American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection


As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, and various TV programs, Antiques & Collecting publications


Restoration of Lecture Cards


See this collection of cards for student, Edward Kelly, M.D.


This set of lecture cards from 1857-58, University of the City of New York, Medical Department,  was obtained with all of the 18 card back-sides having been well glued to an 1858 ledger paper and on top of the ledger paper was glued a period news-paper.  Who knows why, but that is the way they were found.  The problem was how to remove the two layers of paper from the back of the lecture cards without damaging the lecture card material.  Fortunately the glue was water soluble. 



The following procedures were first tested on one of the least valuable of the cards and technique refined as results were obtained:


First, the news-paper was removed by dobbing a wet (not dripping wet, but wrung out) paper towel on the news-paper until it became translucent, which took about a minute to accomplish.  At that point, the paper was easily removed, revealing the ledger page below with ink hand-writing.  The ledger paper did not react well to soaking with a wet towel, so a hand-held clothing steamer with purified water was used to wet and cause the release of the ledger paper from the back of the lecture card.  The steamer was purchased at Target for $33 to keep things very simple and the instrument worked to perfection.


Once the ledger paper was steamed for approximately 10 - 20 seconds, the edges could be tested to see if they would release.  If they could be lifted, then they were pulled up until resistance was felt and further steaming was applied to the top of the ledger paper.  Usually once the paper started lifting off, it continued in one piece or tore into strips.  The remaining thin strips could be again soaked with the wet paper towel and removed with a thumbnail as they were soften by the water absorbing along the edges of the ledger paper.


Any remaining glue was wiped off the back of the card with a damp paper towel, and the card was dried quickly with a dry paper towel on a flat surface.  The card was then quickly placed with the backside down on a non-stick surface (Corion kitchen counter top) and a heavy telephone book was placed on top of the card with the face side turned up.  After drying for 10 - 20 minutes, if the card was sticking to the counter top, then a large sharp knife was passed under the card and used to gently break the bond and lift the card for further drying with the phone book on top.   Phone books were left on the cards for three hours or until the card appeared to have flattened and dried completely.  This part varied for any given card due to degree of dampness from the procedure, which was minor from the steam.  (Caution: the steam will cause the cards to curl if applied too long.  However the flatten right back out when left under the pressure of the phone book to dry.)


The whole set of 18 cards survived this procedure in excellent shape and the ink signatures on the backs of the cards were totally preserved and did not run. 

Pre-restoration examples of the cards with the ledger paper and news-print showing around the edges

A hand-held Rowenta clothing steamer was purchased from Target for $33


Each card was placed on a dry paper towel during the procedure.  The above center photo is of a wet paper towel used to 'dob' and clean off the news-paper remanents.  On the right is news-paper and ledger-paper after removal.


Above left is the ledger-paper remaining after news-paper removal, and right is the steam being applied



Above left is the edge of the ledger-paper pulled up.  On the right is a strip of paper which didn't come off with the sheet of ledger paper and is now being removed by itself using a wet paper towel to selectively moisture soak the remaining ledger paper.

Above is the back side and front side of cards after paper removal


See this collection of cards for student, Edward Kelly, M.D.

Lecture Cards....: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

Medical College lecture cards are wanted-to-buy for this collection.  Please contact Dr. Michael Echols


Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols



Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Please request permission before commercial use or publication of any content or photos on this site and credit any use with:  "American Civil War Surgical Antiques"   All content and all original photography on this Web Site is copyrighted 1995 - 2015 and may not be used on any other web site or in commercial print without the expressed e-mail permission from Dr. Arbittier:  Contact   All rights reserved. 


Students doing reports or projects are welcome to use the content of this site without permission, but credits would be appreciated.


Please note: information on this site may not be normally referenced as this is an active and long-term educational research project.  Personal notes may not be properly cited for publication.  Various articles are digitally reproduced under the 'fair-use act' of the copyright laws and are intended for educational purposes only.  Many citations are from Google digital 'books' and can be traced backwards via a search of a unique string in the citation.


 Arbittier Museum of Medical History Tour:   1 | 2 | 3


Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016