unc logo

Collection Number: 04681-z

Collection Title: William Thomas Humphrey Papers, 1848-1864

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 65 items
Abstract William Thomas Humphrey was born in Bainbridge, N.Y. He studied medicine at the Albany Medical College and practiced in Addison, N.Y., until 1849, when he moved to Elkland, Pa. He remained in Elkland until 1857, when he began practice in Osceola, Pa., where he remained, with the exception of three years and seven months as an Army surgeon during the Civil War, until 1897. The collection is chiefly letters, 1861-1864, of William Thomas Humphrey with the Union Army in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., to his wife Mary on their farm in Osceola, Pa. Besides offering Mary advice on how to manage their land and finances, William provided fairly detailed descriptions of camp life, the battles he witnessed, and his work as a surgeon. William appears to have alternated between serving with regiments in the field, most notably with the 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and staffing various hospitals, particularly a Washington, D.C., hospital where he spent most of 1863. Letters record troop movements, the establishment and abandonment of hospital facilities, deaths of friends and relations, and comments on the progress of the war. A letter, dated 3 May 1864, includes a colored cartoon of an army surgeon. A letter of 11 January 1848 from Humphrey in Addison, N.Y., to his wife, gives news of his medical practice.
Creator Humphrey, William Thomas, fl. 1848-1897.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the William Thomas Humphrey Papers #4681-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed October 2004) available.
  • Reel 1: Folders 1-4
Acquisitions Information
Received from Walter M. Keller of Raleigh, N.C., in November 1993 (Acc. 93142).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

William Thomas Humphrey was born in Bainbridge, N.Y. He studied medicine at the Albany Medical College and practiced in Addison, N.Y., until 1849, when he moved to Elkland, Pa. He remained in Elkland until 1857, when he began practice in Osceola, Pa., where he remained, with the exception of three years and seven months as an Army surgeon during the Civil War, until 1897.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection is chiefly letters, 1861-1864, of physician William Thomas Humphrey with the Union Army during the Civil War in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., to his wife Mary on their farm in Osceola, Pa. Besides offering Mary advice on how to manage their land and finances, William provided fairly detailed descriptions of camp life, the battles he witnessed, and his work as a surgeon. William appears to have alternated between serving with regiments in the field, most notably with the 149th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and staffing various hospitals, particularly a Washington, D.C., hospital where he spent most of 1863. Letters record troop movements, the establishment and abandonment of hospital facilities, deaths of friends and relations, and comments on the progress of the war. A letter, dated 3 May 1864, includes a colored cartoon of an army surgeon.

Also included is a letter, 11 January 1848, from Humphrey in Addison, N.Y., to his wife, giving news of his medical practice.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Papers, 11 January 1848, 2 January 1861-25 December 1864.

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Roslyn Holdzkom, December 1993

Encoded by: Linda Sellars, September 2004

Back to Top