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Abram Ormsbee Blanding Papers

Identifier: Ms 007

Scope and Content

Material in the collection ranges from 1845 to 1881. The bulk of the collection consists of Blanding's personal diaries and business ledgers. The diaries, written from 1845 to 1854, cover routine matters in Blanding's daily activities as a Philadelphia medical student and practitioner attending lectures and surgical clinics, fulfilling office duties, and attending to errands or family affairs in New England. The diaries also include lengthy Sunday meditations on God, Christianity, and the church services of "Mr. Barnes." Specific mention of patient cases and Blanding's work as a physician is rare in the diaries.

Blanding's ledgers, daybooks, memorandum, and visiting lists primarily record patient or personal expenses, but were sometimes used to take lecture notes or and daily events. Several from the 1870s also feature daily or periodic reports of weather conditions (possibly an indication of a precursory interest in agriculture in anticipation of his 1878 move to Florida).

Most of Blanding's correspondence to his sister (probably Nancy Augusta Blanding Nattinger) and uncle, William Blanding, was written in Fisherville, Pennsylvania and Davenport, Iowa from 1851 to 1862. The letters chiefly record Blanding's everyday activities and refer to family affairs and visiting. One letter to his sister in 1862 reveals his intentions behind joining the Iowa Infantry volunteer regiment.

The collection also includes a number of awards from University of Pennsylvania courses taken from 1846-1848 and copies of Blanding's contracts of entry into the service. Blanding's service as a military surgeon is detailed at length in a copy of an 1898 letter from the War Department's Record and Pension Office.

The papers prominently feature Blanding's drafts of his medical school thesis, entitled "An Essay on Contributions toward the Medical Topography of the Southeastern Peninsula of New England," in addition to a few undated school essays on literature, observational topics, and agriculture. The thesis focused on the diseases and afflictions particular to the region and sometimes referenced Blanding's experiences as a student and physician in Philadelphia.


  • Creation: 1845-1881



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Abram Ormsbee Blanding, M.D. was born in 1823 in New England. He attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in the 1840s. After graduating with a medical degree, he practiced "medicine, surgery," and "dental surgery" in Philadelphia with Dr. Royal Carpenter.

Blanding moved to Lyons, Iowa by the early 1860s to practice as a physician and surgeon. On September 10, 1862, Blanding entered the military as an assistant surgeon in the 20th Iowa Infantry Volunteers. In 1864 he was appointed senior surgeon of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 13th Army Corps. He left the service in Mobile, Alabama on July 8, 1865.

His son and future U.S. military officer, Albert Hazen Blanding, was born in Iowa in 1876. Blanding moved with his family to the Gainesville, Florida region in 1878 to become a farmer. Blanding died in 1892.

Sources: Diaries Oct. 1845 - Oct. 1854 in Box 1 of the Ambram Ormsbee Blanding Papers, University of Florida. "Awards, Military Service, Essays, etc." folder in Box 2 of the A.O. Blanding Papers, University of Florida. Blanding Family Papers, University of Delaware.


1 Linear feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Diaries, ledgers, daybooks, memorandum, family correspondence, and essays of Abram Ormsbee Blanding, M.D., New England physician and Florida farmer.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Gift of Betty Blanding Hobart and Vernon F. Hobart.

Related Material

The University of Delaware Library Special Collections holds the Blanding Family Papers, which feature additional correspondence from Abram Ormsbee Blanding to his family ranging from 1849-1852. The University of South Carolina also holds papers of William Blanding, Abram's uncle. See also the papers of Albert Hazen Blanding, son of A.O. Blanding, located at the University of Florida.

Processing Notes

This collection originally was processed along with the Albert Hazen Blanding Papers and the two collections were housed in the same boxes. In 2009, the collections were separated during reprocessing. Correspondence has been arranged chronologically. Some misplaced correspondence has been appropriately refoldered. Receipts and miscellaneous accounting notes pertaining to Blanding's work as a physician have been removed from the pages of several ledgers and separately foldered according to the ledgers in which they were found.

A Guide to the Abram Ormsbee Blanding Papers
Finding aid prepared by Vanessa Attia
December 2009
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America