Guide to the Josiah C. Trent papers, 1536-1961 and undated, bulk 1938-1951
U.S. thoracic surgeon, rare book and manuscript collector. The papers consist mostly of correspondence, printed material, photographs, and lecture notes taken during medical training, as well as diplomas and certificates of residency, and notes and drafts for published and unpublished research and articles. The bulk of the material documents Dr. Trent's activities and publications as collector and historian of medical practice, particularly surgery and epidemiology. There are folders of photographic reproductions of medical texts and illustrations dating from the 16th century to the 20th century, whose content is reflected in the earliest dates for the collection. There is also material relating to Dr. Trent's death and the subsequent donation of his rare book and manuscripts collection to the Duke Medical Center Library, along with condolences and other items related to his wife, Mary Duke Biddle Trent. Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.
- Collection Number
- Josiah C. Trent papers
- 1536-1961 and undated
- Trent, Josiah C. (Josiah Charles), 1914-1948
- 6.5 Linear Feet, 9 boxes; 1 oversize folder, approximately 1800 items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
The Josiah C. Trent papers consist mostly of correspondence, photographs, research files, and notes and drafts of published and unpublished research and articles. Many of these materials concern Dr. Trent's activities and publications as a collector and historian of medical practice, particularly surgery and epidemiology. The collection also includes printed materials, photographs, a card file - possibly of his personal library, and lecture notes taken during his medical training, as well as diplomas and certificates of residency. The Writings series reveals his wide interests in surgery, medicine in general, the humanities, and medical history.
There is also material relating to Dr. Trent's death and the subsequent donation of his large rare book, artifact, and manuscript collection to the Duke Medical Center Library. Early dates in the collection refer to the content of reproductions of 16th-19th century medical illustrations rather than their dates of reproduction.
The correspondence, found in the Subject Files folders, dates mostly from the 1940s and 1950s, documenting Dr. Trent's rare book and manuscript collecting, and his involvement with various professional organizations and his association and friendships with prominent figures in various fields: medical history - John Fulton, Henry Sigerist, W. W. Francis; book collecting - Henry Schuman; Duke University - Wilburt Davison, Lenox D. Baker. Some folders contain an index of the contents.
There is also some information concerning Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, Dr. Trent's wife, who was instrumental in facilitating the support of the history of medicine collections at Duke.
The collection also contains several hundred photographic prints and negatives reproducing medical texts and illustrations dating from the 16th to 20th centuries. The earliest dates in the collection refer to the content of the images, rather than their reproduction by Dr. Trent, Duke Medical Library staff, and others, in the mid-20th century.
The files were kept in Dr. Trent's medical office and contain relatively few items which pertain to his private life. Items of a more personal nature may be found in the James H. and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Family Papers in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collections at Duke University.
The Josiah C. Trent Papers are arranged in four series: Medical School Student Papers; Subject Files; Writings; and Photographs.
Access to the Collection
Collection is open for research.
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
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.
Use & Permissions
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Josiah C. Trent papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Chiefly comprises exam materials, lecture notes, and diplomas and certificates from Dr. Trent's medical training at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Ford Hospital (Michigan), and Duke University Medical School. Also contains a few medical licenses and society membership certificates, including one for his wife, Mary Duke Biddle Trent.
Contains correspondence, notes, and papers, and a library card file, chiefly relating to Dr. Trent's activities as a collector, and the dedication of the Trent Collection at the Duke University Medical Center Library in 1949. There is also a folder of material on Dr. Trent's death, a folder concerning Mary Duke Biddle Trent, and some financial information. Some folders contain an index and folder description within. Folders are arranged alphabetically by original titles. A library card file is also housed in this series, most likely relating to titles in Dr. Trent's library.
Contains photographs, receipts, stamps, license, membership card, and invitation.
Contains notes, drafts, and reprints of articles, publications, and presentations written and given by Dr. Trent. Most are related to historical studies of medical practices, particularly surgery and epidemiology. Unless noted, items are undated. Arranged alphabetically by title.
Contains photographic prints and negatives that are reproductions of medical illustrations and texts dating from the 16th century to the 20th century. These dates refer to the content, and not to Dr. Trent's creation of the prints and negatives, which took place in the 1930s and 1940s. Many of the images are from German sources and some are housed in the Bettmann Archive. The prints and negatives are housed separately in 7.5x5.5 and 9x12 inch envelopes and arranged alphabetically by author or title. Unless otherwise noted, all titles include both negatives and prints.
Henry and Ida Schuman papers, circa 1930-1990s (contains correspondence with Dr. Trent), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
James H. and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Family Papers (record group that forms part of the Semans Family Papers), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Dr. Josiah Trent Papers (chiefly professional papers as surgeon), Medical Center Archives, Duke University
Trent Manuscripts Collection (over 700 small collections acquired by Dr. Trent; search the term "Forms part of the Trent Manuscripts Collection" in the Duke Libraries catalog), David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- Duke University. Medical Center
- History of Medicine Collections (Duke University)
- Semans, Mary Duke Biddle Trent
- Trent, Josiah C. (Josiah Charles), 1914-1948
- Trent, Josiah C. (Josiah Charles), 1914-1948 -- Library
- University of Pennsylvania. School of Medicine
- Book collecting
- Collectors and collecting -- North Carolina
- Epidemiology -- History
- History of Medicine
- Medical illustration
- Medicine -- Study and teaching
- Physicians -- United States -- Correspondence
- Surgery -- History
The Josiah C. Trent Papers were transferred to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library from the Medical Center Library in 2011.
Processed by Willeke Sandler, May 2012.
Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico and Willeke Sandler, May 2012.
Description of diplomas and certificates addition by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, April 2017.
All accessions are described in this finding aid.