Charles W. Stevens practiced medicine in Boston and his native New Hampshire throughout much of the 19th century. A Harvard graduate, Stevens cultivated relationships with several important 19th century figures. He exchanged letters with prominent Boston area physicians including Jacobi Abraham, a leading figure in the study of pediatrics. He was personally endorsed by the famed Fireside poet, James Russell Lowell. He also corresponded with the biblical scholar Osmon C. Baker and his family. Finally, Stevens conversed with the less well-off: the street dregs, the unemployed, and the undesired. He published a book, Revelations of a Boston doctor (1882), where he described his encounters with poverty. Several chapters highlighted the plight of orphans, pregnant women, and tuberculosis victims. Well-born and well-off, Stevens' concern for society's less fortunate suggests the complexity of 19th century class relations.
Scope and Content
The collection is organized chronologically from 1823 to 1888. In addition, 10 pages of biographical notes concerning the various correspondents are located at the end of the collection. This collection of correspondence and notes offers insight into 19th century medical practice. Included are Steven's inquiries concerning dropsy, diphtheria, and other diseases. The collection contains several diplomas and certificates received by Charles Wistar Stevens. Also included are three lists of the Stevens and Baker families. Among the notes included, three are in French (prescription lists) and one is in Spanish (a poem). Notable participants include Clarence J. Baker, Ephraim Cutter, Henry M. Field, Austin Flint, Abraham Jacobi, James Russell Lowell, Justin McCarthy, Edwin Whipple, Henry W. Williams, and Robert C. Winthrop.