Patient's Visits, 1838-1851. Dr. John Ledger. Sellman.
Patient's Visits, 1838-1851.
A Maryland Physician and Slave holder who Attended to the both the White and Black Community of Arundel County

Patient's Visits, 1838-1851.

Arundel County, Maryland: 1838-1851. Item #857

Small folio. 320 x 210 mm., [13 x 8 ¼ inches].   200 pp. Manuscript accounts in ink on lined paper. Contemporary sheep, rubbed but in good condition. Inside front flyleaf loose from binding and a bit toned with age.  Highly legible and written in one hand.

Dr. John Henry Sellman was the son of the physician by the same name who fought in the American Revolution and practiced for most of his life in Cincinnati. John Jr. was born in 1806 in Anne Arundel, MD, he died there at a relatively young in 1851.   He was the father of eight children and was in addition to is medical practice a farmer who grew tobacco, corn, and wheat.  His farm was over 200 acres in Clinton, Maryland and he as the owner of twenty slaves.

His ledger, beautifully written and preserved lists the the name of each patient, dates of their visited, prescription or medication administered, and the price charged for medical services.  Most visits cost $2.00 and prescriptions were sometimes included.  No surgeries were performed and most of the ailments concerned respiratory, stomach, and bowl problems alleviated by sulfur quinine, opium, and other unspecified pills.  Some examples of bleeding are briefly noted. 

Dr. Sellman’s brothers and other family members are mentioned in his accounts; Richard Sellman, Alfred Sellman, John S. Sellman.  In 1846 Richard Hardasty was charged $3.00 for the service of "extracting corn from the nose- black child" and $ 20.00 for assisting in the labor of a ‘servant woman” thought to be a domestic slave..

One of his frequent patients was Brig. Gen. George H. Steuart who was to gain later fame in the Gettysburg campaign. His medications included morphia, ipecac, dovers, pink root, and nitrious. William O'Hara had many pages of accounts which included his daughters and servants. Dr. Sellman apparently took patients to his home to attend to them; "Aug. 22, 1840. Medicine & attendance & nourishments for 17 days at my house. $17." Other patients included Solomon Sparrow, Capt. Hazzard, Nicholas Nicholson, Mrs. Elizabeth Davis, Augustus and Samuel Cleggett, Mrs. Sarah Elliott, David. M.C. Brogden, and many others.

See the description of the Sellman Family Papers in the Archive at the University of Maryland, which includes a short biography of Dr. Sellman and his family.

See also tje Smithsonian Institution's website for information on the Sellman Plantation in Maryland.


Price: $1,000.00