Finding Aid
Jonathan Letterman
Jonathan Letterman
1824-1872

MS047
Jonathan Letterman Papers
.5 linear feet (1 box)

Biographical Note
Jonathan Letterman (1824-1872) was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on December 11, 1824. He attended Jefferson College at Canonsburg, graduating in 1845. He then went on to Jefferson Medical College for his medical degree, which he received in 1849. In June of that year Letterman passed the Army Medical Board exam and became an assistant surgeon. Over the next thirteen years he worked in various states, including Florida, Minnesota, Kansas, California, Virginia, and West Virginia. In 1862 he was promoted to surgeon, and on July 4, 1862 he started as the medical director of the army of the Potomac. In this position he is best known for revising the ambulance system. He trained special officers for a new ambulance corps that would remove the wounded from the field during battle. This system was first used during the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. Letterman's sixteen page plan regarding medical evacuation was eventually submitted to President Lincoln, and in 1864 Congress made it law. Letterman later retired to San Francisco where he was appointed coroner twice before his death on March 15, 1872.1

Scope and Contents
This collection contains material about Jonathan Letterman but not by Jonathan Letterman, except for a reproduced 1862 newspaper article listed under Publications. The bulk of the collection consists of memoirs, biographical sketches, and articles referencing Letterman. It also includes information about the Letterman Army Medical Center, correspondence about this collection, and several images.


Organization and Arrangement

  1. Biography

  2. Publications

  3. Correspondence

  4. Letterman Army Medical Center

  5. Images

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