Manuscripts and Archives of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

S. D. Risley papers Edit


MSS 2/006


  • 1881 – 1913 (Creation)


  • 3 boxes (Whole)

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  • Biographical / Historical

    Samuel Doty Risley, Philadelphia ophthalmologist and otologist, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 16 January 1845. He was married to (1) Emma D. Thompson and (2) Julia Louise Robinson. Risley died on 1 April 1920.

    After service in the Civil War, Risley attended the University of Iowa, 1865-1868, then received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1870. The following year, he entered Wills Eye Hospital as Clinical Clerk. In 1872, Risley assisted William Fisher Norris as Chief of Clinic of the Eye Service at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1872 to 1879, Risley was a lecturer and assistant surgeon in ophthalmology at Penn. From 1886 to 1900, he was Professor of Diseases of the Eye at the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates in Medicine. From 1890 to 1917, Risley was an attending surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital, and, from 1886 to 1914, he was consulting ophthalmologist and a member of the board of managers of the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble Minded Children.

    Risley was noted for his improvements to the optometer and ophthalmoscope, was the author of some 150 articles on ophthalmological topics, and determined the amount of square feet required to provide adequate lighting to school rooms.

    Risley became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphian 1891 and, in 1904, was president of its Section on Ophthalmology. He was also a member and president of the American Ophthalmological Society, the American Otological Society, and a president of the American Academy of Medicine.

  • Scope and Contents

    This collection of S. D. Risley's professional papers, 18811913, consist of ophthalmological case records, 1886-1908, many from the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates in Medicine; a surgeon's report of Wills Eye Hospital, 1901; manuscript and typescript versions of articles concerning ophthalmology, cataract and other eye diseases, and surgical instruments and treatments, 1881-1913; correspondence, reports, and related materials concerning eye examinations for school children, 1898-1904; miscellaneous correspondence, 1897-1908; illustrations and photographs, 1907 and undated; and miscellaneous printed materialsjconcerning Risley's professional affiliations with the American Ophthalmological Society and American Otological Society, 1900-1906.

    Series 3, the bulk of the collection, contains Risley's manuscripts of his published writings; the series has several subdivisions. Series 3.1 is a list of Risley's reprints, [1913]. The manuscripts in Series 3.2 are numbered sequentially, 1-38 (some numbers refer to empty folders). A third section, Series 3.3, is organized alphabetically by title of article. There are also four small sections: abstracts and critiques of papers; lectures to students and course syllabi; speeches; and fragments of articles.

    A second significant section of the Risley Papers concerns the eye examination of Philadelphia school children. With B. A. Randall, Risley mounted a large scale investigation into this concern in the 1880s. At the turn of the century, Risley became again active in this concern and worked closely with Dora Keen Handy (a daughter of William W. Keen), Corresponding Secretary of the Public Education Association of Philadelphia. Risley's work in this area resulted in the production of an eye examination test card for schools. Samples of the card, along with correspondence and related materials about this project are preserved in Series 4.

  • Custodial History

    The Risley Papers were given to Dr. Harold G. Scheie by one of Dr. Risley's children (possibly Dr. Norman Risley?) circa 1967. Scheie donated the papers to the College of Physicians on 13 April 1967.

    The collection was processed and catalogued in 1989.

  • Inventory

    Box Ser.


    1. Operating cases (nos. 1-40) 1892-1901 2a. Preliminary iridectomy (nos. 1-22) 1891-1896 2b. Extraction with iridectomy (nos. 1-27) 1891-1895 3. Philadelphia Polyclinic and College Ophthalmology Department (No. 6306) 1900 4. No. 9490 1906 5 [ ] 1905-1908 6. [ ] 1903-1906 7. [ ] 1903-1906 (1 folder)

    2 WILLS EYE HOSPITAL, 1901 Surgeon's report (1 folder) 1901


    3.1 List of reprints, 1886-1913 (1 folder) [1913] 3.2 Numerical list (nos. 1-38) (35 folders) 1886-1898 2 3.3 Alphabetical list (36 folders) 1881-1913 3 3.4 Abstracts and critiques of papers (1 folder) 1895-1903 3.5 Lectures to students and syllabi (1 folder) 1889-1896 3.6 Speeches (1 folder) 1906, [n.d.] 3.7 Fragments (1 folder) 1901, [n.d.]


    1. Correspondence with physicians and educators concerning school eye testing and Risley's article, "School hygiene" (1 folder) 1895-1904 Box Ser.

    3 4 2. Correspondence with Dora Keen Handy, Corresponding Secretary of the Public Education Association of Philadelphia; report of the Subcommittee on Examination of the School Children's Eyes; minutes of the Joint Committee on Compulsory Education of the PEA and Civic Club; test cards for eye examinations; and Risley's writings and reports on eye examinations (1 folder) 1898-1904 5 MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE, 1897-1908 (1 folder) 1897-1908

    6 PICTORIAL MATERIALS, 1907 and undated

    1. Illustration: cyst of the optic nerve by Margaretta Washington (1 folder) [n.d.] 2. Illustration: congenital dislocation of both lenses as seen with the ophthalmoscope and left eye as seen with oblique illumination by F. H. Conrath [includes printed copies] (1 folder) [n.d.] 3. Illustration: corneal separation by Karin M. Hall (1 folder) 1907 4. Diagram of eye construction (1 folder) [n.d.] 5. Illustration: protuberant eyeball by J. M. Squaid (1 folder) [n.d.] 6. Illustration: student posture (1 folder) [n.d.] 7. Photograph: Baby Marsden (1 folder) [n.d.] 8. Photograph: eyeball? by A. B. Randall (1 folder) [n.d.] 9. Photographs: photographic illustrations of the anatomy of the ear by A. B. Randall (1 folder) [n.d.] 10. List of tables re: eye disease (1 folder) [n.d.]


    1. American Ophthalmological Society: membership lists and correspondence [printed] (1 folder) 1900-1906jBox Ser.

    3 7 2. American Otological Society: membership list [printed] (1 folder) 1906 Ser. 3.2

    Numerical list (nos. 1-38):

    1. "Abnormalities of ocular balance: their nature, etiology, conservative management, and operative treatment. A clinical study", 1894 (2 folders) 1894 2. "Ocular disturbances: due to climatic influences", [ca. 1892] (1 folder) [ca. 1892] 3. "Secondary glaucoma", 1897 June 1-4 (1 folder) 1897 4. [Case descriptions], [ca. 1895 April] (1 folder) [ca. 1895] 5. "The sequelae of iritis", 1897 April 8 (1 folder) 1897 6. "The gouty and rheumatic diatheses and their relation to diseases of the eye", [ca. 1889 March] (1 folder) [ca. 1889] 7. "Additional cases of hypermetropic refraction passing while under observation into myopia", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] 8. "Albuminuria of pregnancy retinitis induced premature delivery", [ca. 1886] (1 folder) [ca. 1886] 9. [Observations of Pudler's Eye made at my request by Dr. De Schweinitz], [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] 10. "Tumor of optic nerve and retina glio sarcoma", [ca. 1896] (1 folder) [ca. 1896] 11. "Melano sarcoma originating in ciliary body", [ca. 1896 July] (1 folder) [ca. 1896] 12. "Cyst of the right optic disc, chorditis, macular hemorrhage", [ca. 1895 October] (1 folder) [ca. 1895] 13. "Two cases of marked and rapid change in refraction in patients suffering from glycosuria, associated with variation in the amount of sugar secreted in the urine", 1897 May 5 (1 folder) 1897 14. "Symmetrical and asymmetrical meridians of the cornea in astigmatic eyes" [with James Thorington], [ca. 1895 January] (1 folder) [ca. 1895] 15. "A case of vaso motor ataxia with eye symptoms simulating monocular exophthalmic goitre", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] 16. [Empty] 17. "Clinic report chalazion hordeolum", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] 18. "Clinical memoranda", 1897 January 19 (1 folder) [n.d.] 19. "A modification of ophthalmoscope with cylinders", [ca. 1885] (1 folder) [ca. 1885] 20. "An optometre a fixed form of apparatus for trial lenses and for the determination of the anomalies of ocular balance", [1897] (1 folder) [1897] 21. "New and compact case for a complete set of ophthalmic instruments with sterilizing tray", 1896 (1 folder) 1896 22. "Defective coquilles as the cause of irritation in the treatment of inflamed eyes, etc.", [ca. 1896 November] (1 folder) [ca. 1896] 23. [University of Pennsylvania Alumni Society Executive Committee report], [1894] (1 folder) [1894] 24. "Financial management, its relation to other parts of Association work some practical suggestions", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] 25. "Book notice Eye light and school life by Simeon Snell", 1897 June (1 folder) 1897 26. "Clinical memoranda congenital cataract, ward clinic at the Wills Eye Hospital", 1897 December (1 folder) 1897 27. [Empty] 28. "Discussion on Dr. Fox's paper. Mules' Operation", 1897 June (1 folder) 1897 29." Complicated cataract: a clinical lecture", 1898 March 17 (1 folder) 1898 30. "The general management and after treatment of cataract", 1897 December (1 folder) 1897 31. [Empty] 32. [Empty] 33. "The value of systematic individual inspection of the school children", 1898 May 18-19 (1 folder) 1898 34. "Cassaripe: a new remedy for the treatment of corneal ulcers and other infectious diseases of the eye", 1898 July (1 folder) 1898 35. "Implantation of sponge in the orbit after enucleation: a preliminary statement", 1898 July (1 folder) 1898 36. "The employment of mydriatics for the correction of anomalies of refraction", 1898 October (1 folder) 1898 37. "Anisometropia", 1898 December (1 folder) 1898 38. "Extraction of fragments of metal from the eye by means of the electromagnet two cases", [ca. 1898 October] (1 folder) [ca. 1898]

    Ser. 3.3

    Alphabetical list: "Affections of the eye associated with disease of the contiguous sinuses", [ca. 1901 November] (1 folder) [ca. 1901] "Affections of the lachrymal passage. (Discussion of Dr. Osborn's paper)", [1906] (1 folder) [1906] "Binocular exophthalmos recovery", [ca. 1908 February] (1 folder) [ca. 1908] "A case of congenital dislocation of both lenses. Attempted removal by absorption resulting in failure followed by extraction. Card illustration", 1906 July (1 folder) 1906 "Changes in refraction", 1903 February (1 folder) 1903 "Conditions in Panama report of delegates to the fourth Pan American Medical Congress at Panama" [with R. G. Curtin], [1905] (1 folder) [1905] "Displacements of the eye cysts of the ethmoidal and frontal sinuses", [ca. 1889 April] (1 folder) [ca. 1889] "Displacements of the eyeball by disease of the frontal and ethmoid sinuses: two cases", 1900 May (1 folder) 1900 "Disturbance of binocular vision", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "The extraction of cataract without iridectomy", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "The extraction of metallic fragments from the vitreous chamber", [ca. 1902 January] (1 folder) [ca. 1902] [Glaucoma], [1908] (1 folder) [1908] [Headaches], [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "The hygiene of vision in the home", 1900 June (1 folder) 1900 "Hypermetropic refraction passing while under observation into myopia", [ca. 1887 April] (1 folder) [ca. 1887] "The influence of eye strain in the training schools for feeble minded children", [ca. 1895 December] (1 folder) [ca. 1895] "An inquiry regarding increased tension of the eyeball", [ca. 1913 October] (1 folder) [ca. 1913] "The mydriatics: the motive and method for their employment in the correction of errors of refraction", [1902] (1 folder) [1902] "Ocular affections associated with disease of the sinuses contiguous to the orbit", 1908 July 15 (1 folder) 1908 "Ophthalmia of newborn children its prevention and treatment", [1896 October] (1 folder) [1896] "Ophthalmic memoranda", 1901 February 19 (1 folder) 1901 "Prenatal irido cyclitis. Buphthalmos. Inherited syphilis", 1908 March 2 (1 folder) 1908 "The relations of headache to affections of the eye", 1899 June (1 folder) 1899 "Right hemianopsia alexia, with partial temporary visual aphasia and amnesia and amnesiac color blindness", [1901 February 1] (1 folder) [1901] "The significance of certain rare forms of ametropia", [1899] (1 folder) [1899] "Some etiological factors in interstitial keratitis", 1908 March 19 (1 folder) 1908 "Some of the ocular affections of childhood associated with impairment of general nutrition", [1901] (1 folder) [1901] "Some recent observations in asthenopic eyes", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "The specialist", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "Subconjunctival salt injections", [1905] (1 folder) [1905] "The surgical treatment of chronic glaucoma", [ca. 1907 March] (1 folder) [ca. 1907] "The systematic examination of the eyes of school children", [ca. 1881] (1 folder) [ca. 1881] "Three additional cases of hypermetropic refraction passing while under observation into myopia", [ca. 1885 June] (1 folder) [ca. 1885] "Tumorous angioma of the eyelid", [n.d.] (1 folder) [n.d.] "Two cases of interstitial keratitis accompanying cretinoid symptoms", 1908 March (1 folder) 1908 "Two cases of recurrent conjunctivitis produced in one, by the horse, in the other, by the cat", 1907 May (1 folder) 1907