Photographs and memorabilia, bulk 1861-1865.

Ely, William Smith, 1842-1911.

Annapolis : sans publisher, sd (1861-1865).

Description : Archival Material.

Photographs : mounted albumens.

Photographer : A.H. Messinger [attributed].

Repository : University of Rochester, Edward G. Miner Medical Library.

Subject : Hospitals — Civil War ; Army Medical Corps.

Notes :

Miner Catalog description :

The most important part of the Ely collection are the six mounted photographs taken of the U.S.A. field hospital at Antietam, and the fourteen mounted photographs of the U.S. General Hospital at Annapolis, circa 1863-65. Other materials in the collection include miscellaneous family documents, Civil War memorabilia, and a boxed set of surgical instruments presented to Ely by his former commanding officer.

The William Smith Ely collection is largely comprised of photographs, memorabilia and papers from the time of Ely's service as a surgeon in the Civil War and includes a set of cased instruments that was presented to Dr. Ely by B.A. Vanderkieft, M.D., Ely's commander at Antietam and Annapolis. The instruments were gifted to the library in 1929 by Ely's widow, Mrs. Helen Ely, nee Helen Gamwell of Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Vanderkieft died in Ely's Rochester home after an illness in 1866.

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After graduating from the University of Rochester in 1861, William Smith Ely entered into a medical preceptorship with his father William Watson Ely (1812-1879) who was one of the first Chiefs of Medicine for Rochester Hospital, administrating from 1869 to 1879. After only one year of study with his father, William S. Ely enlisted as a surgeon in the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry, serving until the end of the Civil War at which time he habilitated at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. After graduating in 1867, he returned to Rochester to practice medicine, specializing in tubercular disorders. Dr. Ely was an important and revered associate of the Rochester General Hospital and was especially vital in the establishments of the School of Nursing, the Communicable Disease Pavilions, and the Outpatient Department. The Ely Viewing Room in the medical library is named for him.

Sadly, Doctor Ely's only son was killed, January 2, 1918, while serving as a 1st Lieutenant in the Aviation Section of the United States Signal Corps. Also named William Smith Ely, he was born 1894 and excelled in his studies at Harvard and was expecting to follow his distinguished father and grandfather with a career in medicine.

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Descriptive lists of the photographs in the archive :

Box One :

Folder 1 - Mounted Photographs (14 x 19 cm.).

  1. Annapolis Hospital. Front line view of [?] and tents.
  2. Annapolis Hospital. Res[idence?] house [?].
  3. Annapolis Hospital. Earth works just outside of Annapolis thrown up at time of expected raid.
  4. Annapolis Hospital. Front or main entrance to hospital with view of earth works thrown up across street at time of expected raid.
  5. Annapolis Hospital. Miss Hall's tent

Folder 2 - Mounted Photographs (23 x 18 cm.).

  1. Antietam Hospital. Side view Ward I. Dr. Aitken' s.
  2. Antietam Hospital. Ward "G" Dr. Chambers.
  3. Antietam Hospital. Dr. Vanderkieft headquarters. Group of doctors and chaplain [names pasted on verso of board].
  4. Antietam Hospital. Ward "F" Dr. Ely's.
  5. Antietam Hospital. Ward I. Lady on left, Miss Hall [?].
  6. Antietam Hospital. Officers quarters -taken at 6:00 [?] A.M. Wards A & B in distance. Drs Barber & Ely are still asleep.
Box Three :

Large Mounted Photographs in individual folders.

  1. - Annapolis Hospital. Hospital band in front of H & Q building.
  2. - Annapolis Hospital. Rear view H & Q.
  3. - View of Annapolis from roof of Hd Qrs of Hospital.
  4. - Annapolis Hospital. View of Sec. 1 ... adjacent to Hd Qr occupied by sick officers.
  5. - Annapolis Hospital. Group of officers ... in front of Hd qrs.
  6. - Annapolis Hospital. Section 2.
  7. - Annapolis Hospital. Capital - east view.
  8. - Annapolis Hospital. Chapel.
  9. - Annapolis Hospital. Front view of H & Qrs [names of individuals provided].

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