View Full Version : Medical Impression Research

09-10-2008, 04:57 PM
This is a general question to those of you who portray the medical branch. What are your main means of researching your impression? Books, stories, Museums etc and what have you specifically used in terms of national resources or collections for your research, specific museums, etc. Thanks for your feed back in advance.


Pvt, 2nd Maryland

09-10-2008, 05:25 PM
Museums are good especially the Civil War Medical Museum in Frederick, MD


Many resources are listed in this as well as other forums...just use the search function....

Books and diaries by the period physicians themselves.

The web itself can provide untold sites....

The research that has been shared by fellows here and on other forums.

fred franze
09-11-2008, 07:03 AM
As far as research for medical impression goes, all of the above. I have read, visited, surfed the web, studied book after book and after about four years of research am still learning.

There are many books available on this subject, just dig for them and allow yourself a lot of reading time. Did I mention the valuable and excellent information found on this web site?
Fred Franze

09-11-2008, 01:32 PM
Hello Chris,

Because our curator and I portray actual individuals, we've sought all of the specific biographical material that we can find: obituaries, published biographies, Census data, vital records, references to them in the press, etc. Using those sources to offer clues, we then launched into a deeper understanding of the specific men and their families.

In regard to researching and portraying their profession as doctors (in reality we're museum professionals with advanced degrees in American history and not medical professionals), I've read and re-read period texts on surgery, pharmacy, and embalming. I've also attempted to learn more about the specific medical schools that each is known to have attended along with typical medical education in order to place their experience in a broader context. I've also sought to gain a greater sense of their domestic lives, business neighborhood, and life experiences.

Yes, we could have selected generic characters to portray, which would reduce much of the above; however, by selecting actual surgeons our characters' stories were predetermined, which has helped take much of the guesswork out of our research.

fred franze
09-12-2008, 07:26 AM
Interesting that some of you do a specific doctor impression. I do that at Fort Delaware and my character is Washington George Nugent. He was a Union Army medical officer and a contract surgeon at he fort from 1863 to 1865. I have been very fortunate to be in contact with Dr. Nugent's great granddaughter and she has been a wealth of information. Its hard to imagine how special it is to be able to talk with a living relative of a Civil War doctor. I have learned so much from her and her book, "My Darling Wife", letters from Nugent to his wife while at Fort Delaware. What I need to do now is research the University of Penn. medical school where Nugent Graduated from.
Fred Franze