VCU Libraries presents "The Henkel Physicians: A Family's Life in Letters," on view until Oct. 15 at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences.
This National Library of Medicine exhibit offers a glimpse into the lives of 19th century practitioners in the Shenandoah Valley.
The Henkel Family Correspondence collection (MS C 291; 1.5 linear
feet) consists of 828 letters and is largely the product of Caspar C. Henkel's (1835-1908) life. This digital edition is divided into five-year blocks for ease of navigation and contextual narrative. The family was based in New Market.
Items dating before 1850 were written by ancestors of both Caspar and his wife, Margaretta. The bulk of the correspondence, however, is directly related to Caspar and Margaretta. Caspar retained letters written to him while he was away at medical school and in the field during the Civil War. Upon returning home from these extended absences, he also collected several letters he himself had written to New Market. He also kept letters written to him from his two brothers during their medical training and afterward when they lived and practiced away from New Market. Letters written to Margaretta from her sisters during the late 1860s and early 1870s are also included.
Unfortunately at some point before the Library's acquisition the segment of correspondence coinciding with the battle of New Market in 1864 was removed, leaving no accounts of the battle in this collection.The digital collection on the National Library of Medicine site