Research Catalog

John Shaw Billings papers

John Shaw Billings papers, 1862-1913.
Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913.
Supplementary Content
Finding Aid

Available Online

NYPL Digital Collections


Additional Authors
  • 48 linear feet (109 boxes).
  • 53 microfilm reels.
  • Architectural drawings.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Diaries.
  • Scrapbooks.
  • Records of Billings' tenure as Director of The New York Public Library are part of the Library's Archives.
Access (note)
  • Restricted access;
  • Microfilm must be used in lieu of originals when available.
Additional Formats (note)
  • available on microfilm;
Source (note)
  • Billings, John Shaw - Family
Biography (note)
  • John Shaw Billings (1838-1913) was an American surgeon, hospital planner and librarian.
Processing Action (note)
  • Surveyed
  • Cataloging updated
Call Number
MssCol 304
Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913.
John Shaw Billings papers, 1862-1913.
Restricted Access
Restricted access; Manuscripts and Archives Division; Permit must be requested at the division indicated.
Microfilm must be used in lieu of originals when available.
Collection consists of correspondence and papers relating to Billings' work with the United States Army Medical Department, 1861-1895; Johns Hopkins Hospital (especially building plans), 1873-1890; National Board of Health, 1879-1881; the 10th and 11th censuses, University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Laboratory of Hygiene, 1890-1895; The New York Public Library, 1895-1913; Committee of Fifty on the Liquor Problem, 1893-1904; Carnegie Institute, 1902-1913; National Academy of Science, 1875-1911; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other papers are family correspondence, including letters from Billings to his wife regarding his Civil War experiences; texts of lectures and addresses; notes; and miscellaneous papers. Also, scrapbooks about the Civil War, National Board of Health and health issues, 1861-1903; diaries; photographs and travel notebooks; and material about infectious diseases and epidemics. Correspondents include Alexander Agassiz, Alexander G. Bell, John Bigelow, Henry P. Bowditch, Henry C. Burdett, John L. Cadwalader, Andrew Carnegie, Melvil Dewey, Robert Fletcher, Francis Galton, Daniel C. Gilman, Silas W. Mitchell, William Pepper, Stephen Smith, and George Sternberg.
Additional Formats
Selected materials (boxes 1-71) available on microfilm; New York Public Library; *ZL-212
John Shaw Billings (1838-1913) was an American surgeon, hospital planner and librarian. He served as a U.S. Army surgeon and was responsible for creating the nation's foremost medical library, now the National Library of Medicine. He served as special advisor to the trustees of Johns Hopkins Hospital in planning and organizing that institution. After retiring from the Army in 1895, Billings was named the first Director of the New York Public Library. He helped create the NYPL by combining the Astor and Lenox Libraries into a public research library and building a branch library system for three of the boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx). He also planned and oversaw the construction of the Central Library building which was opened to the public in 1911.
Finding Aids
Collection guide available in repository and on internet.
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Added Author
Agassiz, Alexander, 1835-1910.
Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922.
Bigelow, John, 1817-1911.
Bowditch, H. P. (Henry Pickering), 1840-1911.
Burdett, Henry C., Sir, 1847-1920.
Cadwalader, John L. (John Lambert), 1837-1914.
Carnegie, Andrew, 1835-1919.
Dewey, Melvil, 1851-1931.
Fletcher, Robert, 1823-1912.
Gilman, Daniel C. (Daniel Coit), 1831-1908.
Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914.
Pepper, William, 1843-1898.
Smith, Stephen, 1823-1922.
Sternberg, George Miller, 1838-1915.
ms 74000525
Research Call Number
MssCol 304
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