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Calkins, David

David and Marshall Calkins Account Books

3 vols. 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 178

Brothers from Wilbraham, Mass., David and Marshall Calkins received medical degrees together at the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848. Although David died at the age of 31 in 1855 while just beginning a career, Marshall went on to build a considerable reputation in medicine, working with the Springfield City Hospital for many years and teaching at the University of Vermont.

Kept during the Calkins brothers’ years in Monson, Mass., the three daybooks that comprise this collection list patients treated and their origin or race, along with medical class notes, services provided, remedies, and forms of pay, including bartering for goods. Also included is an account of a stay in Wilbraham.

Background on David and Marshall Calkins

Brothers David and Marshall Calkins were among at least ten children born to Luke and Polly (Hancock) Calkins of Wilbraham, Mass. David, the elder brother, was born on July 8, 1824, with Marshall arriving four years later on Sept. 2, 1828. Educated in the local Wesleyan Academy, both studied medicine together in Worcester, Mass., receiving degrees from the Worcester Medical Institution in 1848, though only after Marshall spent two years at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

From Worcester, the brothers set up practice in Monson, Mass., although their fortunes soon dramatically diverged. David, barely 31 years old, died tragically on July 22, 1855, while Marshall continued to study and advance himself professionally for much of the rest of his like. Although he had him MD in hand, Marshall returned to university, taking a AB at Union College in 1853 and an MA in 1856. He also continued his medical studies at the Pennsylvania Hospital (1856-1857), at Dartmouth Medical College (1867-1868), in London under Joseph Lister, and in Vienna under Carl Braun. For many years he worked at Springfield City Hospital and as consulting physician to the House of Mercy Hospital and the Home for Friendless Women and Children for many years, but was also chair of physiology and microscopic anatomy at the University of Vermont from 1873-1878.

Marshall Calkins married Adelaine August Hosmer on October 15, 1855, in West Boylston, Mass., with whom he had one child, Cheyney Hosmer Calkins, who became an ophthalmologist. Marshall died in Springfield on Nov. 26, 1922.


Scope and Contents of the Collection

These three accounting volumes of Monson, Massachusetts physicians David and Marshall Calkins encompass the period May 1848 – Dec 1855. Volume I (1848-1849) has the commonly used daybook debit/credit style. 33 of its 105 pages are notes from the medical classes of an unknown institution, likely attended by one of the two men. Volume II (1849-1852) is 146 pages, with a number missing from both front and back. This daybook has few indications of debits/credits. Volume III (1852-1855) contains 37 pages of daybook recordings lacking debits/credits altogether. Portions of this last volume appear to have been recorded during a stay in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

Medically, these volumes reflect a growing understanding of the human body and the analysis and treatment of its ailments. In Volume I’s class notes appear references to “old school” beliefs and “our” beliefs, and the “importance of remedies” in the cure of disease. A show is made of how cures are “now” available which previously were not.

Additionally, these account books reflect a period of growing prosperity for Monson through the birth of stream-powered milling industries. Factory and quarry workers are noted as well as Irish, Scottish and Black. The labeling of certain groups reflects the apprehension of some who witnessed the growth of a new European immigrant population and the changing economic and social face of the region.

Medical class notes from Volume I include descriptions/treatment of “diagnosis and excision of a tumor”, enlarged tonsils, craniotomy, club foot or talipes, phlebitis, dentition; treatment of women for inversion of the uterus, decline of the menses, carcinoma uteri, milk abcess, “longing of women in pregnancy”, imperforate hymen; and birth problems such as malpresentation of the head, breech presentation, inferior extremities and shoulder presentations.

Medical services listed as provided in the volumes include: visit advice, vaccinating, dressing wound, extracting teeth, obstetric care, reducing dislocation of forearm, attending through the night, and eye operating.

Remedies provided include: hot drops, emetic, cakes of antidyspeptic bread, nerve powder, Woman’s Friend diuretic, lomar, bitter crown, ferrim, iodine iron and strengthening syrups, anodyne compound and drops, scabies ointment, “papers of _______” (paper being a dosage of medication), “a pair of specticles”, cathartic pills, dysentery or cinnamon cordial, extract of boneset pills, shoulder braces, slippery elm, lobelia, valerian root, balsam, hemlock, wine bitters, magnesium, pain killer, “sculcap and syringe”, abdomen supporter, and gum Arabic.

Barter seems most prominent as a means of patient payment. Items include: onions, corn, sugar, potatoes, wine, keg gin, coffee, milk, apples, molasses, rhubarb, meat, boots, lumber, nails, silver pencils, postage, copperplate, cloth, plow and fork, oats, hay, vials, cards, and mortar.

Interesting entries from Volume I include: “tuition to course of lectures and cash for diploma”. From Volume II, “________Commenced rooming in the office”, “good for nothing (written over the name of William Stewart), “not worth posting” (written next to the name of Darius Walbridge), “Monson Lyceum by cash rec’d on 31 applications”, “admission fee to yearly deposit to the Meecham’s U. Association”, and “Univ. club to potatoes and salt pork”. Volume III contains, “Paid five dollars on acct for grave stones”, “Town of Monson to visits with (various names)”, “paid to Rev. F. Newhall to horse keeping”, “Cr. by making pants”, and “two copies Monson T. Direc. (on comm.)”.

Many doctors and other professions can be found in these volumes, some of whom appear in Monson and Hampden County histories. Doctors included are: Reuben Barron (I,II), Rev. Alfred Ely (I), Calvin Newton (I), John Hooker (II,III), Oliver McKinstry (II), Capt. George G. Tucker (II,III), William B. Carpenter (II,III), L.M. Briggs (III), Horace Jacobs (I,II), Daniel Peabody (III), Henry F. Gardner (botanic physician)(II), Rial (Royal) Strickland (I). Other professions include: Watchmakers Arthur and Justin S. Brewer (I), Deacons David Adams (III) and Andrew W. Porter (I), Revs. Charles Hammond (I) and Walter Pratt (II), Apothecary A.B. Clarke (I), Meat Peddler Henry Parker (II), associated with the Lyons Factory are Franklin and William Stebbins (I).

A number of women were served by the Calkins Doctors. Names which could be found in the 1840 or 1850 census include: Nancy Adams (III), Julia Anderson (I,III), Widow Avery (I), Widow Matilda Bates (I,II), Mrs. Andrew Benson (III), Mrs. Josiah Blodget (II,III), Harriet Butler (II), Jane Cadwell (II,III), Widow Mary E. Cadwell (II,III), Ann S. Calkins (II), Delia Calkins (II), Maria Calkins (II,III), Betsey Carter (II), Widow Sophrona Carter (II), Mrs. Clark (III), Minerva S. Converse (I), Mrs. Joseph Dorset (II), Orpha (Orphia) Durkee (I), Nancy M. Fay (III), Jane Gage (II), Rebecca Gage (I,II), Mary Gage (II,III), Widow Gilmore (II), Martha Goodwell (II,III), Sophia Green (II), Susan Green (II), Susan Heath (III), Widow Layvna Hennt (I), Martha Howard (II), Sophia B. Jenkins (I), Lucy T. Leonard (I), Maria Leonard (II), Harriet Lewis (II), Susan Loomis (II), Susannah Lull (III), Elizabeth Newell (III), Eunice Nichols (II), Mary Ann Nutt (II), Anna Osborn (II), Clarissa Palmer (I), Lucinda Pease (II), Amanda Rood (II), Maria Shields (III), Mary Smith (II), Widow Sally Stacy (II,III), Mary Staunton (II), Lucy Stebbins (II), Mary Webber (II), Mrs. White (III).

The following entries denote origin or race: Mr. Smith “Scotch with (fae?)” (III), Mr. James Casey “Irishman at West Branch Factory” (III), Mr. Cooper “runaway/Irishman” (II), Mr. Sullivan “Irishman” (II), Francis Crossan “Irish” (II,III), “Irishman (on quarry)” (II), Franklin Baker “Negro” (I), Henry Johnson “Negro” (I), “paid Marilla (colored lady at Jackson’s)” (III). The following names appear in Black Families in Hampden County: Horace Pease (III) and Albert White (I,II,III).

Hampden County histories cite family names significant in the history of Monson, Massachusetts. Names from that list, which appear in these accounts and have not yet been mentioned
include: Bennett, Bliss, Cady, Colton, Ferry, Fuller, Orcutt, Ormsby, Shaw, Warner and Woods.

Places mentioned in these accounts include: Ballstown, NY (III), Belchertown, MA (II), Brandon Bank, VA (III), Brimfield, MA (II), Bristol, NH (III), Holyoke, MA (III), Grout Hill/East Hill (Monson, MA) (I), Mason, MA (II), Norwich, MA (III), Palmer, MA (II,III), Pelham, MA (III), Pittsfield, MA (III), Portland, ME (III), Providence, RI (III), N. Wilbraham, MA (III), Saratoga, NY (III), Silverstreet (Monson, MA) (I,II,III), Somerset, MA (III), S. Wilbraham, MA (III), Springfield, MA (III), Stabboree Village (Monson, MA) (I), Stafford, MA (III), W. Brookfield, MA (III), W. Concord, MA (I), W. Stafford, MA (II).


Administrative information


The collection is open for research.




See article on Marshall Calkins in Physicians and surgeons of America. Concord, N.H.: Republican Press, 1896.


Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth C. Baumgartner, August 1987.


Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: David and Marshall Calkins Account Books (MS 178). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Acquired from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987


Monson (Mass.)--History--19th centuryPhysicians--Massachusetts--Monson


Calkins, DavidCalkins, Marshall

Types of material

Account books