Smith, Dr. James W.
Manuscript Day Book of Dr. James W. Smith, physician of Akron, Ohio, 1852-1855

folio, 210 manuscript pp., bound in ¼ calf, marbled paper covered boards, measures 8” x 12 ½”, dated 29 Oct 1852 to 30 May 1855; covers and spine poor, very worn, spine chipped, text block split in half, couple of signatures loose; written in ink, in legible hand, some entries faded (about ⅛) and difficult to read.

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     The Inside front board has a later inscription in magic marker that reads: “Dr. Smith / Physician’s Day Book / 1852-1855 / Akron, Ohio.” Another earlier, perhaps contemporary ink inscription on top of inside front flyleaf reads: “J.W. Smith Day Book.” However, a brief look at the 1850 U.S. Federal Census shows many of the names in the day book have similar people enumerated at Montgomery County, Ohio, in the towns just outside of Dayton, and an entry in day book shows the doctor going to the Phillipsburg (Montgomery County) area and the Union (Montgomery County) area; possibly placing Dr. Smith in the Dayton area, instead of Akron; further research would need to be conducted to determine.

Dr. Smith performed several abortions. Dr. Smith also treats a woman with nervine and hydrastis (which can be used as an abortative). He treats a number of women in their confinement and mentions treating a “colored” child of David Jones, and other African-Americans, and an Irish man.  Most of the time the doctor names the patients and the charges, in some places he lists the cause for the visit and in many he lists the types of medicine – hepatic powder, plasters, lobelia, quinine, tonic syrup, etc., that he prescribed. It appears that he takes payment in vegetables (bushel of turnips), meat (20 lbs. pork), or other services as well.

     Examples from the Day Book:

“Dec 21 1852

A.      Helmrek

to Pulmonary syrup for wife                               $  .25

to vis med for David Jones Colored girl east of Milton $2.00”


“Dec 27 1851

to vis to med to colored girl for David Jones      $2.00”


“Feb 24 1853

Philip [Ganner]

to attending wife in Abortion                             $3.00”


“March 20, 1853

Adison Davis

to attending wife in confine                              $3.00”


“March 25, 1853

Jonathan Jay

to vis to med for to babe                                              $1.00   

to antidispeptic wine bitters                              $ .50”


“June 7, 1853

Martha Jay

to 2 vials nervine                    37c

to hydrastis                12c

to tonic powders                     25c                               $ .75”


“Nov 1, 1853

Abram Hains

to attending wife in labor all night                                  $2.00”


“Nov 2, 1853

Abram Hains

to attending wife in Parturition                          $3.00”


“Nov 3, 1853

Abram Hains

to 2 vis & med for wife                                                $2.50”


“Nov 4, 1853

Abram Hains

to 2 vis & med for wife                                                $2.50

to bot liniment                                                 $ .25”


“August 31, 1854

William Hall, Irish man

on Jos. [Turners] place

to 2 vis & med for son                                     $2.00”


“Sept 1, 1854

William Hall, Irish man

to call to med for son                                      $ .50”


“Sept 12, 1854

to James Fox colored

man at Lee’s to vis

To med …                                                      $1.50”


“December 1, 1854

____ Kenedy

to vis & med his wife

in abortion detention &c.                                              $1.50”


“January 18, 1854

____ Guinea colored man

to vis & med for child & med for wife                $ .50”