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Guide to the John Ridlon papers, 1846-1936 and undated

Abstract

Physician, surgeon, and professor specializing in orthopedic medicine, practicing in New York and Chicago, Illinois.

Collection consists of both loose and bound manuscripts as well as correspondence, photographs, and illustrations relating to John Ridlon's extensive research and writings on orthopedics. Bound volumes comprise: six casebooks (1889-1892); four letterbooks (1873-1903); an autograph manuscript, Some comments on the principles and practice of Hugh Owen Thomas (undated); a scrapbook of figures and illustrations (undated); three volumes composed of reprint clippings and manuscript notes (undated); and a bound volume of reprints (1888-1923). Also included are 85 additional reprints dating from 1888 to 1935, photographs and illustrations of orthopedic deformities and treatments, and fourteen diplomas from various educational institutions. Correspondents include: R. Osgood, A. Steindler, P. D. Wilson, R. K. Ghormley, J. E. Goldthwait, A. B. Judson, R. W. Lovett, H. W. Orr, S. W. Mitchell, and H. Cushing. Letters also document Ridlon's involvement with two charitable institutions: the Home for Destitute Crippled Children and the Country Home for Convalescent Children. Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
Ridlon, John, 1852-1936.
Title
John Ridlon papers1846-1936 and undated
Language of Material
English
Extent
4.5 Linear Feet, Approx. 3250 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

This material, which documents John Ridlon's medical career, consists of both loose and bound articles as well as case files, correspondence, photographs, and illustrations, relating to his research and writings on orthopedics. Case files - a large majority of them pediatric - include tubercular infection of the joints, scoliosis and other deformities, spondylitis (spinal arthritis), and limb or joint injuries. There are hundreds of medical illustrations in the form of photographs mounted on board, photographic prints of X-rays, and printed illustrations on loose sheets that show patients, symptoms or deformities, and treatments such as surgery, braces and casts; many of them were used by Ridlon in his published works.

Among the bound volumes are six casebooks (1889-1892); four letterbooks (1873-1903); an autograph manuscript, "Some comments on the principles and practice of Hugh Owen Thomas" (undated); a scrapbook of figures and illustrations (undated); three volumes composed of reprint clippings and manuscript notes (undated); and a bound volume of 88 reprints (1888-1923). There are also many diplomas and certificates received by Ridlon from various educational institutions.

Correspondents include: R. Osgood, A. Steindler, P. D. Wilson, R. K. Ghormley, J. E. Goldthwait, A. B. Judson, R. W. Lovett, H. W. Orr, S. W. Mitchell, H. Cushing. In addition to discussing medical cases and research, letters also document Ridlon's involvement with two charitable institutions: the Home for Destitute Crippled Children (Chicago) and the Country Home for Convalescent Children.

Accompanying the professional papers is a set of 116 black-and-white photographs taken during Ridlon's service as a surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War I. The photos were taken by several photographers at a medico-military training camp in Plattsburgh, N.Y., in 1916. Ridlon reported these experiences at a medical conference in 1917, and a reprint of this paper is also held in the collection. In the same Photographs Series are several portraits of Ridlon, and photographs of him posed in his office and examination room, taken in 1911. The collection is rounded out by several folders of ephemera, early professional diplomas and certificates, letters of recommendation for Ridlon's Chicago appointment in 1892, and his obituary.

Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Individuals using this collection are reminded that personally-identifiable medical information is subject to privacy laws.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Bound holograph manuscripts containing case notes on orthopedic patients with a variety of complaints, including descriptions of each case and patient data such as name, age, sex, address, dates of consultations, diagnosis, treatment, and outcome. Includes several one-page manuscripts laid in as well as outlines made of patient body parts showing measurements of the actual curvature and size of affected areas. There are many other patient case studies in folders housed in the Patient Case Files Series. Medical records are open for research use.

Vol. 1, 1889 Aug.-1891 Aug.
Box 1
Vol. 2, 1889-1892
Box 1
Vol. 3, 1890 Jan.-Sept.
Box 1
Vol. 4, 1890 Sept.-1891 May
Box 1
Vol. 5, 1891 May-Dec.
Box 2
Vol. 6, 1891-1892
Box 2

Contains correspondence, as well as a few account sheets, contracts, meeting minutes, deeds, loan agreements, bylaws, printed material, bills and receipts, reports, some photographs, reprints, clippings, and typed manuscripts. Correspondents include: R. Osgood, A. Steindler, P. D. Wilson, R. K. Ghormley, J. E. Goldthwait, A. B. Judson, R. W. Lovett, H. W. Orr, S. W. Mitchell, H. Cushing. Letters also document Ridlon's involvement with two charitable institutions: the Home for Destitute Crippled Children and the Country Home for Convalescent Children.

Correspondence, A-B
Box 3
Correspondence, C-E
Box 4
Correspondence, F-H
Box 5
Correspondence, H-K
Box 6
Correspondence, L-M
Box 7
Correspondence, M-P
Box 8
Correspondence, Q-T
Box 9
Correspondence, U-Z
Box 10
Letterbooks, 1873-1880, 1895

Bound outgoing correspondence in both typed and holograph scripts, containing transcriptions of correspondence by Ridlon concerning financial and professional matters.

(2 vols.)
Box 11
Letterbooks, 1895-1896, 1896-1903

Bound outgoing correspondence written in both typed and holograph scripts, containing transcriptions of correspondence by Ridlon concerning financial and professional matters.

(2 vols.)
Box 12

Contains several hundred black-and-white images taking the form of photographs (mounted on cardstock), early X-rays, and printed illustrations, all relating to Ridlon's case studies and research on orthopedics. Many were used in his publications from the 1880s to the 1920s. Images show unidentified patients with deformities and abnormalities, treatments (including braces, casts, and sometimes surgery), and outcomes. Many are pediatric patients. Original folder titles have been retained.

A Collection of Orthopedic Illustrations, circa 1890s-1920s

Includes one reproduction of early chest/shoulders X-ray. Also includes set of hand-inked reproductions of 16th-century treatments. All undated except 1911 illustration. Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

(2 folders; approx. 200 items)
Box 10
Spinal deformities and treatments, undated (mounted on card stock)
(5 items)
Box 10
Congenital dislocations of the hip paper, 1888-1904

Includes photo prints of early X-rays.

(5 folders; 27 items)
Box 13
Pseudo hypertrophied paralysis and curves, undated
(3 items)
Box 13
Scrapbook of figures and illustrations, circa 1900

Bound scrapbook containing illustrations of braces and other tools for treating patients with orthopedic complaints, diagrams illustrating the use of these tools, and photographs and drawings of affected persons. Images were probably used in Ridlon's published writings.

(24 cm. 70 leaves)
Box 14

Folders of case summaries maintained by Dr. Ridlon, most of them dating from 1900 to 1915. At least half are pediatric cases. Cases include Pott's disease (tuberculosis of the spine), spondylitis, scoliosis (congenital and idiopathic), tubercular infection of the joints, other joint diseases and injuries, and congenital deformities. Case summaries are typically one to two pages long, and include patient names, ages, residence, family history, symptoms, measurements, treatment, and outcome. Occasionally other documents such as referral letters and records of tests such as urinalyses are attached. These medical records are open to research.

Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

Patient Case Files, A-M
(1-14 of 27 folders)
Box 18
Patient Case Files, N-Z and Report

The last folder consists of a report titled Investigation of the value of tuberculin in the treatment of tuberculous joint disease at the Home for Destitute Crippled Children [Chicago], circa 1920.

(15-27 of 27 folders)
Box 19

Contains 118 black-and-white photographs of the first medico-military training camp at Plattsburgh, N.Y. Images feature camp scenes, including camp cook stations, mules and wagons, a water truck, machine gun pits, headquarters tents, officers and privates, and drills and reviews of the infantry and cavalry. Several prints show Ridlon during litter drills. Names on the backs of certain groups of prints may indicate the photographers: Dr. Suches (?) and Dr. McGraw. Other individuals are also identified, and most of the images are captioned. Includes a related paper presented by John Ridlon at a conference in 1917, describing the camp and the American preparedness for war with respect to military medicine (photocopied from reprint #82 in the volume, Collected Papers of Dr. John Ridlon, also in this collection). The paper was originally illustrated by sixty-seven lantern slides, which are no longer in the collection but may have corresponded to the photographs in this series.

Series also includes three postcards from the camp at Plattsburgh, three photographic portraits of John Ridlon, two prints of him seated at a desk in his office, and two of him in his examination room, one of which is a duplicate; a wall calendar gives the date as 1911.

Photocopy of John Ridlon's paper speaking about his experiences at the U.S. Army Plattsburgh camp, 1917
Box 15
Photographs from training camp, Plattsburgh, N.Y., 1916
(2 folders, 118 items)
Box 15
Plattsburgh duplicates, negatives, and original envelopes
(29 items)
Box 15
Postcard images of Plattsburgh camp (2) and Camp Zachary Taylor base Hospital with staff, Louisville, Kentucky, 1916-1917
(3 items)
Box 15
Portraits of John Ridlon, circa 1910s, 1932

Two portraits from around 1910 measure 7x10 and 8x11 inches, while the bust-length profile photograph from 1932 measures 4.75x6.75 inches.

(3 items)
Box 15
Photographs of Ridlon in his office and examination room, 1911

Photographs are each mounted on board and measure 8x10 and 9x11 inches. One is a duplicate.

(4 items)
Box 15

Handwritten, typed manuscripts resulting from Ridlon's research into surgical and therapeutic treatments for conditions such as scoliosis, spondylitis, and other diseases or deformities. Also includes several folders of ephemera, letters of reference, diplomas and certificates. Ridlon's obituary is also included. The writings are divided into several sections: a set of bound volumes containing manuscripts and reprints; a series of reprints, arranged in alphabetical order by title; and a folder of loose newsletters and articles.

Some Comments on the Principles and Practice of Hugh Owen Thomas, by John Ridlon, undated

Handwritten manuscript (on the reverse of "Principles and Practice of Orthopaedic Surgery," by Philip Lewin). Hugh Owen Thomas was a Welsh surgeon considered the father of orthopaedic surgery in Britain. Typed versions of the manuscript can be found in the Correspondence Series.

(2 folders)
Box 16
Club-foot, circa 1900

Bound typescript manuscript. Pages of text are mounted on to the manuscript, which is an essay by Ridlon on the congenital disorder talipes, also known as clubfoot, including illustrations of presentations of the disorder, possible treatments, and photographs of patients with the disorder.

(10 cm., 22 leaves)
Box 2
General Principles, circa 1900

Bound typescript manuscript with holograph notes containing writings on the general practice of orthopedics as well as diagnosis and treatment of spondylitis and scoliosis.

(10 cm., 31 leaves)
Box 2
Spondylitis, circa 1900

Bound notebook written in holograph script containing writings and collected research on cases of spondylitis including causes and cures, as well as clippings pasted in, illustrated notes laid in showing spinal curvature of patients with Ridlon's notes, and two photographs of a dissection of a patient with the disorder. Includes multiple pages of both holograph and typescript notes laid in.

(10 cm., 72 p.)
Box 2
Reprints: Collected Papers of Dr. John Ridlon, Orthopedic Surgery, 1888-1923

Bound volume of 88 numbered reprints, signed by John Ridlon and dated 1925. Includes typed index of titles. Reprint #82, a paper given by Ridlon at a conference in 1917, refers to the World War I U.S. Medical Corps training camp in Plattsburgh, N.Y., featured in the photographs in this collection.

(1 vol.)
Box 17
Writings by Ridlon, A-J

Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

(1-9 of 24 folders)
Box 19
Writings by Ridlon, K-Y, Notes and Miscellaneous

Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

(15 of 24 folders)
Box 20
Diplomas, certificates, licenses, and letter of reference, 1873-1892

These documents date from Ridlon's earliest professional years, before his appointment to the Chicago Medical School. As the letters and diplomas document, Ridlon matriculated from Tufts College, and went on to serve in New York City at the New York Orthopaedic Dispensary and Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital, and Vanderbilt Clinic; he also served at Bellevue Hospital as attending surgeon of the Orthopedic Division (outpatient) from 1887-1889.

Box 20
Ephemera, 1888-1929 and undated

American Orthopedic Association (AOA) meeting programs, 1888, 1889, 1929; AOA banquet menus, 1899, 1906, 1909. Also includes a humorous play program and an undated business card from the N.Y. Orthopaedic Dispensary and Hospital. Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

Box 20
Obituary, 1936 (clipping and photocopy)

Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

Box 20
Loose reprints and newsletters, 1886-1929 and undated

Originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection, John Ridlon papers.

Box 20

A variety of diplomas from educational institutions, received by John Ridlon during his career. Includes diplomas from Vermont Commercial College (1868), Goddard Seminary, and Columbia University.

Diplomas, 1846-1924
(11 items)
Oversize Folder 1
Diplomas, 1868-1892
(14 items)
Oversize Folder 2

Historical Note

John Frederick Ridlon, born in Vermont in 1852, was a physician, surgeon, and professor specializing in orthopedic medicine, practicing in Chicago, Illinois. He served as president of the American Orthopedic Association (1895) and was its secretary for many years. At 65 years of age he served in the U.S. Medical Corps during World War I, advancing to major. He died in Illinois in 1936.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Ridlon Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The John Ridlon Papers were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the Medical Center Library in 2011.

Processing Information

Processed by Willeke Sandler, April 2012, and Levi Crews, March 2014

Encoded by Willeke Sandler, April 2012, and Levi Crews and Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, March 2014

Two related John Ridlon collections were merged to form this collection: one was received directly from the Ridlon estate; the other was originally part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.