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Dr. James Alba Johnston Collection (Byron)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Business and Personal Papers



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Dr. James Alba Johnston Collection (Byron), 1875-1949 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Dr. James Alba Johnston Collection (Byron), 1875-1949

ID: RHC/RC/181

Extent: 5.75 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 05/29/1987

Subjects: Byron (Ill.), Johnston, Dr. James Alba, Medical care

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Dr. James Alba Johnston Collection documents medical practice and theory from 1875 to1949. Little biographical information on Dr. Johnston is included in the collection.

Material related to Dr. Johnston and his practice can be found in Series I: Business and Personal Papers. This material includes some correspondence, certificates appointing him company doctor for several firms, drug inventories, ledgers and cash books, and public health notices. Advertisements for medical products, article reprints, and Dr. Johnston’s handwritten reading notes complete the series.

The major part of the collection are sixty-seven volumes found in Series II. These publications’ contents reflect medical theories current during their publication dates (1890-1944). In addition to general medical and reference works, the volumes cover such topics as electrical and vibratory therapy, sexual problems & childhood diseases, vaccine therapy and pharmaceuticals, and various specialities including geriatrics and surgery.

Collection Historical Note

Dr. James Alba Johnston was born December 31, 1859 on the family farm northwest of Byron, IL. Dr. Johnston attended Wheaton College where he met his future wife, Carrie Nash of Belvidere, IL. After their marriage in Belvidere on December 23, 1886, the couple farmed near Storm Lake Iowa for several years. Dr. Johnston entered medical school at the University of Nebraska where he received his degree in 1894. He practiced medicine in Craig, Nebraska until December 1897 when the couple moved to Byron, IL. Dr. Johnston was past president of the Ogle County Medical Association, past president and clerk of the Byron Public School Board, and active in the Congregational church. Dr. Johnston practiced medicine and was a civic leader in Byron until his death in April 1949.

Subject/Index Terms

Byron (Ill.)
Johnston, Dr. James Alba
Medical care

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Mrs. Robert (Cleo) Boger

Acquisition Method: Mrs. Robert (Cleo) Boger donated the Dr. James Alba Johnston Collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on May 29, 1987.

Separated Materials: A list of Dr. Johnston’s medical instruments which have been separated out of the collection is at the back of this inventory.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Business and Personal Papers],
[Series II.: Volumes],

Access Restriction: Located in artifact room.
Series VI.: Memorabilia, Artifacts, and Ephemera
Sub-Series E.: Doctor James Alba Johnston Medical Instruments
Box 1a: Bottles & Small Items
Item 1: Prescription Bottles: Strychnine
Item 2: Prescription Bottles: Quinine Sulfa
Item 3: Prescription Bottles: Tincture for rigid cervix
Item 4: Prescription Bottles: Geireinoid for rigid cervix
Item 5: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Staphylox
Item 6: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Subdermuis Ergot
Item 7: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Silver Nitrate (box)
Item 8: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Thytuitary (full ampoules)
Item 9: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Tetanus Antitoxin (full ampoule)
Item 10: Small Items: Horsehair
Item 11: Small Items: Black Silk Thread
Item 12: Small Items: Rubber Catheter Hose
Item 13: Small Items: Glass Slides
Item 14: Small Items: Tweezers (2)
Item 15: Small Items: Pipette
Box 1b
Item 1: Prescription Bottles: Iron
Item 2: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Holadin
Item 3: Pharmaceutical Bottles & Boxes: Chloroform Squibb
Item 4: Small Items: Tweezers (2)
Item 5: Small Items: Probe
Item 6: Small Items: Laryngeal Mirror
Item 7: Small Items: Funnel
Item 8: Small Items: Test Tube
Item 9: Small Items: Surgical Case
Item 10: Small Items: Empty Pouch
Box 2: General Medical & Obstetrics
Item 1: General Medical: Scalpels (2)
Item 2: General Medical: Scissors (3)
Item 3: General Medical: Forceps (4)
Item 4: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Placenta Forceps
Item 5: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Uterine Forceps
Item 6: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Intra
Item 7: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Uterine Dilators (6)
Item 8: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Curettes (3)
Item 9: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Intra
Item 10: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Corkscrews (3)
Item 11: Obstetrics-Gynecology: Unidentified Pieces (2)
Box 3: Unidentified Pieces
Item 1: Unidentified metal weights (3)
Item 2: Metal and rubber with hollow tube w/ metal chamber packed with cotton
Item 3: Cotton packers (3)
Item 4: Wire basket with closed wire hoop
Item 5: Rubber and metal piece
Item 6: "M"-shaped metal piece
Item 7: Wood and metal piece
Item 8: Straight metal piece
Item 9: Unidentified metal pieces (4)
Box 4: Instruments & Gowns
Item 1: Instruments: Rubber
Item 2: Instruments: Uterine Dilators (3)
Item 3: Instruments: Hale's Vagina Speculums (4)
Item 4: Instruments: Birth Forceps (2)
Item 5: Instruments: Stirrups (2)
Item 6: Instruments: Unidentified Metal Piece (2)
Item 7: Gowns: Size Medium
Item 8: Gowns: Size 40
Item 9: Gowns: Cloth Instruments Carrier (2)
Box 5
Item 1: Doctor's Bag (poor condition)
Item 2: Ear Examiner
Box 6
Item 1: Shelton Deluxe Vibrator
Box 7: Instruments & Accessories
Item 1: Instruments: Electro-Therapeutic Kit
Item 2: Instruments: Sphygmomanometer (blood pressure measurer)
Item 3: Accessories: Distilled Water Ampoules (empty)
Item 4: Accessories: Leather Stirrups (7)

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Business and Personal Papers],
[Series II.: Volumes],

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