National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Medical Sciences Search this
3 Cubic feet (8 boxes)
Collection documents Chevalier Jackson, a physician and an American pioneer in the field of endoscopy.
Scope and Contents:
The Jackson papers include autobiographical notes, a draft of a brief biography for the National Cyclopedia of America Biography, some business papers among which are correspondence relating to a mill and to repairs to a dam, several legal papers including those concerned with real estate mortgages, and letters to and from Mrs. Jackson and household servants.
There are mementos such as dried flowers, family snapshots, final notes from Dr. Jackson to his wife, advising her of actions to be taken upon his death, and drafts of his obituary. There are a number of photographs, and negatives, primarily of Dr. Jackson.
The articles, reports and reprints are primarily by Dr. Jackson but include a few by or with his son and a few by other physicians. The papers include proofs and color proofs of equipment and procedures relating to Jackson publications and four books, one of which is by Dr. Jackson.
The material, most of which is relatively recent, is in good condition. Some of the notes are in pencil but are legible.
In addition to the papers in the Archives Center, the Division of Medical Sciences has a large number of surgical instruments including Dr. Jackson's bronchoscopes, esophagoscopes, laryngoscopes and microscopes, awards and medals, items of furniture from Dr. Jackson's study and oil paintings by him. The list of instruments is seven single-spaced pages.
There are many Chevalier Jackson papers and memorabilia in the National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, the Library and Museum of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia and the Library of Temple University.
The collection is divided into nine series.
Series 1: Personal Papers
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Legal Papers (including mortgages)
Series 4: Newsclippings, Articles and Book Reviews
Series 5: Photographs
Series 6: Chronological Journal
Series 7: Reports and Reprints
Series 8: Illustrations and Proofs
Series 9: Books
Biographical / Historical:
Chevalier Jackson, a physician and an American pioneer in the field of endoscopy, was born November 14, 1865 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and died August 16, 1958 in Philadelphia. His father, William Stanford Jackson, was a stock raiser and veterinarian. His mother was Katherine Ann Morage. Family financial reverses forced a move to Crafton, Pennsylvania, a working class community. Young Chevalier was not readily accepted by his classmates and seemed to have had a difficult time during his school years there.
Money earned by decorating glass and pottery enabled Chevalier Jackson to attend the University of Western Pennsylvania (University of Pittsburgh) from 1878 to 1882. He then apprenticed himself to a local physician, Gilmore Foster. Continuing to paint china at night he earned enough to enroll at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1884, from which he graduated in 1886. During vacations he sold medical books and served as a cook on a fishing boat. Following his graduation from Jefferson Dr. Jackson went to England to pursue his interest in laryngology under a world-famous authority, Morell Mackenzie.
Upon his return to Pittsburgh, Dr. Jackson opened an office limited to the practice of laryngology. His patients were mostly indigent and income from the practice was limited. In 1890 he devised an instrument to remove a dental plate that a patient had swallowed. The news of this meant referral of other patients with similar problems that caused obstruction of the esophagus, including blockages in children from swallowing lye. From that time on Dr. Jackson carried on an unremitting campaign to have lye bottles labeled as poison, until in 1927 Congress passed the Federal Caustic Labeling Act.
On July 9, 1899, Chevalier Jackson and Alice Bennett White were married. They had one child, Chevalier Lawrence Jackson, who also became a surgeon. In the year of his marriage, Dr. Jackson developed a bronchoscope that could be passed through the larynx to visualize the bronchi. He became chief of laryngology at Western Medical College in 1900. In 1902 he adapted a suggestion of placing a light carrier at the far ends of the scopes used in bronchscopy and esophagoscopy, thus making those procedures relatively safe. He and a machinist friend built the instruments in the friend's shop in Pittsburgh.
Dr. Jackson developed tuberculosis in 1911. He spent the two years of convalescence writing an important text book, Peroral Endoscopy and Laryngeal Surgery, published in 1915, the year he was made head of the Department of Laryngology at Jefferson Medical College. Appointments at the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania followed, and his 1930 appointment to the faculty at Temple meant that Chevalier Jackson held simultaneous appointments at five Philadelphia schools. He later relinquished all appointments except the chair at Temple from which he retired in 1938 to be succeeded by his son, Chevalier Lawrence Jackson. From 1935 to 1941 Chevalier Jackson was president of the Women's College of Pennsylvania. An early advocate of equal rights, he championed the role of women in medicine.
During his noted career Dr. Jackson wrote 250 papers, twelve text books, chapters in a number of other books, and an autobiography (1938). He was somewhat eccentric. He protected his hands by wearing silk gloves, even in summer, turned doorknobs by placing his hand in his coat pocket, preferred bowing to shaking hands, and developed a reputation for social aloofness.
Materials at the National Museum of American History:
The Division of Medicine and Science has surgical instruments, awards, medals, furniture, and oil paintings owned by Chevalier Jackson. See accession numbers are 300428.338 through .343.
Collection donated by Mrs. Joan Bugbee (a granddaughter of Dr. Jackson), date unknown.
Collection is open for research but a portion of the collection is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.