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Alfred R. Shands, Jr. papers on William E. Horner

Identifier: MSS 2/090

Scope and Contents

This small collection of correspondence and related materials, 1821-1975, assembled by Alfred Rives Shands, Jr., documents his research on William E. Horner.

The collection is divided into four series. Series 1 contains Shands' correspondence, 1948-1975, concerning the loan and ultimate disposition of a collection of Horner papers and relics at the University of Pennsylvania and Shands' attempt to publish Horner's 1821 European diary. Series 2 contains two printed items concerning Horner's life.

Shands' typed transcript of Horner's 1821 diary is preserved in Series 3. The diary contains Horner's observations on life and conditions in England, the Netherlands, and France; Particular emphasis is placed on the anatomical collections and hospitals which Horner visited. The diary also contains Horner's views on the teaching of anatomy.

Typed transcripts and one original letter of William E. Horner are preserved in Series 4. There are two letters, 1821 and 1840, from Horner to his father. The 1821 letter describes 4th of July celebrations by Americans in Paris and Horner's meeting with General Lafayette. The 1840 letter, which exists in its original form is a lengthy discussion of Horner's religious life and reasons for conversion to Roman Catholicism. There are also copies of letters from Charles Vizzardelli, secretary to Pope Gregory XVI, 1840, and the Pope himself, 1844, thanking Horner for gifts of books.


  • 1821 - 1975


Biographical / Historical

Alfred Rives Shands, Jr., orthopedic surgeon, was born in 1899. He was the great grandson of physician William E. Horner (1793-1853). Shands attended the University of Virginia, receiving his A.B. in 1918 and M.D. in 1922. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had one son, Alfred. Shands died in 1981.

Shands was an Instructor in Orthopedic Surgery at, first, Johns Hopkins University Medical School (1926-1927), then George Washington University Medical School (1927-1930). From 1930 to 1937, he was Associate Professor of Surgery in charge of Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine. He then came to Delaware to establish the Nemours Foundation, became its Medical Director, and was Surgeon inChief at the Alfred I. DuPont Institute. He was also a Visiting Professor in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shands was elected to non resident fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1941. He was also a member of the American Medical Association, the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, the American Orthopedic Association, and the Southern Surgical Association.


1 Box (1 box and 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Small collections

Custodial History

This collection of research and correspondence of Alfred Rives Shands, Jr., was donated to the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Elizabeth Shands, 301 Cokesbury Village, Hockessin, Delaware, 19707, through the agency of David Y. Cooper, on 9 June 1986. The collection was processed and catalogued in April 1990.

According to information received from David Y. Cooper, the original 1821 diary and letters of William E. Horner were donated to the University of Pennsylvania.
Alfred R. Shands, Jr. papers on William E. Horner
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States