Monday, January 25, 2021

Ephemera for Auction

I am a big fan of auctions, but I'm sad that few are being held in person these days. As I was perusing one of the local auction houses' catalogue, something caught my eye. The lot was titled "A Collection of Medical Diplomas and Other Documents." 

Of course, I had to click to take a look, and found this description: Including University of Pennsylvania, M.D., 1839; University of Maryland, M.D., 1843 and 1869; Maryland Med-Chi* faculty commission, 1864; Maryland physician's license, 1867; and Georgetown University, B.S., 1926; comprising about 12 items; together with a tin document holder.

With a little close looking, I found that the pieces belonged to members of the Sappington family, one of whom, Francis Brown Sappington, was a founder of the Faculty. 

If you look closely on what appears to be a University of Maryland diploma, you can make out the name Sappington,

and on the Baltimore City license, it's very clear that it's for Thomas Sappington.
I just can't figure our whether they are for the same person and I can't see the dates of the documents. 

There are several other medical lots from this family, including an original manuscript ledgers compiled by Dr. Francis B. Sappington, of Liberty Town, Maryland, during the course of his practice, listing patients, charges for services and medicines, and payments. The ledgers also contains some memoranda and recipes, together with waste-book entries. Folio; full suede leather ledger bindings.

There is also a medical student's notebook, possibly kept by Greenberry Sappington, Baltimore, circa 1830; quarter leather, block-printed boards; containing a carefully written summary of lessons on anatomy and pharmacy, with some literary commonplaces woven in.
There are several additional books and journals from various members of this family in this sale. Because we're well out of the HIPAA guidelines, there is not a problem with these documents being in the public domain. 

I might just have to go out and check out the documents in person. The bidding starts at $20.00 and the auction ends on February 3, 2021.  

*It looks like someone at the auction house knows our nickname, because we were only commonly known as MedChi beginning in the 1990's. In 1864, we were known at the Faculty. 


  1. Hello Meg, I love auctions like this. Early medicine in Maryland must be a narrow specialty, so you have to grab these items when they come up. I hope you can preview it and get some cool lots.

    1. I'm previewing it tomorrow, and can't wait to see it!