|John Nelson Bell, after 1902|
John Nelson Bell was born in Morgantown, Virginia on April 21, 1858 to Henry and Louise (Swisher) Bell. He began teaching school at age sixteen and supplemented his education by taking classes at a normal school. He entered Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio in 1884 and left for the Medical College of Ohio two years later. As he neared the end of his studies, Bell learned that Samuel Jump, the practicing physician in Perry Township, Delaware County, Indiana, had received a presidential appointment as the Selma postmaster and would be moving to Liberty Township. After graduating from the Medical College of Ohio in the spring of 1888, Dr. Bell came to Delaware County to fill that vacancy in Perry Township and began his practice in New Burlington. He would continue to practice medicine in the Delaware County community of New Burlington for forty years.
|First entries in Dr. Bell's daybook after starting practice in New Burlington in 1888 (Click to view full image)|
The John Nelson Bell digital collection includes account books, daybooks, and medical treatment notes ranging from 1887-1922 that document the medical training and practice of John Nelson Bell in New Burlington, Indiana. The account books in this digital collection document John Nelson Bell’s financial dealings including his charges for services, patients’ payment methods, and the cost of medical supplies. His daybooks document the schedule of a small town doctor as well as more detailed information such as patient names, general reasons for visits, and charges for services. His medical school and treatment notes document the training of medical doctors and common medical treatments at the turn of the century for a wide variety of maladies including burns, colic, hay fever, laryngitis, tetanus, and typhoid fever.
|Account entry for John Ryan. Notice payments were made by cash, oats, and a pig. (Click to view full image)|
To learn more about John Nelson Bell, check out the John Nelson Bell papers finding aid and the John Nelson Bell Photographs. Researchers interested in the history of medical doctors and practices in Delaware County are welcome to visit the archives to examine related collections including the Clay Ball collection, W. Philip Ball papers, General William Harrison Kemper papers, and Lall G. Montgomery collection.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-285-5078 if you have any questions about these or other collections in the archives.