Special Collections Department
John Janvier Black Papers
Manuscript Collection Number: 221
Extent: 49 volumes, 17 items
Content: Notebooks, diaries, ephemera, one pencil
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: April 1991, by W. Van Wyck
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
He began practice in New Castle, Delaware, and early manifested special interest in anti-tuberculosis crusades and care of the insane. He was president of the Delaware Insane Asylum and helped greatly in the formation of the Delaware State Hospital. In 1872 he married Jeanie Groome Black.
Dr. Black eagerly studied all the new methods and earned a fine reputation as an obstetrician in the country around New Castle. He performed many successful operations and once in a case of extreme urgency, diagnosis having revealed the need for Caesarian section upon a rachitic dwarf, improvised an operating table from chairs and boards and used a piece of sterilized fishing line as ligatures. The patient died several weeks later but the child lived.
Because of his outstanding success in the duties of a country physician, Dr. Black was elected to membership in the College of Physicians, Philadelphia, and the State Medical Society. He died in New Castle, September 27, 1909, leaving two children, Elizabeth Groome and Armytage Middleton.
Scope and Content Note
In addition to information related to his practice, Black's visiting lists contain recipes, notes on his fruit orchards, and reports of local Delaware events. Two items removed from the 1870 notebook document an order from Edward Tatnall of Wilmington for peach trees for Black's orchard. Of particular interest are Black's description of the Old Lyle House in New Castle (1885), and his reports on the opening days of the New Castle-Wilmington Electric Railway (March 18, 1897) and the New Castle-Delaware City Electric Railroad (August 30, 1900). In his visiting list from 1909, Black lists the members of the Delaware Tuberculosis Commission. Also of interest is Black's visiting list from 1895, in which he calculates the national debt of the United States and mentions that President Cleveland was issuing bonds to protect the country's gold reserves.
Also included among Black's papers is his notebook of observations recorded at a U.S. Marine Hospital in San Francisco during February 1860; much of the material in this notebook relates to the observation and treatment of patients with diabetes. Also present is his personal diary (October 1866 - January 1867) in which Black recounts his trip across the Atlantic and his travels in Europe.
The John Janvier Black Papers include two unidentified notebooks that did not belong to Black. One of the notebooks is a personal diary for the year 1864. In the first part of the year, the author is stationed in the army, inspecting weapons, reviewing regiments, and preparing ordnance accounts. In the latter half of the diary the author returns home to Chester, Pennsylvania, to live with his wife, Mary. Although his occupation is unclear, the author mentions frequent trips to "the city" (Philadelphia) and his involvement in the Union League. A detailed cash account with lists of items and their prices is located in the back of the diary. The second notebook, from 1904, is a visiting list from another doctor. This notebook contains patients' names, their ailments, and how they were treated; also included is the doctor's cash account and total earnings for the year.
1 Visiting Lists, 1866-1878 (14 volumes, 5 items) 1866 1866-1868 1869 1870 pt. 1 1870 pt. 2 1870 - 5 items removed from volume: "Worm Lozenges," medicine label from Wilmington St. Louis Magnetic Spring Water advertisement one handwritten prescription correspondence from Edward Tatnall regarding order for peach orchard receipt from Black for peach order from Tatnall 1871 pt. 1 1871 pt. 2 1872 pt. 1 1872 pt. 2 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 2 Visiting Lists, 1879-1891 (13 volumes) 1879 1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 3 Visiting Lists, 1892-1903 (12 volumes, 4 items) 1892 1893 1894 1895 1895 - 3 items removed from volume: certificate from Delaware State Medical Society ticket to state fair pass from Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore Railroad
Company for Dr. John Janvier Black, Company Surgeon, 1895
3 Visiting Lists, 1892-1903 (cont'd) 1896 1897 1898 1899 1899 - one pencil removed from volume 1900 1901 1902 1903 4 Visiting Lists, 1904-1909 (6 volumes, 7 items) 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1909 - 7 items removed from volume: newspaper clipping regarding medical topic pass from Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore Railroad
Company for Dr. John J. Black, Company Surgeon, 1909 envelope from E. Challenger Pharmacy, Newcastle four calling cards, "Dr. John J. Black" Other Volumes (4 volumes, 1 item) Hospital Observation Notebook, 1860: February 1860 - one item removed from volume: page fragment Diary, 1866: October - 1867: January Unidentified Diary, 1864 Unidentified Visiting List, 1904
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