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D. Willard Bliss Papers, 1835-1938

(Manuscript Collection #307)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: D. Willard Bliss Papers
Creator: Bliss, Doctor Willard, 1825-1889
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1835, 1881-1885, 1938) of a prominent Washington, DC physician and surgeon, who treated President James A. Garfield after he was shot, 1881, consisting of correspondence, a scrapbook, a medical report, Baptist convention proceedings, religion, Christianity.
Extent: 0.143 Cubic feet, 8 items , copies of correspondence, a scrapbook, a medical report, Baptist convention proceedings, and miscellaneous.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

May 4, 1976, 8 items; Copies, Papers (1881-1888) including correspondence, a scrapbook, and a report concerning the assassination of President Garfield; missionary literature (1936); Baptist convention proceedings (1835); and a scriptural abstract. Loaned by Reverend E. Gordon Conklin, Greenville, North Carolina

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

D. Willard Bliss Papers (#307), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Loaned by Reverend E. Gordon Conklin

Processing Information

  • Processed by M. Mitchell, June 1977

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Dr. D. Willard Bliss (1825-?), a prominent Washington, D.C. physician and surgeon, was in charge of treating President James A. Garfield after he was shot, July 2, 1881, until his death September 19, 1881.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Correspondence consists of a letter from Mrs. Bliss to her brother detailing the doctor's efforts in treating the President's wounds.

A scrapbook of newspaper clippings deals with Garfield's day to day progress, the various diagnoses offered by Bliss and his staff, steps taken to treat the wounds, and criticisms of the physicians' handling of the case.

An 1888 report compiled by the attending surgeons defends the selection of Bliss as chief physician, supports the steps he took to save the President's life, and asks for additional compensation for services rendered.

Other materials are of a religious nature, dealing mainly with missionary activities. Of particular interest are the proceedings of the 1835 Baptist general convention held in Richmond, Virginia, which contain various reports submitted to the assembly describing missionary work among the American Indians east and west of the Mississippi, and in France and Germany, Africa, Burma, Siam, and China. A Commission on Africa report calls for an end to the slave trade and for penetration of the continent by missionaries. Reports from Asia reflect opposition by native authorities to the spread of Christianity.

Missionary literature dated 1936 outlines the history of missionary activity in Tengchow, China, 1861-1936. A 1938 pamphlet contains an itemized list of expenses for mission work in Japan.

Miscellaneous items include a printed religious tract on the dangers to Christianity of the "Higher Criticism," and an abstract citing scriptural passages in support of the Baptist "Confession of Faith."

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. To see what's been digitized in this collection, please click on the "View Digitized Objects" tab, or look for hyperlinks in the container list
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