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Preceptor


In April, Billings learned of a large collection of medical books available in Cincinnati. The personal library of the late Dr. George C. Blackman, reputed to be one of the best private medical collections in the country, was being offered for sale to help support Blackman's widow and children after his death in July 1871.

Blackman had been professor of surgery at the Medical College of Ohio, Billings's alma mater, and in fact had been Billings's preceptor during his studies there from 1858 to 1860. He was known as irritable, quarrelsome, and vain, and had alienated practically all the faculty to the point of resigning in 1860, but Billings had no grudge against him.

Lucian A. James, a Cincinnati physician, who had served three years as a contract surgeon with the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War, was helping Billings find material from the Cincinnati area. When James informed him that the library had been appraised at $2,600, Billings balked. Despite the offer to reduce the price by 20%, Billings instead took only selected titles from Blackman's library.



Title page of book, text in black, as follows: Clinical lectures on surgery by M. Nelaton. From notes taken by Walter F. Atlee, M.D. 'Null est all pro certo noscenti vis, nisi quam plurimas et moeboram, et dissectionum historias, tam allorum propriae, collectas habere, etinter se comparare.' Modgagni, De vol. et omni. Morg., lib. 14. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1855.
Page with printed text in black, title at top: Catalogue. Library of the late Geo. Blackman, M.D. This is followed by a long list of book titles.

Clinical Lectures on Surgery, by Auguste Nelaton, 1855. The first page of the inventory for Blackman's collection shows this title, which Billings marked with a "B" for "buy" and was acquired late in 1872.

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SGO label decoration
Photographic portrait, in black and white, of George Curtis Blackman, shown in three quarters pose from shoulders up, clean shaven, with solemn expression.

George Curtis Blackman, (1819-1871). Though known as one of the finest surgeons in the country, Blackman often offset his reputation with his volatile temperament.

Title page of pamphlet, yellow tinted paper, text in black as follows: An account of chronic hydrocephalus, and of a case in which paracentesis was performed, and on the statistics of this operation from the New Your Journal of Medicine. By George C. Blackman, M.D., fellow of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London. With illustrations. New York: Holman, Gray & Co., Printers, corner of Centre and White streets. MDCCCLIV.
Page also bears handwritten inscription in black ink reading: Prof. Alden March with author's regard.

An Account of Chronic Hydrocephalus, and of a Case in Which Paracentesis was Performed, and on the Statistics of This Operation, by George Blackman, 1854. This pamphlet bears Blackman's presentation inscription.