The online exhibit of “Patients’ Voices in Early 19th Century Virginia: Letters to Doct. Carmichael & Son” is organized into two content areas: the Story and the Collection. Each of these areas, as well as the Home and About sections, are represented in the tabs near the top of every page. See the site map for more detail.

The Story section sets the atmosphere for the exhibit. One can get a sense of what the practice of medicine was like for James and Edward Carmichael in the early nineteenth century by reading the essays describing the Pharmacy, the Tools of the Trade, and the Health Care of Slaves.

The Collection section houses the images of the original Carmichael letters, which are meticulously transcribed and categorized to provide access not only to the words, but to the medical conditions, treatments, and philosophies of almost two centuries past. Particularly compelling is the use of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to categorize the letters along with a very detailed methodology and definition of MeSH terms. Other items of interest include the daybook kept by Doctor Carmichael from 1816-1817, newspaper clippings, court records & summaries, period maps, and Virginia WPA Historical Inventory Project records. Additionally, there is an exhaustive Who’s Who list of names that appeared in the letters as well as a thorough list of Places Mentioned.

Viewing The Exhibit

This Web exhibit is designed to be accessible to the broadest audience possible, including visually impaired persons. It meets guidelines set forth by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and complies with the standards in Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d) of the 1998 Rehabilitation Act. To achieve this goal, the “Letters to Doct. Carmichael & Son” exhibit was created using accepted Web standards: XHTML 1.0 Strict and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2.0. Unfortunately, some older browsers don’t support standards compliant code.

Citing the Carmichael Letters

All the original Carmichael letters are physically maintained in the Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. The citation for these papers should be: Dr. James Carmichael Papers, 1816-1832 and n.d., Accession #11373, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA.


Except where marked otherwise, all text and images in this exhibit are the property of Historical Collections & Services of the Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia. For permission to reproduce any of the text or images, please contact Historical Collections & Services.

Contacting Us

For permission to reproduce any of the text or images owned by Historical Collections and Services or to make comments or suggestions, please contact a member of Historical Collections.