute Sets




Indexed list of all Civil War surgical sets in this collection

If you are interested in obtaining a 'real' Civil War surgical set, please email Dr. Echols with your name.  He will keep in contact with you about sets that become available.



Civil War Medical Collections 


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

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

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: Tuesday, September 27, 2016