[1891 TLS by Johns Hopkins Hospital Professor and Gynecology Pioneer, Dr. Howard A. Kelly, concerning a Medical Consultation and referencing his Paper on Cranial Hemotomas in Infants with a Separately Issued Copy of that Published Paper].
“A piece of gynecological historical gymnastics”
Interesting letter from Johns Hopkins Hospital co-founder and pioneering gynecological researcher and surgeon, Dr. Howard A. Kelly (1858–1943), in which he comments on his own scholarly medical paper on cranial hemotomas in infants, Cephalæmatoma Verum Externum (1890). Kelly’s paper reveals an early interest in medical history and in his letter he rather teases himself, describing that 1890 paper as a piece of “gynecological historical gymnastics.”
Dr. Kelly’s letter is in response to a query from a Dr. Taylor who has posed “some hard questions” on a gynecological matter. Dr. Kelly defers on answering his correspondent “without some little research,” but does make an interim reply:
I will endeavor in the next few days to take a little time off and look this matter up, and if I can put my hands on just what I want, I will write to you at once. I send you a work which I issued last year, in some respects a piece of gynecological historical gymnastics, but not without vale, as no important article has ever been written in the English language upon the subject, and proved to be a great deal in the history which was interesting. This has an important bearing upon the subject you have in hand, as the blood tumors are all evidences of pressure. The Cephalaenatoma Externum which I have written is often associated with external hemorrhage and may even communicate with the blood within. The first paper on the intra-cranial form of Cephalaenatoma is by Hoere. I marked the reference on page 76. Frederick’s case on page 70 showed that such tumors may occur without forceps. The child died in coma. Shoemaker’s case on page 70 is also a good one. These are, however, all probably too recent for your purpose.
Within the accompanying separately published pamphlet copy of Dr. Kelly’s Cephalæmatoma Verum Externum, which he transmitted to Dr. Taylor, is Kelly’s bold pencil mark, right on page 76, indicating the reference to Hoere’s paper on the intra-cranial form of Cephalaenatoma. Additional pencil markings are seen within the pamphlet and in Kelly’s letter; because they are more finely written, it would seem these were written later by Dr. Taylor.
About 30 pages of Kelly’s pamphlet is devoted to a medical history of cephalaematoma, plus there is a brief chapter on medico-legal issues of the disease.
Kelly received his undergraduate degree (A.B., 1877) and his medical degree (M.D., 1882) from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1889, after serving as an associate professor of obstetrics at the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kelly became Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s first professor of obstetrics and gynecology, serving there with Dr. William Osler who had just founded Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine.
“During his years at Johns Hopkins, Kelly did much to develop the fields of gynecology, abdominal surgery, and urology. ... He devised techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder, and he was one of the first to use cocaine for local anesthesia ... In 1898 his two-volume magnum opus Operative Gynecology appeared, containing a wealth of material. ... Operative Gynecology played a key role in establishing gynecology as a surgical specialty. ... A bibliophile, Kelly became interested in the history of medicine and medical biography, in part because of the influence of Osler. ... With Osler, William Henry Welch, and others of the Hopkins faculty, he founded the Johns Hopkins Hospital Historical Society in Baltimore. He published Cyclopedia of American Medical Biography (1912); Some American Medical Botanists (1914); American Medical Biographies, with Walter L. Burrage (1920); and Dictionary of American Medical Biography, with Burrage (1928).” (ANB)
Description: [1891 TLS by Johns Hopkins Hospital Professor and Gynecology Pioneer, Dr. Howard A. Kelly, concerning a Medical Consultation and referencing his Paper on Cranial Hemotomas in Infants with a Separately Issued Copy of that Published Paper].
Cephalæmatoma Verum Externum. By Howard A. Kelly, M.D. Philadelphia: Wm. J. Dornan, Printer, 1890. 79pp. “Reprinted from The Transactions of The American Gynecological Society, September, 1890.” Approx. 8½ x 5¾ inches. Removed (two stab holes); lacks wrappers. Author’s pencil mark on page 76. Brief soling; a few dog-eared leaves; a few marginal markings; Very Good. [sold with:] [Baltimore, October 10, 1891]. p. Typed Letter Signed; printed letterhead. 10½ x 8 inches. Removed. Horizontal fold with four stab holes near fold line, affecting a few words, but not sense; Very Good.