William Smith Ely Civil War-era Surgical Kit – See it on YouTube

History of Medicine Moment — “William Smith Ely Surgical Kit”
William Smith Ely

Assistant Surgeon William Smith Ely
108th NY Infantry

Imagine graduating from University of Rochester in 1861 and being mustered into the 108th New York Volunteers as an Assistant Surgeon the following year. You’re 20 years old and haven’t even attended medical school yet!

This is the true story of William Smith Ely (1842-1911).

In this History of Medicine Moment (running 7:09…I guess that’s a bit longer than a “moment,” eh?), Christopher Hoolihan, Head of Rare Books & Manuscripts, shows us a beautiful and complete set of cased instruments, presented to Rochester physician, Dr. William Smith Ely by Dr. B. A. Vanderkieft, Ely’s cSurgical kitommander at Antietam and Annapolis. Two photographs taken of the field hospital at Antietam also are shown.

Watch the video to find out more about this pristine field kit and the preeminent role Dr. Ely played in the history of Rochester.


About Miner Library

Edward G. Miner Library is an academic health sciences library serving the University of Rochester Medical Center, including the Eastman Dental Center, School of Medicine and Dentistry, School of Nursing, Strong Memorial Hospital, University Medical Faculty Group, and members of the public in the eleven county area surrounding Rochester, New York.

This article was submitted by Susan Andersen

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