The Albert S. Ashmead Papers (1875-1910) are a fine collection
documenting the professional experiences of a well known American
leprologist. The focus of the collection is Ashmead's correspondence
with other leprologist and international figures concerning
the 1897 Berlin lepra conference. The collection also contains
manuscripts of Ashmead's articles, the text for an unpublished
anthology on Japanese medicine, and research notes and translations
of articles concerning leprosy and anthropology.
Series 1, Biographical and Genealogical, contains newsclippings
and a typescript entry with Ashmead's mendations from the National
Cyclopedia of American Biography (1894-1909).
Ashmead's correspondence received (1875-1910) in Series
contains the most historically significant items in the collection.
There is extensive correspondence concerning the 1897 Berlin
Lepra Conference from Edvard Ehlers, Jules Goldschmidt, G. Armauer
Hansen, and Jonathan Hutchinson.
Other highlights include: Luis F. Alvarez, who describes
the use of Carrasquilla's serum to treat leprosy; A. F. Bandelieron
the illnesses of Peruvian Indians; G. M. Bowie's reports of
leprosy cures; C. H. Branson's extensive account of his experiences
as a leper (1910); D. G. Brinton's theories on the history of
leprosy; correspondence from Juan deDiosCarrasquilla and Sebastian
Carrasquilla; C. L. Conrardy's descriptions of his missions
to lepers in Louisiana and china; Francisco Grana's 1907 account
of inoculating llamas for syphilis; R. G. Haliburton on anthropological
matters; a 1903 letter from Charles Hartzell, Acting Governor
of Puerto Rico, concerning a scandal at the leper colony on
Cabras Island; correspondence and a photograph from A. W. Hitt concerning
leprosy in India; Luther F. McKinney on leprosy in Columbia;
an 1895 letter from Clarence B. Moore on archeological evidence for pre Columbian syphilis;correspondence
from H. Polakowsky concerning the dispute with Rudolf Virchow;
correspondence from Alfred Stille describing his reactions to
Ashmead's published writings; and correspondence from Julio
C. Tello. Many items not written in English have Ashmead's
Series 2 also contains copies of Ashmead's outgoing correspondence
(1896-1897) concerning the 1897 conference. Major correspondents
are Edvard Ehlers and Jules Goldschmidt.
Photographs of lepers (1896 and 1901) and of a Japanese leprosy
nurse (ca. 1885), are contained in Series 3.
A small collection of Ashmead's manuscripts are preserved
in series 4. There is one folder of miscellaneous short pieces,mostly
newspaper submissions (1880-1909), as well as four lengthy manuscripts
on leprosy, tuberculosis, and Japan.
Series 5 contains printed materials and folders of newsclippings
on ambidexterity, anthropology, and leprosy. The leprosy folder
also contains a handbill, dated 22 January 1897, concerning
the proposed conference which was sent to international leprologists
from Ashmead as well as the text of the 1902 Platt leper bill.
In 1893, Ashmead assembled numerous translations of German and
French articles on leprosy, kakke [beriberi], and miscellaneous
Japanese medical and descriptive matters. Many of these articles
were written by Albrecht Wernich, and some were translated by
Ashmead himself. The collection was dedicated to the medical
profession of Japan, as Ashmead maintained that:
These valuable sources of information on subjects deeply
interesting to the Japanese people ought to be made easily accessible
to that large majority of Japanese physicians who speak English
and are not proficient enough in German or French to avail themselves
of some remarkable ideas and experiments published in these
This extensive text, entitled "Collection of some foreign
opinions on pathological matters peculiar to Japan" does
not appear to have ever been published.
Series 7 consists of Ashmead's research files on several subjects,
principally leprosy. There are several texts and translations
and information on the Berlin anthropological society debate
with Rudolf Virchow.
A few documents written in Japanese, including a history
of medicine in Japan (1874) and a report sent to Ashmead on sickness in the Japanese army in 1874-1875, are contained in Series 8. This series also includes a newsclipping concerning Jesse James and some leaves from a wreath placed on James' tomb.