William J. Morton Papers, 1871-1916

William J. Morton Papers

Biographical Note

Historical Statement

Dr. William J. Morton (1846-1920) was the son of Dr. William T.G. Morton, who is largely credited with the first successful demonstration of ether anesthesia in 1846. Dr. Morton was a neurologist in New York, and a member of the New York Academy of Medicine. He was particularly interested in the developing field of radiology, and co-authored the book "X-ray; or Photography of the invisible and its value in surgery" with Edwin W. Hammer in 1896. His research in the field was widely covered by both national newspapers and scientific journals.

Collection Description

Scope and Content

The collection is comprised of scrapbooks of newspaper clippings; a photo album of cancer patients; correspondence; reprints of his published journal articles; and contact lists. The majority of the scrapbooks contain newspaper articles documenting his work with X-rays and the use of trypsin, of which he was a strong proponent, as a cure for cancer. The scrapbooks also contain various other articles relating to Dr. Morton, or that he found of interest, including several on the protection of dogs from vivisection. The articles are taken from local New York newspapers (New York Herald, New York Tribune, New York World), national newspapers (Commercial Gazette, San Francisco Examiner), and national medical and scientific journals (Electrical Journal, Scientific American, New York Medical Journal).

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is comprised of two scrapbooks, a photo album, and four folders. The majority of the scrapbooks are newspaper clippings collected by Dr. Morton with his order preserved. The folders contain a mixture of correspondences, journal articles, newspaper articles and contact lists organized by country.

Administrative Info

Collection processed and described by Nathan Dvorkin

Requests for permission to quote from or publish any materials should be directed to the reference librarian or curator in writing.

Preferred Citation

William J. Morton Papers. The Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room, New York Academy of Medicine Library.


Gift of Mrs. William J. Morton, 1947.

Collection Contents

Series 1: William J. Morton Papers

Box 1    Folder 1    Poem , "Birth and Death of Pain," by Silas Weir Mitchell, - 1896
Box 1    Folder 2    Assorted clippings and journal articles
Box 1    Folder 3    Contacts lists
Box 1    Folder 4    Letters
Box 1    Scrapbook with articles on trypsin as a cure for cancer, - 1871-1911
Box 1    Photo album of cancer patients, - bulk 1902-1905
Box 2    Scrapbook with clippings on the X-ray and radiology, - 1896

Box 2 is a flat, oversize container.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Anesthesiology -- HistorySearch ArchiveGrid
X-RaysSearch ArchiveGrid
Radiology -- HistorySearch ArchiveGrid
TrypsinSearch ArchiveGrid
CancerSearch ArchiveGrid
Morton, W. T. G. (William Thomas Green), 1819-1868Search ArchiveGrid
Morton, William J. (William James), 1846-1920Search ArchiveGrid