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Origins


Rarity and comprehensiveness were not collection objectives for the Library conducted under Joseph Lovell and Thomas Lawson. Many of the titles kept in the Surgeon General's office were of a practical nature, on subjects such as military regulations, anatomy, dentistry, pharmacy, midwifery, and military surgery, along with odd books that had been donated to the office. Added to this were copies of journals and basic medical texts, which had been selected for distribution to surgeons in the field. On the whole they were standards for their time, regularly used, worn out, replaced, or simply discarded.

There are many titles in the collection matching the brief descriptions provided in the 1840 catalogue, the first inventory of the Library's holdings, but most of them lack features that conclusively identify them as being the actual books that Lovell or Lawson acquired. A few, however, have evaded replacement from heavy usage or deterioration.



The National Calendar, by Peter Force, 1830. This annually published directory of federal agencies, including the military, typifies the sort of publication that might have been found in any government office of the time. The handwritten ownership information, probably in Lovell's hand, places this book in Surgeon General's office in 1830.

The National Calendar, by Peter Force, 1828. Dr. Lovell signed his name to the cover and the title page of this edition, suggesting that he used his own books along with those provided by the government.

An Oration on Education, 1812, by James Cutbush. This was one in a series of pamphlets bound together and presented to Dr. Lovell. This pamphlet bears a personal inscription from the author to the Surgeon General.

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SGO label decoration
Cover of book, brown leather with gold decoration forming a rectangular border around the edge, with title as follows: Surgeon General's Office.

General Regulations for the Army, or Military Institutes, 1821. The cover of this book neatly sums up the early conception of the Library as a reference collection maintained in an office. It contains annotations along the margins relating to medical military army staff. Revising these regulations was one of Dr. Lovell's early responsibilities and the notes were likely made by Lovell himself.

Excerpt from printed page, with text in black, a chart with information as follows: 49. Fuel and Quarters. Grades, etc. Quarters. Fuel per month. Rooms. Kitchens. From 1st May to 31st Oct. From 1st Nov. to 30th April. Cords. Cords. Major generals, - 3 - 1 - 1 - 6 - Brigadier generals, 2 - 1 - 1 - 4 1/2 - Colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, or assistant paymaster, and every other officer having the relative rank of field officer, each 1 - 1 - 1 - 3 - Captain, surgeon, assistant surgeon, and military storekeeper, each 1 - [null] - 1/2 - 1 1/2 - All other commissioned officers, to every two, 1 - [null] - 1/2 - 1 1/2 - to each mess of six or more officers, [null] - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - To the commanding officer of a department or separate post, and to the principal officer of each branch of the division staff, for an office, 1 - [null] - [null] - 2 - At posts where there are less than six officers, [null] - 1 - 1/2 - 1 - Every six non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates, including the authorized number of washerwomen and servants, [null] - null] - 1/2 - 1.
Also handwritten in ink, inclusion to the list as follows: Surgeon General 2 - 1 - 1 - 4 1/2.

On this page of the General Regulations, Lovell has amended the distribution list of heating fuel for officers to include the Surgeon General.

View of spine of book in red leather with gold lettering, with text as follows from top to bottom: Aide-Memoire Medical-Legal de l'officier de sant de l'armee de terre. UH M221a 1842 - Sur. Gen. Office.

Aide-memoire medico-legal de l'officier de sante de l'armee detTerre, by Francois Clement Maillot, 1842. Under Thomas Lawson, the Library continued much the same collection policy as it had under Lovell. At the bottom of the spine the Library collection is still identified primarily as office reference. This is one of the very few titles that can definitely be said to have been obtained during Lawson's tenure.